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Bellwood-Antis scores final 38 points to run away and hide from Black Knights

Bellwood-Antis and Moshannon Valley were locked in a tough battle at Bellwood Memorial Stadium in the drizzle on Friday night. The Blue Devils were celebrating Senior Night and the Black Knights were doing their best to spoil it, despite the fact that their 1,242-yard rusher was in civilian clothes on the side line after getting into a fight at the end of last week’s game against Juniata Valley. Moshannon Valley had the momentum on their side after just scoring on an 85-yard punt return by senior speedster Ryan Gmerek to tie the score at 10-10.
Twice the Blue Devils would rise to the occasion over the next 10 minutes to turn what might have been disaster into something positive. Those positives helped put Bellwood-Antis back on track and led the way to a 55-16 victory to improve the B-A record to 7-1, heading into next week’s regular season final at Bishop Guilfoyle on Saturday night. Moshannon Valley drops to 5-3 and must travel to Chestnut Ridge next week with slim hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
First, diminutive sophomore Brandon Eger (5-9, 140 on the roster, but it’s doubtful he’s actually that big) fielded the kickoff at his own 20 and appearing to be shot from a cannon, took off up the middle of the field, racing untouched for an 80 yard touchdown to pull Bellwood-Antis into the lead again. Evan Celmo’s PAT boot gave B-A a 17-10 advantage.
Then the stubborn Knights scored again on another beautiful run by Gmerek, this time from scrimmage, when he faked a pass from his quarterback spot, skirted around left end, cut back across the middle and scampered 65 yards for another score although B-A blocked the PAT try. The Blue Devils quickly marched in for another TD and added a field goal before halftime to set the tone for the rest of the game.
After an incomplete pass started the series, Josh Kleinfelter dashed 35 yards to key the drive, and senior quarterback Kyle Drost tossed a screen pass to Jon Davila for 12 yards, then finished off the drive with a 14-yard connection to senior wide out Dan Kovac for the touchdown.
The 14 yards enabled Kovac to surpass Brad Wertz (1995-96) as the all-time Blue Devils leader in career receiving yardage with 699 and his eighth TD catch ties him with Steve Miller (1984) for touchdown catches in a season. Kovac also added to his career TD receiving mark with two last year for a total of 10.
The B-A defense capitalized on a mistake, when Evan Hughes intercepted a Knight pass and ran it back 26 yards to the MV-16. Bellwood-Antis couldn’t move the sticks, but Evan Celmo booted his second field goal of the game, this one from 29 yards to send the Blue Devils into the locker room at the half leading 27-16.
“The punt return was a great play on their part, That kid (Gmerek) made some great plays out there tonight,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “He kind of had a lot of weight on his shoulders. You have to give Moshannon Valley a lot of credit that first half was an even ballgame. They made some big plays, and took advantage of his skills. He is fast, extremely fast. We knew that coming in and I thought from a scrimmage standpoint, we handled that pretty good. On the big plays, though, he killed us.
“For us to be able to return that kickoff, was awfully big. If they had stuffed us down there deep, like they did later, they would have been fired up and who knows what would have happened.”
What did happen was 38 unanswered points scored by the Blue Devils after the second Gmerek TD.
It didn’t take long for Bellwood-Antis to stuff Moshannon Valley on three plays and force a punt after the Knights received the kick to begin the ballgame.
Kleinfelter, who finished with 199 yards rushing on 20 carries, burst 29 yards on his first three carries and junior fullback Jon Davila crashed up the middle and raced 21 yards for the first touchdown. Celmo, who is 36-for-36 this year in PATs and has three field goals, booted the first of seven perfect extra points.
Kovac recovered a Mo Valley on the next series and Celmo converted a 26-yard field goal for a 10-0 advantage with 5:16 to play in the opening quarter.
Mo Valley came back with Justin Smith booting a 30-yard field goal to get the Knights on the board and then Gmerek added his punt return for a score and John Zeigler’s PAT tied the game at 10-10.
“That (the TDs by Eger and Kovac) got the shift back on our side and allowed us to work from a positive standpoint at halftime, rather than being frustrated and on the defensive. They were answering everything we did. What we were able to do was very big at the time as well as the big third quarter score when Kyle was able to hit Josh down there and get that score. I think that was probably the final nail in there to get us over the edge, where we could just relax and go out and play football from that point.”
Bellwood-Antis put two more TDs on the board in each of the final two quarters to make the rout complete.
Kleinfelter had a big hand in both of the third quarter scores. On the first series of the quarter, Josh burst 41 yards on the first play and eventually scored the 11-yard TD. On the second, Kleinfelter ran back a punt 42 yards down the left sideline to set up the score and then Drost, who completed five of nine passes for 86 yards, connected with Kleinfelter for a 45-yard TD pass. Drost has completed 44 of 88 pass attempts this year for 851 yards with nine TDs and five interceptions.
Justin Manning went around left end for a 15-yard touchdown with just eight seconds gone in the fourth quarter and with both teams playing their reserves, Bellwood-Antis drove 66 yards for the final score of the game.
Shane Noye carried twice for 36 yards, Brandon Eger twice for 21 and Eger covered the final two yards for the score.
Bellwood-Antis 55 Moshannon Valley 16
Moshannon Valley 10 17 14 14 – 55
Bellwood-Antis 3 13 0 0 – 16
First Quarter
BA – Davila 21 run. (Celmo kick) 9:06.
BA – Celmo 26 field goal. 5:16.
MV – J. Smith 30 field goal. 1:33.
Second Quarter
MV – Gmerek 85 punt return. (Zeigler kick) 11:39.
BA – Eger 80 kick return. (Celmo kick).
MV – Gmerek 65 run. (kick blocked) 4:23.
BA – Kovac 14 pass from Drost. (Celmo kick) 1:33.
BA – Celmo 29 field goal. 0:22.
Third Quarter
BA – Kleinfelter 11 run. (Celmo kick) 8:31.
BA – Kleinfelter 45 pass from Drost. (Celmo kick) 5:43.
Fourth Quarter
BA – Manning 15 run. (Celmo kick) 11:52.
BA – Eger 2 run. (Celmo kick) 4:34.
Team
BA MV
First Downs 22 5
Yards Rushing 45-358 39-151
Pass Att.-Comp. 5-9 1-9
Pass Yards 86 1
Total Yards 464 152
Fumbles/Lost 0-0 3-1
Interceptions by 1 0
Penalties/Yards 5-25 5-35
Punts/Avg. 2-37.5 5-32
Rushing
Bellwood-Antis – Kleinfelter 20-199 (1 TD), Manning 4-47 (1 TD), Eger 6-39 (1 TD), Noye 2-36, Davila 6-26, DeGol 4-17, Buchele 1-1, Drost 1 (-5), Team 1-(-2).
Moshannon Valley – Gmerek 16-100 (1 TD), Pataky 12-33, Kruise 5-16, Walstrom 1-2.
Passing
Bellwood-Antis – Drost 5-9, 86 yards, 0 Int., 2 TDs.
Moshannon Valley – Gmerek 1-7, 1 yard, 1 Int., 0 TDs, Dudurich, 0-2, 0 yards, 0 Int., TDs.
Receiving
Bellwood-Antis – Kleinfelter 1-45 (1 TD), Winterstein 1-19, Kovac 1-14 (1 TD), Davila 1-12, Brunner 1-6.
Moshannon Valley – Stodart 1-1.