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Mounties come to Bellwood looking to avenge overtime loss at P-O last season

Bellwood-Antis puts out the welcome mat for Philipsburg-Osceola on Friday night. The Mounties are familiar with Bellwood Memorial Stadium and the Blue Devils’ program because for many years, the two schools scrimmaged after the first week of preseason practice. With the enlargement of the Big 8 into what has become the Mountain Athletic Conference however, both schools were thrown into the same MAC Nittany Division. Now the meetings on the gridiron have much more meaning. The two, along with former Big 8 teams Tyrone and Bald Eagle Area, plus newcomers Penns Valley and Bishop Guilfoyle are now battling for division championships during the regular season in the small school, or Nittany Division.
The series began a year ago with a tense thriller of a contest at Philipsburg, just a week after Philipsburg-Osceola had upset Tyrone 7-6 for the Eagles only loss of the regular season.
The Blue Devils fought the Mounties toe-to-toe for four quarters with no quarter given and none taken by either squad. After four scoreless quarters in a defensive struggle, the Bellwood-Antis “D” rose up after Philipsburg had crashed to the BA-3 on their first carry in overtime and forced P-O to kick a field goal. That led to a Josh Kleinfelter 10-yard bolt around the left side, climaxed by a dive into the end zone by the B-A sophomore and a 6-3 victory that jolted the Mounties from the ranks of the undefeated and left B-A, P-O and Tyrone all with a share of the very first MAC Nittany title.
While the scene is much the same for Bellwood-Antis with four straight wins following another beginning of the season loss to Tyrone, Philipsburg lost Jeff Winters, Lou LaFuria, Ryan Mostyn, and the major portion of their line and has had trouble scoring in a 1-4 season.
The Mounties have been tough against the run on defense in 2005 for fourth-year head coach Jeff Vroman, who has guided P-O to back-to-back 7-4 and 9-2 seasons.
Philipsburg-Osceola opened the season with two tough one touchdown losses to Brookville 14-6 and undefeated Bellefonte 13-6, before downing Penns Valley 20-7 for their only win of the first half. Losses followed to Bishop Guilfoyle 20-7, and Tyrone 39-7.
“Penns Valley runs a very pure Wing-T type offensive formation,” reports Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “Some new features of the Wing-T have been added over the years and Philipsburg does all those things and they do it pretty well. We do bits and pieces and so do a lot of other teams, but Philipsburg is committed to it 10 percent.
“It is a multi-back offense although usually the fullback is the featured back. It is based on deception and misdirection and all the backs, including the quarterback has viable parts in the running game. Philipsburg’s quarterback can run and throw and had had a couple big plays in every game so far.”
Senior running back Elliot Davis (5-11, 160) has rushed 31 times for 174 yards, and classmate Ryan Marcinko (6-0, 170) has 146 yards on 40 carries and leads the team with four touchdowns from his fullback position.
Junior quarterback A. J. Czap (5-10, 155) has completed 21 of 63 passes for 296 yards with two TD passes and five interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver J. D. Mason (6-3, 175) has been the leading receiver with five catches for 119 yards and one score. Davis has seven catches for 53 yards junior wideout Mike Supko (6-2, 195) has five grabs for 75 yards and Marcinko, who has one TD in each game running or passing, has four catches for 26 yards and one TD.
The P-O offense has averaged 106 yards rushing and 59 yards passing for a combined total of 165 yards per game.
“On defense, Philipsburg runs a 5-2 and will play a couple different coverages in the secondary,” said Hayes. “They will go with a seven-man front and four-deep secondary. They don’t stunt much, they are primarily a hit and read defense. They will hold their ground and force you to move them. They flow very quickly to the football.”
The Mounties have been tough against the run, allowing just 152 yards per game on average-128 yards per contest prior to the Tyrone game, when the Eagles rushed for a season high 249 yards. Opponents are averaging under 80 yards per game passing.
Coming off a big triumph over previously undefeated Southern Huntingdon last week, the Blue Devils are averaging 235.6 yards rushing per game and another 94.4 yards through the air for a total yardage figure of 350 yards per game. The B-A defense has limited opponents to an even 200 yards total offense per game on 90 yards rushing and 110 passing.
Josh Kleinfelter, with a pair of 200-yard efforts has rushed 115 times for 866 yards, averaging 7.5 per carry. Junior fullback Jonathan Davila has 148 yards on 26 carries, to average 5.7 yards per carry. Kleinfelter has played in 18 games, 17 of them starts and has rushed for 100 yards or more in 12 of them, including a pair of 200 yard games and the all-time B-A record of 3307 yards in the Blue Devils opening round District 6 win over Laurel Valley last year.
Kyle Drost returned to the lineup after a week’s absence due to illness and was a perfect four-for-four for 90 yards last week. The senior quarterback has completed an even 50 percent of his tosses connecting on 23 of 46 for 405 yards with four TDs and four interceptions. In relief, junior Evan Hughes is three-of-four for 67 yards with one TD and one INT.
Dan Kovac went without a reception last week, but leads B-A receivers with nine catches for 182 yards. Devon Clapper has seven receptions for 90 yards and senior tight end Troy Brunner has five catches for 40 yards.
“We saw a couple things last week where we need to do better,” explained Hayes. “The turnover hurt us near the end of the first half. We need to remain focused and attend to detail.
“On defense we need to work a little more on pass defense. Our run defense worked well, but they made some big plays through the air. We are content with our lineup-we need to expect it and play the pass a little better, when we stop the run.
“We expect a real tough ballgame. They have played well in every game, except last week against Tyrone. They lost some good kids to graduation, but still have a tough football team. We expect the same kind of game we had with them last year.”