Bellwood-Antis invades Chestnut Ridge looking to continue surge toward playoffs

Bellwood-Antis travels to Fishertown on Friday for a contest with Chestnut Ridge. The Blue Devils must make every opportunity count if B-A is to be included among the eight District 5/6 teams that will qualify for post-season playoffs. As recently as last week, Bellwood-Antis was out of the picture in ninth place. A win over Class AA Penns Valley along with the power points accumulated with Penns Valleys four previous wins catapulted the Blue Devils all the way into seventh place this week.
The hold on the playoff spot is tenuous however. District Five is guaranteed two places so with 32 teams in the Class A hunt, District Six is sure of only six spots. At present, Windber and Northern Bedford, both D-5 schools are firmly in possession of the Number Three and Four spots, but a lot could change over the final three weeks of the season. Plus, B-A will get 100 points for the forfeit win over Johnstown Votech next week, but no power points.
Chestnut Ridge (3-3) opened the 2002 campaign with a 24-6 loss to Northern Bedford and a 14-0 shut loss to Penns Valley. A forfeit from Johnstown Votech and a 23-22 squeaker over Tussey Mountain evened the Lions record at 2-2 after four weeks. Everett then handed Ridge a 12-7 defeat before Chestnut Ridge opened it up with a 34-6 win over Mount Union last week.
“Chestnut Ridge is sort of hard to describe on offense,” revealed B-A coach John Hayes. “They are pretty multiple in their offensive approach. They like to run a spread offense with four wide receivers or sometimes trips to one side of the field. They like to throw and they also try to get the defense all spread out and open it up for runs out of that same alignment, hoping to find a weakness in the opponent’s defense. They throw more, but are in a transition, running the ball out of a Wing-T formation at times. They are fairly young, starting five or six sophomores from their junior high team that went undefeated (7-0) last year. They are athletic and have put points on the board in several of their games. They still have a few holdovers from last year’s squad. The quarterback, has good size and is only a sophomore. He is very involved in the offense-he can throw and he runs well. He is also their punter, so he is an intricate part of whatever they are doing.”
Senior fullback Sam Stufft (5-11,175) is the Lions leading ballcarrier with 270 yards and four TDs on 69 carries, while sophomore Dan Novak (6,180) has 98 yards on 24 carries and senior Corey Ickes (5-10,170) has 89 yards on 19 carries. Sophomore Brian Barefoot (6-1,200) has completed 41 of 107 passes for 544 yards, four TDs and six interceptions. Brian’s brother, senior Drew Barefoot is the leading receiver with 12 catches for 237 yards and one TD. Ickes has eight receptions for 94 yards and a TD. Sophomore Dan Novak has nine catches for 39 yards and senior Justin Mock has five grabs for 75 yards.
“On defense, Ridge runs a basic 4-4, much like we do,” reports coach Hayes. “They have some big linemen and some pretty athletic linebackers. They don’t take chances on defense, they are pretty much a hit and read type of defense with not much stunting and a solid three-deep secondary. They may give up some yards, but they try to avoid giving up the big play. They hit and pursue.”
The Lions sport a solid defensive secondary with Corey Ickes, Drew Barefoot and Justin Mock. All three are returning lettermen. Barefoot led the team last year with five interceptions and Ickes was second with four. Add senior three-year starter Lemmy Bowser at linebacker and the Chestnut Ridge secondary was one of the best in the ICC last year and all are back for another go-around this season.
Bellwood-Antis leads the series between the two schools, 6-0. Bellwood-Antis won the first game 42-0 in 1984 to kick off the series, when both teams were part of the MidPenn League. In 1990, the Blue Devils defeated Chestnut Ridge 35-6 at Fishertown, in the MidPenn Championship game to earn the title. Last year, B-A won a 43-0 victory on the way to the Blue Devils second straight undefeated season.
Adam Plummer leads the 2002 edition of the Blue Devils with 624 yards and eight TDs on 80 carries. Cory Daly has 339 yards and eight TDs on 40 carries and Derrick Miller has 24 carries for 145 yards and two scores. Jesse Graham has completed 43 of 86 passes for 616 yards, six TDs and eight interceptions. Daly has nine receptions for 169 yards and two TDs, Ryan McCartney has nine catches for 142 yards, Dan Houser has eight for 80 and one score, Adam Plummer has six for 82 and one TD and Damion Miller has five catches for 79 yards and one TD and Ryan Myers five catches for 64 yards and one TD.
“We are working on what we need to do to get better, eliminate mistakes and keep it fresh for the kids,” said Hayes. “We dig out a few things that we think will work against the team we are playing, but didn’t work well against others we have played. We don’t have any injuries, everybody is practicing and our same basic lineup will be in there to start.”