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Bellwood goes ‘old school’

Photo for the Mirror by Scott Plank Bellwood-Antis’ Joe Dorminy finds some running room against Northern Bedford on Friday.

LOYSBURG — With the coronavirus robbing teams of their fan bases, Bellwood-Antis coach Nick Lovrich took nothing for granted Friday night in the Blue Devils’ season opener at Northern Bedford.

He cited a recent James Franklin speech to the Nittany Lions, who were implored — despite no schedule in sight — to continue working hard for the eventual opportunity.

“James Franklin talked to his players about cherishing every moment,” Lovrich said, “and that’s what we want to do. Play every game like it’s our last game.”

The Blue Devils did that, at least in the second half, and rolled to a convincing 36-14 win.

Play of the game: Trailing 14-13 and facing fourth-and-2 at midfield with 5:03 left in the first half, Bellwood called timeout and then popped tailback Zach Mallon for a 4-yard gain to sustain a touchdown drive that burned clock and gave the Devils a 19-14 lead. NB never recovered.

Player of the game: Mallon rushed for 150 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns.

Lovrich: “This isn’t Bellwood-Antis and (traditional season-opening rival) Tyrone, but we knew Northern Bedford was going to be tough. They’ve given us trouble in the past. We went to old school, Bellwood-Antis football, and our line took over.”

Northern Bedford coach Garry Black: “Their strength showed. They’re strong up front, with veteran kids, and they have a good run game. They matched up well with us and we couldn’t stop it. We’ve got to get in better shape, and I own that. We couldn’t get off the field on third and fourth down.”

Mallon on his offensive line, which blew open holes, especially on the left side: “We blocked well and I could see where the cuts were. I feel like we’re really well conditioned in practice, and that transfers to the game.”

Master predictor: Bellwood’s Dominic Caracciolo dumped Northern’s Brady Clark in the end zone for a safety that closed out the scoring. And he called it. “I was talking to my guys before the play, and told them I was going to get a safety.”

Most vital statistic: The Devils allowed the Black Panthers just one first down in the second half, and that came in the final minute.

Hidden statistic: Northern senior Dalton Smith ran extremely hard, breaking tackles and scoring twice to put the Panthers up 7-0 and 14-13. Of his 64 yards, 58 came in the first half. Lovrich: “Some of the plays we had him in the backfield. That shows how tough he is as a runner.”

Unsung hero: Bellwood junior tailback Connor Gibbons gave the Devils a spark with 93 yards rushing on 14 carries to go with a 45-yard punt return in the second quarter that set up B-A’s second TD.

Energy boost: With Northern playing well in the first half, Black felt the team didn’t sustain its energy that perhaps a home crowd (besides just family) could have helped. “You could hear the crickets, and the kids lost energy. The first half, we played terrific, but we couldn’t stop them in the second half, and it snowballed.”

Notable: According to ICC rules, no visiting fans were permitted so the visitors’ side was empty except for Bellwood’s coaches … NB junior lineman Remington Bowser missed most of the second half with leg cramps … The Panthers’ lone first down of the second half — after eight in the first half — came on a nice 36-yard reception from Thad Leidy to Clark … The Devils’ Joe Dorminy hit holes quickly up the middle and gained 48 yards on 10 cracks … Northern’s Cadin Ebersole jarred a fumble out of Mallon to stop Bellwood’s first drive.

Records: Bellwood-Antis (1-0), Northern Bedford (0-1)

Next week: Bellwood-Antis hosts Everett; Northern Bedford visits Glendale.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bellwood-Antis 7 12 8 9 — 36

Northern Bedford 7 7 0 0 — 14

First Quarter

NB — Smith 4 run (Yeatts kick), 6:31

BA — Z. Mallon 15 run (Wilson kick), 0:47

Second Quarter

BA — Dorminy 1 run (kick failed), 9:28

NB — Smith 8 run (Yeatts kick), 6:51

BA — Z. Mallon 12 run (run failed), 0:41

Third Quarter

BA — Z. Mallon 9 run (Z. Mallon run), 6:05

Fourth quarter

BA — Gibbons 1 run (Wilson kick), 9:35

NB — Safety, Clark tackled in end zone, 4:36

TEAM STATISTICS BA NB

First downs 21 10

Total yards 333 192

Rushes-yards 54-306 21-97

Yards passing 27 95

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-8-27 8-15-95

Punts-avg. 1-37.0 2-30.0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 3-15 2-20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Bellwood-Antis, Z. Mallon 20-150, Gibbons 14-93, Dorminy 10-48 , Kost 3-7, Z. Pellegrine 1-7, Plank 1-3, S. Mallon 1-2, Shildt 1-1, Pellegrino 2-0, Ridgway 1(-4). Northern Bedford, Smith 10-64, Leidy 1-17, Ebersole 3-14, Clark 4-(-3), Keller 2-5.

PASSING–Bellwood-Antis, Z. Pellegrine 4-8-27-0. Northern Bedford, Leidy 8-15-95-0.

RECEIVING–Bellwood-Antis, Shedlock 1-10, S. Mallon 1-8, Noonan 1-5, Z. Mallon 1-4. Northern Bedford, Clouse 3-23, Clark 1-36, Ebersole 1-20, Smith 1-13, Snider 1-1, Clark 1-2.

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