THREE SPRINGS - Maybe it was the chill in the air, or maybe it was that Seth Worthing hasn't had much of a chance to get his run on in the last few months, but he thought Friday night would be a good time to cut loose.
Worthing scored on three plays covering 88 yards or more as Bellwood-Antis remained undefeated with a 39-3 Inter-County Conference Gold Division win at Southern Huntingdon, setting up a showdown for the division title with Northern Bedford next week.
Worthing found the end zone first on an 88-yard kickoff return, then took another kickoff back 97 yards to start the second half. A little more than four minutes later, Worthing put a bow on his performance by somehow getting away from a host of Rocket tacklers in his own end zone and bursting down the home sideline on a 96-yard scoring run.
"It was really nice to get out and stretch my legs out a little bit. I really haven't done it since track season," said Worthing, a four-event PIAA meet qualifier last spring. "It's so exciting."
Not to be outdone, Blue Devil junior Casey Gray, who was bottled up by the Southern defense much of the game, scored on defense after scooping up a Rocket fumble at his own 1 and taking it back the whole way to bring the running clock into effect with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Gray also tacked on a pair of short TD runs for the Devils (7-0, 4-0).
"They took away a lot of the things that we like to do. We're fortunate that we have some big playmakers," Bellwood coach John Hayes said.
Southern Huntingdon fell to 0-7 overall, 0-4 in the division.
"This was our best effort," Rockets coach Ryan Garlock said. "We had to play pretty much a perfect game, and, obviously, we're too young to do that."
It was the second time in three games that the Devils held an opponent without a touchdown after giving up 20 points to West Branch and 34 against Juniata Valley. Although Southern Huntingdon managed to pass for 129 yards, the Devils had 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and only surrendered 177 yards total.
"The players realized we have to do better defensively [after the Juniata Valley game]," said B-A senior defensive lineman Keith Shawley, who had two tackles for loss. "Look at our defense last year. We had a lot of starters returning. We had to step up defensively. That was too many scores we were giving up."
Known for his athletic ability, Worthing rushed for less than 100 yards and no touchdowns since going for 118 and two scores in the season-opening win over Tyrone. He finished with 98 yards on the ground.
"We've been giving the ball to Casey, and he's been running great," Worthing said, referring to Gray, who has 851 yards rushing this season.
Worthing has so much respect for Gray that he actually switched positions with him on the second half kickoff so the junior tailback/cornerback could field it. Instead, there was confusion, and Worthing had to run back to gather the ball at his own 3 before finding a hole and taking it back the whole way.
"I started coming up because I thought he was going to get it. Then I heard him call for me to get it a little late," Worthing said. "I had to run back to pick it up. I didn't think I was going to get anywhere."
Worthing said he didn't feel he or his teammates were caught looking ahead to Northern Bedford. Hayes, though, was unimpressed with his team's execution enough to see a number of teaching points.
"We didn't play well tonight. We didn't play smart," Hayes said. "But, they played hard enough and well enough to have a pretty convincing result. You can't be too angry, but we've got a lot of things we can work on."
Game notes: Gray rushed for 41 yards. ... Devil reserve slotback Kyler Lardieri was hurt late in the game and had to be helped from the field limping. ... Freshman quarterback Tyler Carowick completed 9 of 13 passes for 92 yards for the Rockets, with Chad Waite hauling in four catches for 66 yards. ... Southern Huntingdon plays at Everett next Friday when Bellwood visits Northern Bedford.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis13 7 19 0 - 39
Southern Huntingdon 3 0 0 0 - 3
BA-Gray 5 run (run failed), 6:55.
SH-Boeckleman 27 FG, 2:48.
BA-S. Worthing 88 kickoff return (Campbell kick), 2:37.
BA-Gray 2 run (Campbell kick), 1:22.
BA-S. Worthing 97 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:46.
BA-S. Worthing 94 run (kick failed), 7:37.
BA-Gray 99 fumble return (Campbell kick), 2:57.
RUSHING: Bellwood-Antis- S. Worthing 4-98, Gray 10-41, DeGennaro 5-20, Campbell 3-10, Lardieri 1-11, Snyder 1-7, Stapleton 3-10, Mock 2-5, TEAM 1-(-1). Southern Huntingdon-Carowick 18-13, Glunt 11-29, Parks 4-9, Simerson 1-4, Waite 3-(-7).
PASSING: Bellwood-Antis-S. Worthing 3-5-0-34, O. Worthing 1-1-0-37. Southern Huntingdon-Carowick 9-13-0-92, Waite 1-2-0-37.
RECEIVING: Bellwood-Antis-C. Worthing 2-25, Lardieri 1-37, Snyder 1-9. Southern Huntingdon-Waite 4-66, Glunt 3-0, Parks 1-3, Talbot 2-60.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bellwood-Antis-none. Southern Huntingdon-none.
TEAM STATISTICS BA SH
First downs 11 10
Rushes-yards 30-201 37-48
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-6-0 10-15-0
Yards passing 71 129
Total yards 272 177
Penalties-yards 6-47 6-44
Punts-avg. 0-0.0 4-34.8