BELLWOOD - A few years ago, the Bellwood-Antis football team beat Moshannon Valley rather handily during the regular season, then played the Knights in the playoffs and eked out a victory. On Friday night, the same situation presented itself again in the form of Glendale.
But the Blue Devils learned their lesson, beating Glendale, 40-14, in the first round of the District 6 Class A playoffs at Memorial Stadium.
Bellwood beat Glendale during the regular season, 41-13.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bellwood-Antis’ Haden DeGennaro trots in for a touchdown past Glendale’s Matt Bantly (14) and Doug Twigg.
"Two years ago we beat Mo Valley 44-0 at their place and then won 13-7 down here,'' Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes said. "We talked to the kids about that. That's all you can do, but we reminded them during the week that the most important game was the one you have coming up."
Point taken by the Blue Devils, who dominated on defense while putting up some big rushing numbers.
Bellwood (10-1) will play next week at home against the winner of tonight's Bishop Guilfoyle-Juniata Valley game. Holding Glendale to a total of 130 yards was a good springboard for that game.
"From a defensive standpoint, I thought we played really, really well," Hayes said.
And it started on the first play of the game as Glendale quarterback Gary Witherow was picked off by Haden DeGennaro.
The Blue Devils then marched 43 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 1-yard run by quarterback Seth Worthing for a 6-0 lead. After a three-and-out for the Vikings (6-5), Bellwood needed just three plays to go 51 yards for a score. DeGennaro took it in from 19 yards out, and a Tyler Campbell PAT kick made it 13-0.
"They are a good team and they execute well," Glendale coach Matt Irvine said. "They have excellent coaching and a good group of kids."
Glendale, which managed two first downs in the first half, did a couple of things that gave its fans a reason to cheer, but just not enough of them. Witherow picked off a Worthing pass in the first quarter, but the Vikings ended up punting the ball back to Bellwood.
"Missed opportunities and little mistakes ... we just were not executing properly, and that is something we worked on all week," Irvine said.
Bellwood went up 20-0 early in the second quarter when Worthing hit DeGennaro with a 29-yard touchdown pass at the 8:31 mark. Glendale followed with a spark, this one producing its first points of the night.
Damon Braniff returned the following kickoff 83 yards right up the middle of the field for a touchdown. Derrian Matchock's PAT at the 8:19 mark made it 20-7, and suddenly the Glendale sideline was alive.
"It seemed like we were getting some momentum at that point. They started believing again," Irvine said.
On Bellwood's next drive, the Blue Devils marched from their 32 down to the Glendale 20, only to be stopped on fourth down. On Glendale's first play from scrimmage after that, Witherow then threw a quick out to Braniff on the wing, who reversed field and then rumbled 56 yards down to the Bellwood 24.
However, the Vikings fumbled the ball two plays later with 53 seconds to play in the first half. Bellwood recovered but turned the ball over 48 seconds later down at the Glendale 27. The Vikings took a knee to end the half.
"The tough thing about this game is if you don't win it all, this is how it ends," Irvine said.
Bellwood came out on fire to start the second half, running three plays that amassed 57 yards en route to a score. Thanks to DeGennaro, Casey Gray - who rushed for 176 yards on 23 carries - and Worthing, Bellwood went up 27-7 after Worthing's 27-yard touchdown run.
"We wanted to establish an inside game, had some success there, and obviously that opened up the outside for us," said Hayes, whose club rushed for 382 yards on 58 carries behind 10 different backs.
A Bellwood pick followed which turned into a 10-play, 58-yard drive that ended with a Gray 4-yard touchdown run. The Campbell PAT kick at the 6:39 mark made it 34-7.
Braniff made another play for Glendale to get his team on the board in the fourth quarter. With Bellwood's reserves in, quarterback Owen Worthing handed off to Jake Stapleton, who was piled up behind the line of scrimmage. Braniff then simply took the ball from him and ran 65 yards for a touchdown, making it 34-14 with 9:50 to go on the clock.
"Other than the kickoff return and the takeaway, defensively we played super," Hayes said.
Bellwood's reserves were able to put one in the end zone when Stapleton scored on an 8-yard run with 6:35 to go in the game to set the final at 40-14.
"They have so much depth. If one guy is not doing the job, they bring in another guy who can," Irvine said. "They can pull a guy out for a series or two whereas we can't. We start to wear down and then that is it."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Glendale 0 7 0 7 - 14
Bellwood-Antis13 7 14 6 - 40
BA-S. Worthing 1 run (kick failed), 8:55
BA-DeGennaro 19 run (Campbell kick), 6:50
BA-DeGennaro 29 pass from S. Worthing (Campbell kick), 8:31
G-Braniff 83 kickoff return (Matchock kick), 8:19
BA-S. Worthing 27 run (Campbell kick), 11:06
BA-Gray 4 run (Campbell kick), 6:39
G-Braniff 65 fumble return (Matchock kick), 9:50
BA-Stapleton 8 run (kick failed), 6:35
RUSHING: Glendale-Braniff 9-27, Witherow 11-8, Twigg 2-(-8). TEAM 1-(-1). Bellwood-Antis-Gray 23-176, Snyder 2-31, S. Worthing 9-67, Campbeell 4-11, DeGennaro 6-75, Beech 2-3, Mock 2-8, O. Worthing 1-3, Lardieri 2-(-2), Stapleton 6-21.
PASSING: Glendale-Witherow 7-14-2-104, Braniff 0-1-1-0. Bellwood-Antis-S. Worthing 5-13-2-77, O. Worthing 1-1-0-12.
RECEIVING: Glendale-Twigg 3-38, Bantly 2-6, O'Donnell 1-4, Braniff 1-56. Bellwood-Antis-C. Worthing 1-13, O'Shea 1-19, Campbell 2-16, DeGennaro 1-29, Gates 1-12.
INTERCEPTIONS: Glendale-Witherow, Twigg. Bellwood-Antis-Gray, DeGennaro, Parson.