Eagles make final stand
TYRONE – A reporter mistakenly asked Tyrone first-year coach Jason Wilson at 29 years old how much did the final drive of the Backyard Brawl between the Golden Eagles and Bellwood-Antis age him?
“I’m 28, but I might have aged to 29 on that last drive,” Wilson said with a laugh.
With the Eagles holding an 18-14 lead after being down 14-0 Friday night, the Blue Devils marched from their 15 to the Tyrone 6 on 13 plays in the final 3:40 of the game. B-A quarterback Jake Burch spiked the ball with 6.2 seconds left in the game.
On the next play, with both sides screaming, Burch, who completed four passes for 51 yards, benefited from a Tyrone holding call on an interception and ran four times for 15 yards on the final drive, dropped back to pass, scrambled to his right and was sacked by junior lineman Ricky Reader at the 10.
“Everything was going in my mind that we needed a stop no matter what,” Reader said. “It was just about doing it.”
Time ran out, and the Eagles celebrated wildly, hoisting the Backyard Brawl Trophy later, as the heartbroken Devils lay on the field in yet another classic in the 80th game in the series before a large crowd at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
“That was an exciting drive,” Wilson said. “We probably played a little loose at the end, but we had opportunities to stop that drive, and we didn’t take care of business when we had to. My heart was definitely pounding coming down there.”
“We just needed one play,” B-A coach John Hayes said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t pull the trigger and we didn’t get it off. I guess we didn’t lose. We just ran out of time. I thought maybe we were going to get (a touchdown). Credit to them. They put the pressure on and covered well enough that we couldn’t make it.”
The Eagles scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first came on a 5-yard run by Aleic Hunter, who ran for 151 yards on 24 carries with 10:59 left in the game.
The second was set by Reader, who booted a 62-yard punt, about 50 of it coming in the air, that gave B-A the ball at its own 4.
“At first, I thought it was going to slip out of my hands because my hands were sweaty,” Reader said. “But once I kicked it, I was like ‘Geez.’ That thing never hit the ground. It was in the air the whole time. I’ve been practicing my whole life to do stuff like that, and I finally did it.”
“The punt was a momentum shift at the end,” Wilson said. “It put the defense in great position again. That was definitely huge.”
The Devils went three plays and out on their series, and the Eagles got the ball back at the B-A 45. The drive nearly died on the first play Elijah Sleeth’s fumble was recovered by the Eagles.
Then, on third-and-eight, Tyrone QB Garrett Hunter, who completed 9-of-16 for 130 yards and a 20-yard TD pass to Cameron Bakhsheshe in the first half, drifted back and launched a perfect 41-yard pass to Nick Getz to the 2. Two QB sneaks – the last from the 1 – gave the Eagles the lead with 3:45 left.
Then it was Burch’s turn on the final drive. Burch completed 9-of-15 for 159 yards, including an 80-yard TD pas to Kyler Lardieri in the first quarter. Lardieri also had a 48-yard run that set up Cameron Wood’s 3-yard TD run in the second quarter.
“When you lose, it diminishes the excitement a little bit,” Hayes said. “We jumped out to a good lead and we were playing well. Credit to (Tyrone). They didn’t quit. They bounced back, got a score before half and you could see the early edge we had was kind of neutralized.
“They are a pretty good football team, and I think we are too. We just came up on the short end tonight.”
Notes: B-A sacked Garrett Hunter four times. … Both teams had interceptions. Lardieri had B-A’s, while Bakhsheshe had the other pick. … Tyrone leads the series 52-27-1.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis7 7 0 0 – 14
Tyrone0 6 0 12 – 18
BA-Lardieri 80 pass from Burch (Creppage kick), 2:05.
BA-Wood 3 run (Creppage kick), 9:29.
T-Bakhsheshe 20 pass from G. Hunter (kick failed), 2:08.
T-A. Hunter 5 run (pass failed), 10:59.
T-G. Hunter 1 run (pass failed), 3:45.
RUSHING: Bellwood-Antis-Lardieri 3-45, McMillan 9-27, Wood 12-20, Burch 10-11, Mock 1-(-7). Tyrone-A. Hunter 24-151, Sleeth 6-20, G. Hunter 9-(-10).
PASSING: Bellwood-Antis-Burch 9-15-1-159, Lardieri 1-1-0-(-4), TEAM 0-1-0-0. Tyrone-G. Hunter 9-16-1-130.
RECEIVING: Bellwood-Antis-Lardieri 3-94, Miller 3-47, Wood 2-10, Taylor 1-8, Brunner 1(-4). Tyrone-Getz 5-80, Bakhsheshe 1-20, Crawford 1-19, A. Hunter 1-7, Sleeth 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bellwood-Antis-Lardieri. Tyrone-Bakhsheshe.