Interception return keys B-A junior high over P-O

Faced with just a two-point lead, Bellwood-Antis lost a fumble on Thursday night in their junior high match-up against Philipsburg-Osceola near halftime.
The P-O junior high quarterback made a bad mistake in attempting a pass, which Blue Devil Drew Saylor picked off near the Philipsburg sideline and returned 44 yards for a touchdown. Instead of perhaps trailing for the first time this season, or at best going into the locker room leading 16-14, suddenly Bellwood-Antis had a much more comfortable 24-14 advantage.
“We were concerned about the fumble,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Charlie Burch. “We were mentally prepared, but P-O stunned us with the kickoff return for a touchdown. We thought we had gotten it back together, but the long run from scrimmage got them back in the game. It was key to stop the two-point try. Their kid made a huge mistake and Drew took advantage of it. We took a 10-point lead into the half, instead of two points.”
Bellwood-Antis (6-0) turned it up a gear on defense holding Philipsburg-Osceola out of the end zone the final two quarters, while the B-A offense added a seven-yard score by Randy Pfahler to cap the Blue Devils’ sixth straight win of the season, 30-14.
The B-A defense has given up just four TDs in their six games, P-O becoming the first opponent to score more than one touchdown or two-point conversions. The Bellwood-Antis junior high has outscored their six opponents 222-24.
The Little Blue Devils and Little Mounties had matched scores through most of the opening two quarters, leading up to the Saylor interception.
Bellwood-Antis drew first blood when Saylor scooted seven yards for a TD and Pfahler caught a pass from Nate Gray for the two-point conversion. The Mounties took just one play to tie the score, when Zach Czap returned the following kick 75 yards for the score and a two-point run by David Quick knotted the score at 8-8.
The Blue Devils marched down the field in the second quarter with Levi Hollen capping the drive with an 18-yard run. The B-A defense seemed to have P-O halted on the following drive, when Quick burst through the left side and raced 54 yards for a touchdown. The extra point run failed to give the Blue Devils a slim 16-14 lead and set the stage for Saylor’s interception.
“We challenged the kids at halftime, telling them that a good team would go out and take the kickoff and drive the ball, taking time off the clock and putting the ball in the end zone for a score,” said Burch. “And that’s exactly what they did. This win wasn’t easy, we have had two very tough games, this one and Mount Union and have three very big ones to go. At the beginning of the season, our kids just assumed everybody would roll over for them. Now, they are finding out, it’s harder and they have to work for the wins.”