Blue Devils stay unbeaten
BELLWOOD — After opening the season with a thrilling overtime win over archrival Tyrone, Bellwood-Antis dispatched the next five opponents by three touchdowns or more.
Though West Branch played the Blue Devils tough in the first half, Bellwood downed the Warriors in similar fashion, 48-14, Friday at Memorial Stadium to remain undefeated at 7-0.
West Branch (1-6) had a 14-7 lead after one quarter and trailed just 21-14 at halftime before Bellwood blew the game open with four touchdowns in the third quarter and the first play of the fourth quarter.
“We had a heavy talk at halftime,” Bellwood coach John Hayes said. “Not screaming and yelling, but just trying to get them to play to the caliber they’re able to play. We did a much better job of that in the second half getting back to basics and going right at them.”
After fullback Eric Morder scored three touchdowns in the first half, Nick Watters broke off a 17-yard touchdown four plays into the third quarter.
West Branch was called for a personal foul after the touchdown was scored, allowing Bellwood to kickoff from the Warriors’ 45.
Rather than kick the ball into the end zone, Bellwood tried an onside kick that travelled 20 yards before Thor Schmittle pounced on it at the West Branch 24.
Bellwood needed just four more plays to score again. Wolfe connected with Alex Frederick for an 18-yard touchdown. Frederick caught the ball in the flat, spun out of tackle at the 5 and lunged into the end zone for the score.
“They wore us down up front. They were physical. That got to us in the second half,” West Branch coach Kevin Hubler said. “We were able to do some things in the first half, but then it just started to snowball in the second half when they scored real quick and got the ball back on the onside kick.”
Watters scored on a 3-yard run for his second touchdown, and Wolfe closed out the scoring with an 11-yard scamper.
Led by Schmittle’s 88 yards, Bellwood rolled up 297 on the ground while limiting the Warriors to just 61 yards of total offense.
West Branch got off to a flying start when Josh Catolina returned the opening kickoff 67 yards to the Bellwood 14. Kyle Myers scored on a quarterback sneak to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
Bellwood answered with a scoring drive of its own set up by a 42-yard completion deep down the middle from Shawn Wolfe to Ian McFarland.
West Branch went ahead 14-7 late in the opening quarter on a drive set up by Seth Sankey’s fumble recovery at the Bellwood 34.
After converting a fourth-and-14 with a 25-yard completion to Catolina, Derek Yingling scored on a 3-yard run off an option pitch.
“We talked and worked all week, but it’s hard when you’re dealing with kids this age,” Hayes said. “They read the papers, they look at scores, they know the records. As much as you work against that, we had some complacency. The whole first half we had people lining up wrong. We made so many mistakes.”
The Bellwood schedule gets much more challenging the final three weeks of the regular season. The Blue Devils play Mount Union, Southern Huntingdon and Northern Bedford, all of whom are 6-1.
“We took a step back (Friday). We can’t afford that,” Hayes said. “The three teams down the road are as talented as we are. It’s a matter of preparation, focus, desire and attitude. Maybe this was a good situation to get an eye opener,” Hayes said. “The conference championship and postseason positioning hang in the balance.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
West Branch 14 0 0 0 — 14
Bellwood-Antis 7 14 21 6 — 48
WB–Myers 1 run (Curley kick), 9:27.
BA–Morder 7 run (Schmoke kick), 6:16.
WB–Yingling 3 run (Curley kick), 1:02.
BA–Morder 11 run (Schmoke kick), 8:18.
BA–Morder 2 run (Schmoke kick), 2:46.
BA–Watters 17 run (Schmoke kick), 10:23.
BA–Frederick 18 pass from Wolfe (Schmoke kick), 8:29.
BA–Watters 3 run (Schmoke kick), 2:20.
BA–Wolfe 11 run (kick failed), 11:51.
RUSHING: West Branch–Yingling 15-37, Myers 14-(-24), Cantolina 1-5, TEAM 1-(-9). Bellwood-Antis–Schmittle 10-88, Watters 6-72, Morder 10-56, Wolfe 7-42, Boyer 3-14, Kost 4-22, Miller 1-(-4), Dorminy 1-4, Plank 1-4, Frederick 1(-1).
PASSING: West Branch–Myers 5-11-0-52. Bellwood-Antis–Wolfe 6-10-1-123, Miller 0-0-0-0.
RECEIVING: West Branch–Cantolina 2-32, Emigh 1-10, Yingling 1-7, Dale 1-3. Bellwood-Antis–McFarland 3-82, Morder 2-23, Frederick 1-18.
INTERCEPTIONS: West Branch–Myers.
TEAM STATISTICS WB BA
First downs 4 20
Rushes-yards 31-9 44-297
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 5-11-0 6-10-1
Yards passing 52 123
Total yards 61 420
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 1-15 7-55
Punts-avg. 9-32.0 1-30.0