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Win against Marauders mandatory if Blue Devils expect to make playoffs

Bellwood-Antis (5-3) travels into the Marauders’ den at Mansion Park against Bishop Guilfoyle (6-2) on Saturday night for a game that will definitely decide the winner of the ICC Nittany Division and quite possibly who will qualify and will not for the District V/VI playoffs, which begin next week.
Bellwood-Antis stubbed its toe last week, falling to once-beaten Moshannon Valley 13-7 and in doing so needs a win over Bishop Guilfoyle and some help from several other teams to get into the playoffs.
Bellwood-Antis must defeat BG. After that the figuring is a bit complicated, but basically it comes down to this: The Blue Devils are currently 11th in Class-A which only takes the top eight for playoffs, with 730 points. Portage (6-2), in 10th place with 780 points plays Ferndale (2-6). Laurel Valley (6-2) in ninth place, with 830 points, plays number two seed Blairsville (7-1). Bishop Guilfoyle, currently eighth, has 900 points. If Ferndale and Blairsville win their games and Bellwood-Antis can get points from Southern Huntingdon beating Tussey Mountain plus a win from at least one other team that B-A defeated, the eighth position would be the Blue Devils. The opponent for that eighth place team in the first round would be Bishop Carroll at Ebensburg. If everything would go right, there would be a distant shot of Bellwood-Antis finishing tied with Conamaugh Township for the seventh spot. Who would get the seventh seed would come down to the fifth tiebreaker-best winning percentage of regular season opponents. If everybody stays where they are now, BG will play Bishop Carroll in their first playoff game and Bellwood-Antis would have a regular season home game against Curwensvile next Friday to end the season.
Bellwood-Antis and Bishop Guilfoyle began playing football in 1941. With Altoona Catholic, as the schools was named back then, winning a 13-0 shutout and the Blue Devils, winning by the same score in 1942 Altoona Catholic carved out a 4-3-1 series lead with a 0-0 tie in 1944. The series was discontinued from 1947 to 1959 and from 1962 to 1970. When the schools began meeting again in 1971, Altoona Catholic had become Bishop Guilfoyle, named after one of the former bishops of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. BG led early in the 1980s, but Bellwood-Antis has taken over the overall lead 16-11-1, with wins in nine of the 10 contests before last year’s 21-0 Bishop Guilfoyle victory. That win stopped a 26-game regular season win streak for the Blue Devils.
BG finished 9-0 last year and won their first playoff tilt before getting sidelined by the same Windber team that had sent B-A to the sidelines a week earlier.
The Marauders, coached by long-time head mentor Tom Irwin now in his 36th year overall, 32 at BG, return 22 letterwinners from the 2002 squad on a roster of 47 this year. Bishop Guilfoyle returned twin running back threats Matt Georgiana and Josh DeStefano, but had to replace their entire offensive line, quarterback and wide receivers.
The Marauders edged Chestnut Ridge 20-14 to open the campaign then shout out Penns Valley (19-0), West Branch (40-0) and Allegheny-Clarion Valley (40-0) before hitting a couple of high class speedbumps. Losses followed to undefeated Huntingdon (24-7) and once beaten Tyrone (17-14), which has its only loss in overtime to Huntingdon. Bishop Guilfoyle regrouped to down Pius X 13-0 and belt Mount Union 48-6.
“BG runs an offense similar to ours,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “They line up in a Wing-T at times, but use different variations of the I-formation most often, The best way to describe them would probably be multiple offenses. They have an excellent tailback-fullback combination and they do different things to take advantage of the talents of both.
“They have had a lot of success running the football. They haven’t had to pass much, but they can throw. They have a new quarterback this season, not as talented as their QBs have been in the recent past. He cam throw pretty well and when they do pass, it is usually off play action, which is successful because they run so well. They try to establish the run more than they come out throwing.”
Senior tailback Matt Georgiana (5-11, 185) has carried the ball 159 times for 840 yards and seven TDs, while senior classmate Josh DeStefano (6-0, 190) has 94 carries for 736 yards and nine TDs from his fullback position.
Junior quarterback Adam Trybus (5-11, 170) has completed 23 of 52 passes for 411 yards. Trybus has thrown four TD passes and has been intercepted six times. DeStefano is the leading receiver with eight catches for 166 yards and two TDs. Senior wide out Jonathan Milliron (5-11, 163) has caught five passes for 91 yards and one TD. Juniors Mike Bender (5-11, 173) has three grabs for 79 yards and Scott Zimmerman has three for 33.
The BG offense is averaging 238 yards rushing and another 53 passing for a per game average of 291 total yards.
The Marauders defense has been tough on their opponents, allowing an average of just 86 yards rushing and 74 passing for a per game average of 160 yards total offense.
“On defense, Bishop Guilfoyle uses a 6-1 alignment,” reports Hayes. “They use a combination man-to-man coverage with a Cover-2. They are very aggressive, run to the ball and have a lot of line surge. They lost a lot of the linemen, but have played very well on defense. The defense has played an important part in keeping opponents away for their goal and getting the ball for the offense in good field position.”
Bellwood-Antis has averaged 179 yards on the ground and 112 yards per game through the air to average the exact same 291 yards total offense that Bishop Guilfoyle is averaging.
Dan Houser leads the Blue Devils with 718 yards and 10 TDs on 142 carries. Matt Sneath adds 362 yards and three TDs on 75 carries.
Shawn Weiand has completed 60 of 108 passes for 888 yards. Weiand, a senior, has thrown four TD passes and has been intercepted four times. Junior wingback Derrick Hoffer has caught 15 passes for 291 yards and three TDs. Sneath has 14 catchers for 165 yards and Houser has 12 receptions for 111 yards. Senior tight end Matt Plummer has 12 catches for 236 yards and one TD.
“We probably spend more time practicing against the pass, regardless of who the opponent is,” explained Hayes. “It takes longer to get the hang of pass defense than run defense. Pass defense is more complicated.
“We are trying to improve on what we are doing, get a little smarter, make less mistakes. We have to go out and play our game, try to find their weaknesses and contain their offense and score more than they do. This is a good rivalry and there’s lots of pride involved.”