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Bellwood-Antis faces tough obstacle against undefeated Southern Huntingdon Rockets

Southern Huntingdon hasn’t been 4-0 to start the season since 1991. They haven’t defeated Bellwood-Antis since 1979. On Friday night, the Blue Devils travel to Southern Huntingdon. It is always a tough game for the Blue Devils when they travel to Orbisonia, going back to the days when Ted Nypaver was the Rockets head coach and Southern Huntingdon had several teams that were college size on the line with battering ram running backs and a shift that home officials always seemed to allow.
Bellwood-Antis has won the last 14 games and leads in the series 24-7. B-A won the first five games in the series, including an 18-6 triumph in 1961, although after a 30-0 Southern win in 1979, the B-A lead had been reduced to 12-7.
The 2003 game at Southern Huntingdon was in doubt until the final whistle, before Bellwood-Antis prevailed 20-14, Last year although the score was 28-0, the game was much closer. The Blue Devils led just 7-0 at the half and had to stop Southern Huntingdon on a fourth-and-goal at the BA-1 to keep the Rockets from tying the score on the series following the B-A score.
Southern Huntingdon opened the season by edging the Knights 15-6. Then gathering up a head of steam, the Rockets blitzed Northern Bedford 49-20, Juniata Valley 37-6 and Williamsburg 55-12. Moshannon Valley, Northern Bedford and Juniata Valley are all 3-1 with their only loss to the Rockets.
“Southern Huntingdon primarily runs out of a Power-I offensive formation, although they will vary it once in awhile,” reports Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “They have two real strong running backs in their fullback and tailback, who have experience and play with a lot of confidence. They are both physical hard-nosed running backs. Their quarterback also returns from last year. He throws the ball well and is a threat to run, especially on play action. They have some good receivers, who are new, but have ability. Southern Huntingdon has had a lot of success on both sidxes of the line and plays with confidence.”
They have a good-sized experienced line which has dominated thus far, which kind of speaks for their unbeaten record. They have the capability to either run or pass, but much like us, prefer to run-their power running between the tackles has been a staple for them.
In outscoring their opposition 156-44, Southern Huntingdon has rushed for 921 yards (230/game) and passed for another 420 (105/game) for a total of 1,341 (335/game).
Johnny Neuder (Sr. 6-1, 182) has 60 carries for 499 yards and nine TDs. Troy Hoover (Jr. 5-10, 203) adds 27 carries for 257 yards and six TDs. Senior quarterback Scott Everhart has completed 19 of 26 passes for 369 yards and two TDs without being intercepted.
Junior Josh Crull (6-1,167) has eight catches for 179 yards and two TDs, and senior Chris Wertman (6-0, 168) has eight receptions for 144 yards. No other receiver has more than one catch.
Neuder has scored 10 TDs for 60 points, Hoover has seven TDs for 42 points and Brazilian foreign exchange student Andre Battista (Sr. 5-10, 150) has kicked 17 of 21 PATs and field goals of 37 and 23 yards for a total of 23 points.
The Southern Huntingdon defense has limited their four opponents to 505 yards rushing (126/game) and 346 yards passing (86.5/game) for a total yardage figure of 851 yards (212.5 game).
“Southern Huntingdon primarily will run an eight-man front on defense with a three-deep secondary,” said Hayes. “They usually line up in a 5-3, but in long yardage or passing downs will shift into a 4-4 alignment. They stunt a great deal, bringing linebackers to put a lot of pressure on the offensive schemes. They have been able to create a lot of good situations for their offense. The three-deep secondary is man-to-man.”
B-A junior tailback Josh Kleinfelter leads the team with 80 carries for 608 yards and nine TDs. Junior fullback Jon Davila adds 118 yards on 20 carries. Sophomore speedster Brandon Eger, fresh off a 197-yard rushing performance in the junior varsity game on Monday night, has 77 yards on 13 carries and junior Dan Campbell adds 87 yards on nine carries.
Senior Kyle Drost has completed 19 of 42 passes for 315 yards with four TD passes and four interceptions. Junior Evan Hughes, who started last week, against Mount Union, is three-of-four for 67 yards with one TD and one interception.
Senior Dan Campbell has grabbed nine catches for 182 yards and four TDs. Devon Clapper has caught five for 58 and tight end Troy Brunner has four receptions for 24 yards.
The B-A offense has rushed for 852 yards (213/game) and passed for another 382 (95.5/game) for a total offense of 1,234 (308.5/game), while the Blue Devil defensive unit has given up 386 yards rushing (96.5/game) and 373 yards passing (93.3/game) for a total offense of 759 yards (189.8/game) for the opponents.
“We are working a lot on fundamentals in practice this week,” said Hayes. “We are trying to pick up stunts and other things that Southern Huntingdon likes to do. We know that we will have to move the football, keep their offense and our defense off the field by controlling the ball and putting points on the board.”