Although the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils looked bad a week ago in their opener against Tyrone on both sides of the ball, a long trip to Spring Mills to battle Penns Valley proved to be exactly what the team needed. The defense led by a pair of interceptions and a load of tackles by senior linebacker Tony DelGrosso allowed Penns Valley no points, only 34 yards total offense and only one first down in a 37-0 triumph.
That one first down came with 11:49 to play in the fourth quarter, with the mercy-rule clock ticking. The Blue Devil defense picked off a total of four passes, one each by Brandon Pruznak and David Burns in addition to DelGrosso’s and never allowed the Rams into Bellwood-Antis territory until that first down early in the final quarter. Adam Martin, Troy Brunner, Evan Hughes, Anthony Jenkins and the B-A defense controlled the game on one side of the line of scrimmage, with Hughes and Brunner picking up one quarterback sack each.
On the other side of the ball, junior tailback Josh Kleinfelter, off to a slow start in the season opener, clicked it in another gear to score twice and rush 22 times for 152 yards. Senior quarterback Kyle Drost completed nine of 15 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown, while tossing one interception.
Bellwood-Antis was its own worst enemy, turning the ball over three times, on two fumbles and an interception. While the defense dominated Penns Valley’s offensive attack, the miscues stopped B-A several times early.
“We were down there and gave them the ball,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes, “but we told our guys, ‘play defense and get it back and give us another shot.’ The kids stepped up big on defense tonight. They made a lot of plays and gave us good field position. We just made the ballgame pretty easy from that standpoint. No goal line stands, no digging out of the endzone. They played well.”
After limiting Penns Valley to a minus five yards on their opening series, Bellwood-Antis took just five plays to get on the scoreboard. Drost connected with Troy Brunner for eight yards and then with Dan Kovac for the 23-yard TD. Evan Celmo booted the first of four PAT kicks to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 pad with 7:51 left in the opening quarter.
Penns Valley was forced to punt on their next possession, but B-A fumbled and the Rams recovered. Again, Bellwood-Antis held without allowing the Rams to move the sticks.
Kleinfelter blasted 25 yards over the left side of the line on the Blue Devils next series, but B-A stalled.
Beginning from midfield, Bellwood-Antis drove to the PV-10, but again lost the ball on a fumble. Kleinfelter carried three straight times before the fumble to pick up a total of 18 yards.
Drost tossed a 12-yard completion to Devon Clapper on the first play of the following series and Kleinfelter rambled for a 22-yard to put the ball at the Ram-1. The Penns Valley defense held Kleinfelter for no gain on two consecutive calls, but the B-A junior slipped in on third and goal for the score,
“Kyle had a decent game last week, he threw a couple picks, but his strength is his arm. He can throw the ball pretty well. Kyle will get better, we are not in the situation where we will be by the 10th game of the season. He throws the ball well and we have other people to do the other chores.”
Later in the second quarter, DelGrosso returned the first interception 18 yards to the PV-26. Kleinfelter picked up six yards and sophomore Brandon Eger moved the sticks for a first down with a five-yard gain. Penns Valley stopped the Blue Devils there, and Celmo booted a 32-yard field goal to extend the B-A margin to 16-0 at halftime.
DelGrosso came up with his second pick on Penns Valley’s first series of the half, almost making it to the end zone, but was pushed out of bounds at the PV-10 after a 26-yard return.
“Tony had an outstanding game tonight,” said Hayes. “I think he felt bad after last week, but he played really big tonight. He played a big defensive games for us. He kind of thinks of himself as a fullback and he’s not, but he had a nice game.
Devon Clapper scored on a seven-yard reverse three plays later and Celmo added the extra point.
Clapper made it two scores in a row several plays later when the B-A junior returned the following Penns Valley punt 48 yards for his second TD less than three minutes. Celmo’s PAT boot increased the Bellwood-Antis lead to 30-0 with 4:27 to play in the third quarter. Clapper fielded the punt in the middle of the field, cut to his right and outraced everybody to the end zone to help make up for two earlier fumbles.
The final score came as a result of a Penns Valley snap that went over their punter’s head back to the Rams-30. Kleinfelter opened the march with a gain of six. Junior fullback Jon Davilla picked up a first down with a five-yard burst and Eger rolled to the outside to pick up seven yards. Kleinfelter had his number called for the 12-yard TD and Celmo’s extra point kick signaled the Mercy-rule at the 0:57 mark of the third period for the rest of the game.
“He’s just starting to come on now,” said Hayes about Kleinfelter. “Good backs have to carry the ball a number of times to get the feel for it. He didn’t get the number of carries last week we would like for him to have. Tonight we got him the ball.
Penns Valley then picked up their only first down and was able to move the ball to the BA-23. That was as close as they would get however. A DelGrosso tackle, five-yard penalty and pressure on the quarterback by B-A junior defensive lineman Tyler Narehood forced Penns Valley to give up the ball.
“We really don’t care how it happens, but its nice when your defense in playing like that,” emphasized Hayes. “It’s keeping the opposition off the board and making it pretty easy when you are out at the middle of the field and can do a lot more things (on offense). Tony had a good night, but the rest of our defense played well. We had good coverage, got good pressure up front and prevented the big plays when they ran the ball. The defense put us in good position to do what we wanted to do.””
Bellwood-Antis 37 Penns Valley 0
Bellwood-Antis 7 9 21 0 – 37
Penns Valley 0 0 0 0 – 0
BA – Kovac 23 pass from Drost. (Celmo kick) 7:51.
BA – Kleinfelter 1 run. (kick failed) 5:53.
BA – Celmo 32 field goal 3:07
BA – Clapper 7 run. (Celmo kick) 7:12.
BA – Clapper 48 punt return. (Celmo kick) 4:27.
BA – Kleinfelter 12 run. (Celmo kick)
First Downs 16 1
Yards Rushing 40-226 23-16
Pass Att.-Comp. 9-17 3-15
Pass Yards 114 18
Total Yards 340 34
Fumbles/Lost 3-2 1-1
Interceptions by 1 4
Penalties/Yards 5-45 6-55
Punts/Avg. 2-34.5 6-26.8
Penns Valley – Korn 16-43, Wingard 3-8, Roth 2 (-13), Team 1-(-20).
Bellwood-Antis – Kleinfelter 22-152 (2 TDs), Davilla 4-15, Campbell 5-41, Eger 3-16, Buchele 1-4 DeGol 1-3, Clapper 3-0 (1 TD), Drost 1- (-5).
Penns Valley – Roth 3-12, 18 yards, 3 Int., 0 TDs, Johnson 0-3, 0 yards. 1 Int., 0 TDs.
Bellwood-Antis – Drost 9-15, 114 yards, 1 Int., 1 TD.
Penns Valley – Kieffer 1-10, Homan 1-7, Korn 1-1.
Bellwood-Antis – Clapper 3-45, Kovac 3-38 (1 TD), Brunner 2-3, Davilla 1-8.