Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Faced with adversity, the Bellwood-Antis Junior High football team took over the game in the second half to remain undefeated with a 16-6 comeback win over Moshannon Valley at Bellwood Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
With two members of the Blue Devils starting backfield already out due to injuries, ninth grade quarterback Nate Gray was injured while fielding a punt early in the second quarter and never returned.
Trailing 6-0 at halftime after Moshannon Valley took the opening kick off and drove down the field for a touchdown, Bellwood-Antis then returned the favor to take an 8-6 lead.
“We had to deal with a lot of adversity,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Charlie Burch. “When Nate went down, we just held our breathe. Without three starters and with an eighth grader at quarterback, who had taken very few reps, it looked like our undefeated season went up in smoke.”
The Little Blue Devils came out for the second half and drove down the field for the tying score. Levi Hollen got loose on a buck between center and right guard and raced 36 yards for the score. B-A then pulled into an 8-6 lead when eighth graders Nate Plummer and Zach McCaulley combined for a two-point conversion pass. McCaulley left his feet to make a diving catch in the end zone. Key play in the series was a Plummer to tight end Tyler Geis pass play for a 16-yard gain and first down into Mo Valley territory.
“We put in the eighth graders with the season on the line and everybody contributed,” explained Burch. “We got the first score and then just ate up most of the time on the clock.”
While the Blue Devils defense was holding Moshannon Valley (6-2) to just one first down in the second half, the B-A offense took time off the clock, limiting the Little Knights to just two second-half possessions.
Bellwood-Antis marched down the field for their second score, beginning late in the third quarter and finally getting a Hollen five-yard touchdown midway through the fourth. Plummer passed to Geis for the two-points and a 16-6 advantage that meant Moshannon had to score twice to get the lead. Another Plummer connection to Geis kept the drive alive, with Geis juggling a high pass and then coming down with the catch for a first down.
“I am very, very proud of these guys,” said Burch. “Of the 57 or 58 wins that we have had while I have coached here, this one ranks with the best. Nate Plummer did a tremendous job and Levi Hollen and Drew Saylor really came out in the second half and did excellent jobs in running the ball to keep their offense on the bench.”
The Bellwood-Antis eighth graders (6-1) fell behind Moshannon Valley and were never able to find the end zone to drop their first game after six straight wins by a 6-0 count.
Bellwood-Antis (8-0) will travel to Bishop Guilfoyle for a game behind the BG High School on Pleasant Valley next Thursday at 6 p.m.

By Rick