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Blue Devils savor another title

SAXTON — Rather than have a traditional on-field postgame huddle, Bellwood-Antis sprinted toward its locker room after its 20-0 win over Tussey Mountain that clinched another Inter-County Conference title for the Blue Devils Friday.

Once off the field and a respectable distance from their opponents, Bellwood-Antis started jumping up and down screaming, “ICC.”

After so many years of winning the league, it still means a lot to each Blue Devils team that achieves the feat.

“It’s always special to win any championship,” B-A running back Nick Plank said. “This is something we have been looking to achieve since the beginning of the year. We strive for the ICC every year, and now we’re on to the next game. We have to win that. That’s our focus.”

The Blue Devils, now 9-0, faced some adversity this season, winning their opener against Tyrone in double overtime and needing an Evan Pellegrine field goal to edge Juniata Valley, but Friday night B-A looked like a much better team than it did just a month ago.

Tussey Mountain’s normally explosive offense was held in check for most of the night, and its track stars — Tyler Rhodes and Jarred Sipes — were not able to get into the open field.

“I think we’ve gotten better every week,” Bellwood-Antis coach Nick Lovrich said. “That’s what we set out to do from the beginning of the year. We said Week 1, we want to be here, Week 2 we want to be a little better and every week we want to get better. At the end of the year is when you want to be peaking, and hopefully that’s what we’re working toward.”

As Lovrich finally joined his team in the locker room after completing an interview on the field, chants of ICC broke out once again.

Bellwood-Antis still has plenty of challenges ahead with a stacked District 6 Class 2A field that includes undefeated Richland and Ligonier Valley along with one-loss Penns Valley, but the team was concentrating on only its next game Friday night.

“(Winning the league) was one of our goals,” Lovrich said. “We’re concerned about week to week. Every week is a state championship week. We haven’t even really started thinking about playoffs yet. Next week we’ve got Southern Huntingdon, and we want to win that football game. We want to go undefeated in the league, and that’s what our focus is going to be. Nothing else, other than that.”

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