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Bellwood-Antis hoping the third time is the charm for the Blue Devils in Eastern Semifinals against four-time defending state champion Tigers

What do you do when you face an opponent who hasn’t lost a game of any kind in two and a half years, has won 14 straight playoff games and is going for their fifth straight PIAA state championship?
Oh, and did we say they have a 6-foot-2, 240-pound fullback who has rushed for 6,830 yards and scored 112 touchdowns in his high school career.
That is the task the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils football team has on Friday, when they meet Southern Columbia at Kemp Memorial Stadium in Shamokin.
Blue Devil head coach John Hayes is hoping that for the Blue Devils, the third time will be the charm. It seems that after taking apart Old Forge and Shenandoah Valley in the last two weeks, Bellwood-Antis is the third straight school with a Blue Devil mascot to battle Southern Columbia.
Bellwood-Antis is fresh from the school’s first-ever PIAA football playoff win, having dusted off Steelton-Highspire 28-8 last Friday evening at Mansion Park, dominating the Steamrollers in every phase of the game.
Although they totaled 311 yards of offense, 240 yards of it, and four touchdowns from Josh Kleinfelter, the offensive attack was not perfect. Steel-High couldn’t stop the Blue Devils, but they did that themselves with a penalty, missed blocking assignment, or other miscue at just the right time to keep the score at just 6-0 Bellwood-Antis at the half.
The B-A defense was nearly picture-perfect, limiting a team that was averaging 32 points, and 317 yards per game to just one score and except for one long pass play that set up the TD, only 54 yards total offense on 38 plays from scrimmage.
Southern Columbia has put together a streak matched only by another school from their own District 4. The Tigers and Berwick (Triple-A) are the only schools to win four state championships. They have won their last 24 games in a row, the third longest streak in school history. Jim Roth is Southern Columbia’s head coach and in 23 years has compiled a 276-44-2 record.
In 2006, Southern Columbia has defeated Shamokin 48-21, Bloomsburg 47-6, Mount Carmel 54-0, Lewisburg 47-10, Warrior Run 59-0, Loyalsock 56-8, Clarion 35-0, Central Columbia 35-12, Danville 35-0, and then Bloomsberg again in district playoff action, 48-12, Line Mountain 49-31, Old Forge 48-0 and last week in an Eastern Semifinal, Shenandoah Valley, 61-15.
“Southern Columbia runs a very traditional Wing-T offense and has done so for as long as coach Roth has been there,” reports Hayes, who takes a 218-75-2 mark into the contest. “They are fundamentally very sound. They just keep plugging in parts and keep going like the bunny. They have an outstanding fullback, who is the feature back and their key player.
“As successful as the fullback has been, they don’t have to pass very much. When they do, it is almost always off play-action when they get the opponents to bring their linebackers and secondary up to get involved in run support. They have some big wide receivers and halfbacks who they involve in the passing attack, when the defense gets so focused on stopping the run.”
Senior fullback Henry Hynoski, who will play college football at Pitt, has rushed 173 times in 2006, for 2,072 yards and 37 touchdowns, and has 6,827 career rushing yards and 112 TDs. Hynoski needs 85 yards to move past Tyrone’s Jesse Jones, into seventh place on the PA all-time list.
Hynoski is not a one-man band however for the Tigers. Andrew Wimble has rushed 53 times for 718 yards and seven TDs, Dave Adams has run 66 times for 551 yards and 12 TDs, Steve Roth has 60 carries for 497 yards and seven TDs, Austin Carpenter has 75 carries for 495 yards, Ted Heitzman has 64 totes for 409 yards and five scores and Nich Gallinot has rushed 28 times for 346 yards and five TDs.
When Southern goes to the air, Heitzman, the quarterback, has completed 60 of 109 passes for 946 yards and 13 TDs. Tony Admire has caught 16 passes for 264 yards and four TDs, Colby Snyder has 14 receptions for 248 yards and four TDs and Hynoski has eight catches for 153 yards and one additional score.
Southern Columbia averages 47.4 points and 472 total yards (404 on the ground) per game. All seven of the main running backs average 6.4 yards per carry or better (Hynoski 11.6, Wimble 13.5, Adams 8.3, Roth 8.3, Carpenter 6.6, Heitzman 6.4, Gallinot 12.4).
The Southern Columbia defense has been as brilliant as the Tigers’ offense. The Southern “D” has been giving up just 46 yards rushing and 99 yards passing for a combined total offense by opponents of 145 yards per game.
“On defense, Southern Columbia uses a 4-4 alignment. They are not fancy,” said Hayes. “They don’t do a lot of things, they just line up and challenge you. They will stunt when they feel the need to apply more pressure, such as when the opponent is having success running the ball, or doing some passing.”
Gallinot is the Tigers’ leading tackler with 66, Corey Sober has 54, Justin Knoebel has 50 and Penn State-recruit Josh Marks has 47. Admire has seven interceptions and 11 pass breakups, while Zeke Conrad has five picks. Gallinot has nine pass break-ups and Snyder has eight. Sober, Knoebel and Gallinot lead the team with six sacks each, and Marks and Nick Hartranft each have five.
Bellwood-Antis, which has played inspirational football all season long, playing inspirational football all season long in memory of coach Randy Miller, who lost a long battle with cancer just before the season began, and has been even more focused in the playoffs.
In four playoff contests, Bellwood-Antis has outscored their opposition 106-23, while averaging 325 yards on offense and giving up just 101 yards rushing and 44 passing for a total of 145 yards per game on defense.
Josh Kleinfelter, who has rushed for 2,205 yards in 2006 on 295 carries, has a career total of 5,848 yards at Bellwood-Antis. Kleinfelter has scored 34 TDs this season and a career total of 79. Kleinfelter has set a new team record with 204 points scored in 2006, and a career total of 474 points.
Senior fullback Jon Davila has rushed 75 times for 448 yards, Devon Clapper has 39 rushes for 232 yards and Brandon Humphreys has 32 carries for 201 yards.
Evan Hughes has completed 53 of 117 passes for 682 yards with 10 interceptions and seven TDs. Clapper is the Blue Devils’ leading receiver with 18 catches for 269 yards and three TDs, David Burns has eight grabs for 95 yards and one TD, Brandon Pruznak has six receptions for 105 yards and one TD and Blaze Winterstein has six for 60 yards.
Jon Davila leads the team in tackles with 71 solos and 47 assists for a total of 118. Chad Coho has 54 solos and a total of 102, Bruno DeGol also has 54 solos and a total of 92 and Blaze Winterstein (45 solos) and Brandon Humphreys (38 solos) both have 80 total tackles.
Coho has six sacks and nine quarterback hurries for the Blue Devils and Anthony Jenkins has five sacks and a team-high 12 hurries. Davila and Winterstein each have three sacks and four hurries. Danny Campbell, Josh Kleinfelter, Devon Clapper and Bruno DeGol each have four interceptions, and Ben Martinez and Tyler Narehood each have two fumble recoveries.
“We are trying this week in practice to prepare the kids for what they are going up against on Friday night,” explained Hayes. “We run a lot of the same plays, so it’s not hard to learn, but our scout team doesn’t have the size and strength Southern Columbia does. We want to try to get as smooth as we can and go out with the kind of intensity that will make it work.”