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Bellwood-Antis junior varsity passes spark win over Bald Eagle Area

In the 1940s, Bellwood-Antis filled the air with passes and laterals and got the nickname “the passing fools,” by area sports writers. Then for years, the Blue Devils were satisfied to play smashmouth football-the tailback is going to get the football-try and stop us. Passing was done only on third-down-and-long situations. While it was a success, times have changed and Bellwood-Antis has arrived in the 21st century.
The Bellwood-Antis junior varsity wiped out the Bald Eagle Area Jayvees on Monday night at Bellwood Memorial Stadium 35-6. The score may not be surprising. The first two plays, both passes, going for a total 85 yards, one TD and another penetration deep into BEA territory set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Before it was over, Evan Hughes and Alan Wertz had completed 10 of 13 passes for 147 yards and two scores. Until the Blue Devils finally slowed it down in the final quarter, Bellwood-Antis had called believe it or not 11 pass plays and just 16 running plays.
“We saw what they were giving us early,” said coach Randy Miller. “Actually, we had a different play called and we got a break. Our assistant coach Nick Lovrich, whispered to me, ‘hey that skinny slice is open.’ Those guys watch, whatever they call usually works. He’s good for a touchdown a game.”
The play Lovrich saw was open, was a slant from the right across the middle by junior wide out Brandon Pruznak, who grabbed the ball thrown by Hughes in stride and raced 44 yards untouched for the first B-A score of the night on their first play from scrimmage. A track star for the Blue Devil MAC Division champion track and field team, no defender got close to Pruznak. Evan Celmo booted his first of five straight extra point kicks for a 7-0 B-A lead at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter.
Bellwood-Antis had kicked off to begin the game, but the Blue Devil defense with stops by Caleb Stephens and Bruno DeGol on first down, Mike Guinard on second down and Blaze Winterstein on third down forced BEA to punt.
Bellwood-Antis took just the one call to get on the scoreboard, then Guinard, Justin Manning and Chad Coho, DeGol and Winsterstein allowed the Bald Eagles four yards in three plays on the next series, and forced another punt.
Hughes and Pruznak connected again on the opening play of the following series for a 41-yard gain and Brandon Eger scooted 18 yards a play later for the score. Bellwood-Antis had run three plays from scrimmage and scored 14 points. Hughes would finish with seven of nine completions for 124 yards.
The Blue Devils put two more touchdowns up on the board in the second quarter.
Bald Eagle Area finally got going, driving from the BA-47 for a TD at the beginning of the second quarter, but the Blue Devils retaliated one play later. Manning fielded the kickoff at his own 15 and raced untouched down the left side for an 85-yard touchdown. Manning got some beautiful blocking from his teammates and did the rest himself. Celmo’s PAT gave B-A a 21-6 lead.
Bellwood-Antis would add one more tally before halftime. Brandon Eger, who rushed five times for 58 yards in the first half get loose for 32 for the key play of the drive and Danny Campbell has his number called three times for 29 yards. Alan Wertz, who completed two of three passes for 24 yards, spotted Pruznak in the end zone, behind the defenders, for the 11-yard TD.
Bellwood-Antis capped the score with the only touchdown of the second half when Hughes crashed in for a two-yard score over the right side of his line with 5:18 left in the third quarter. Campbell, who ran nine times for a game-high 124 yards keyed the march with gains of 10 and 31 yards.
In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils ran the football to run time off the clock, rushing 15 times, including a 47-yard jaunt by Campbell that had the ball inside the 10, before Wertz took a knee to end the game.
“The kids played real well,” said coach Miller. “They executed, they did a good job moving the ball. And they played great defense.”