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Blue Devil junior varsity comes up short against Penns Valley

The Bellwood-Antis junior varsity football team saw their record drop to 1-5 on Thursday night with a 20-18 loss to Penns Valley.
The Blue Devil Jayvees moved the ball consistently for much of the game, and although the offense gave up a score on a fumble recovery, the B-A defense kept the team in the game through the first three quarters.
Neither team was able to put points on the scoreboard through all but the final minute and a half of the first half. Then with 1:35 to play in the second quarter, Zach Tomchick threw what appeared to be an incomplete pass to the PV-15 where the ball bounced on the turf.
Much to the wonder of the fans and most of the players, suddenly Curt Royer scooped up the ball from his Penns Valley defensive secondary spot and rambled 85 yards for what turned out to be a touchdown and Penns Valley took a 6-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
Mark Rogers led the way for the Bellwood-Antis juniors in the first half with runs of 14, 15 and 12 yards on three straight plays, but the Blue Devils were turned away at the 15 on the fumble, one of three straight B-A drives that were stopped by fumbles.
In the second half, Penns Valley took the kick and was stuffed on three consecutive three-plays-and-punt series by the Blue Devil defense.
Taking over at the PV-42 after the first punt, Bellwood-Antis took just two plays to cover the distance. Mark Rogers bulled 10 yards for a first down and then Travis Ehredt took an inside reverse 32 yards for the tying TD.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Penns Valley began at their own 16. A backward pass was recovered by Rogers and returned to the Ram-1. After Rogers lost a yard on the first call, Matt Sneath burrowed in for the two-yard TD to give the Blue Devils the 12-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
After the two B-A scores, Penns Valley woke up. Royer, who had been held to 42 yards in the game and a minus one yard on five third-quarter carries, found the fourth quarter more to his liking.
Royer got the call on a third down and one play at midfield, blasted through the middle behind a huge hole formed by his blockers and raced 50 yards for the TD to knot the game again at 12-12 with seven minutes to play.
Starting from their own 44, the Blue Devils took the ball and marched down the field to take the lead again. Tomchick completed a 15-yard slant to John McFalls for a big first down and Rogers, who gained 164 yards on 25 carries, broke through the line and dashed 27 yards for the score.
Down 18-12, with four minutes to go, Royer got loose again on the first play from scrimmage for 61 yards to the BA-3. After Josh Hall lost a yard on first down, Royer, who scored all of Penns Valley’s points and rushed 18 times for 179 yards, including 136 yards in the fourth quarter, put the ball in the endzone for a four-yard TD. After having two PAT tries blocked and another bounce off the right upright, the Rams decided to go for two. Royer bulled into the endzone for the 2-pt. PAT, the only conversion that was a success for either team, moving Penns Valley into a 20-18 lead with tried to come back once more, moving down the field behind two runs by Rogers for 15 yards and two more by Matt Sneath for nine more, before Penns Valley intercepted a Tomchick pass to put an end to the attempted comeback.
At this point, it appears the young Bellwood-Antis junior varsity needs to learn how to win. After a win at Everett in the second game of the season, B-A has lost three of four games by 10 points or less, including the last two by a combined total of five points.
“That’s Jayvee football,” explained B-A coach Randy Miller. “It’s a learning experience. The kids played well, good enough to win, but they just didn’t. They put forth a great effort, but there were just a few plays we came up short on.”
The Bellwood-Antis junior varsity travels to West Branch next Monday for a 6:30 game.