Blue Devils turn it on in 2nd half
FLINTON – Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes has been around the block long enough to know that you are never sure what you are going to get from high school kids.
Fresh off a big win over Northern Bedford and with a big game looming with undefeated and state-ranked Richland on the horizon, Hayes warned his squad not to overlook a one-win Glendale team for Friday’s contest.
Whether it was the Blue Devils looking past the Vikings or if it was just Glendale quarterback Tyler Potutschnig making some plays, Bellwood-Antis found itself in a dogfight after two quarters.
While the Blue Devils only led 19-13 at the intermission, Hayes’ squad came out and showed why it, too, is ranked in the state as it cruised to a 66-13 win.
Bellwood-Antis running back Casey Gray ran for 219 yards and three scores, and eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for his career in the process, and quarterback Jake Burch passed for four more scores to move the Devils to 8-1 on the season.
“Kids are kids at that age,” said Hayes. “Regardless of what you try to tell them about not [looking ahead], their minds work in their own way. I think they were surprised a little bit and you have to give Glendale credit.
“[Potutschnig] is a pretty good football player, and we didn’t do a good job tackling him. His touchdown run was all him. You have to give them credit, but I knew we were playing flat and we challenged them to come out in the second half to play with more enthusiasm.”
Burch completed six passes in the contest, all to different receivers, and one of his biggest capped a scoring drive to open the second half and give his team the momentum for the rest of the night.
The Bellwood-Antis sophomore found Gray on a 16-yard screen pass on fourth down that turned into a score to make it a two touchdown advantage.
The fourth down scoring strike was the second for Burch, who found Josh Gates midway through the first quarter on a fourth-and-9 play for an 18-yard touchdown.
After his receiving touchdown, Gray began gashing the Vikings’ defense for big chunks of yardage that included four runs of at least 16 yards. Gray added touchdown runs of 63 and 18, and accomplished his career milestone on a 7-yard run late in the third quarter.
“I’ve said in the past, ‘that’s why you have four downs,'” Hayes said. “We just tried to do something we thought would work and they did.
“[Rushing for 4,000 yards] is a special accomplishment. Casey is a tremendous athlete and he’s a really good competitive football player. He’s earned all that he’s got and we’re happy for him. He’d be the first to say that the other 10 guys out there were the ones that made [the milestone] possible.”
After a stellar first half that had his team within striking distance, Potutschnig struggled to move the Glendale offense down the field in the second half.
Potutschnig connected with Kyle Stewart on a 46-yard Hail Mary with 5 seconds left in the second quarter, but he didn’t complete another pass until the last play of the contest.
Between then, Potutschnig, who also ran for a 71-yard score, misfired on eight straight attempts and threw three interceptions in that span.
“There’s not much you can say coming into this week other than, ‘give it everything you’ve got,'” said Glendale coach Matt Irvine. “We came into this week with nothing to lose we were right with them and were only down six to a team like Bellwood -that’s something to be proud of.”
The Vikings were nearly even with the Blue Devils in yardage after the first half, but Bellwood-Antis came out and racked up 377 yards in the second half to just 73 for Glendale.
Matt McMillan scored a pair of touchdowns and ran for 125 yards on just four carries for the Blue Devils, who also got touchdowns from Zach Mock, Tyson Miller and Kyler Larderi.
Glendale, which had Potutschnig gain 158 yards on the ground and throw for 119 more, concludes its season on Friday when it hosts Ferndale.
Score By Quarters
Bellwood-Antis12 7 21 26 -66
Glendale7 6 0 0 -13
BA-Gates 18 pass from Burch (kick blocked), 5:18.
G-Potutschnig 71 run (Iraca kick), 2:58.
BA-Miller 60 pass from Burch (pass failed), 2:06.
BA-Gray 6 run (Creppage kick), 1:44.
G-Stewart 46 pass from Potutschnig (kick failed), :05.
BA-Gray 16 pass from Burch (Creppage kick), 8:30.
BA-Gray 63 run (Creppage kick), 5:05.
BA-Gray 18 run (Creppage kick), 2:07.
BA-Larderi 25 pass from Burch (Creppage kick), 11:50.
BA-McMillan 44 run (kick failed), 9:47.
BA-McMillan 65 run (kick failed), 4:32.
BA-Mock 25 run (Torsell kick), 38.8.
Rushing: Bellwood-Antis-Gray 19-219, McMillan 4-125, Snyder 9-77, Mock 3-33, Larderi 1-16, Stapleton 4-12, Wood 1-9, Burr 3-(-1), Burch 2-(-16). Glendale-Potutschnig 11-158, Stewart 13-28, Hewitt 5-6, Team 1-(-9), Rojas 1-(-11).
Passing: Bellwood-Antis-Burch 6-10-0-137. Glendale-Potutschnig 5-17-3-119.
Receiving: Bellwood-Antis-Miller 1-60, Larderi 1-25, Gates 1-18, Gray 1-16, Stapleton 1-10, Lombardo 1-8. Glendale-Stewart 3-70, Rojas 1-29, Sacolic 1-20.
Interceptions: Bellwood-Antis-Wood, Miller, Burr. Glendale-None.
Total First Downs249