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Bellwood-Antis jayvees edge Eagles

Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis played the annual Backyard Brawl-junior varsity style- on Tuesday evening at Gray-Vets Memorial Field. Playing with the intensity and verve that is always evident when these two adjoining school districts get together for anything up to and including tiddly winks, the game went back and forth until Bellwood-Antis drove 87 yards to put the only score of the ballgame on the board midway through the fourth quarter for an 8-0 triumph.
The two combatants played keep the ball away from each other for most of the first half, but penalties, mistakes and intensity combined to prevent any scoring.
First, Tyrone controlled the ball for all but two plays of the first quarter. Tyrone took the opening kick, but was unable to move the sticks. B-A linebacker Trey Campbell made two consecutive tackles to stop the Eagles on third and fourth downs from midfield. With the Eagle defense firing out on all cylinders, Bellwood-Antis quarterback Nate Plummer went to the air on the Blue Devils first play from scrimmage, only to have D. J. Cherry pick it off and return the interception 21 yards. When Bellwood-Antis got the ball again the Eagle junior varsity had run eight plays, including a pair of short pass completions from Shane Walker to Eric Desch for three yards and to Andrew Clark for five more, and Cody Smith carried twice for 10 yards.
Tyrone actually scored on a double pass that went from Walker to Desch to Smith that covered 30 yards, but it was called back when it was ruled Desch was over the line of scrimmage when he threw. With momentum lost as a result of the ensuing penalty, Tyrone handed the ball over to the Blue Devils at their own-30.
This time, Adam Bonsell smacked Drew Saylor for a five-yard loss that ended the first quarter with Tyrone having the ball for 16 plays to just two for Bellwood-Antis.
The second quarter was almost a direct opposite of the first. This time, the Blue Devils ran off 17 plays to seven for the Eagles, and again no one was able to locate the opponent’s end zone. Saylor managed a scramble for 16 yards, and Matt Reams bulled up the middle for a nine-yard gain for Bellwood-Antis, and Plummer completed a 15-yarder to Tim Collier and a six yarder to Zach McCaulley.
Walker completed passes of 12 and four yards to Desch for the Orange and Black.
Bellwood-Antis drove to the T-4, but eventually handed the ball over to Tyrone out at the T-25 after penalties for illegal motion and offensive pass interference. The biggest play of the night was a hitch and pitch near the end of the half, when Plummer tossed a 13-yard completion to Trey Campbell, who then lateraled out to Saylor, who rambled to the T-18 before the Eagles made the tackle. In all the play covered a total of 58 yards. Plummer then found Trey Mock for eight yards, but time ran out in the half.
In the third quarter, Bellwood-Antis moved the ball to begin the half, but Ross Black recovered a B-A fumble. Tyrone drove from their own 46 to the BA-13, where the Eagles returned the favor when Campbell fell on a fumble to thwart the Tyrone scoring drive.
The Blue Devils then turned around and marched for the only TD of the game. Saylor began the series with a 10-yard scamper and Zach McCaulley raced the final 36 yards for the touchdown. On the PAT, Plummer dodged a Tyrone defender and tossed a pass to Campbell all alone in the left side of the end zone for the two-points and an 8-0 advantage with 6:53 to play in the game.
“It doesn’t matter if one team is 10-0 and the other is 0-10, for this rivalry, you throw everything out, it’s always a hard-fought, low-scoring battle,” was how Bellwood-Antis junior varsity coach Nick Lovrich described the game. “And that’s the way it was tonight. They had the ball the whole first quarter, and that shows how good they are. And then we switched around the second quarter, we had the ball pretty much the entire time.
“It was a back-and-forth game, a good hard-fought battle between two good teams.”
Walker moved the Eagles down the field on the following series, connecting with Desch, who made a beautiful, fully-stretched out finger-tip grab of a Walker aerial for a 29-yard gain to the BA-24.
The B-A defense sacked Clark for a three-yard loss on the very next play. Walker made his only mistake of the game, when a play later, he was intercepted by Tim Collier, his cousin, who returned the pick 40 yards to put the ball out of danger, at the T-39.
Each team had one more series on offense, but neither was able to advance the football.
“The kids played hard,” said Tyrone junior varsity coach Darren Elvey. “We made too many mistakes, but I’m very proud of them.”
Tyrone will travel to Huntingdon on Monday for a junior varsity contest against the Bearcat Jayvees, while Bellwood-Antis will host the Lewistown junior varsity on Monday. Both games will start at 6 p.m.