Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Football games in the area are generally played on Friday nights. Sometimes a Saturday game is placed on the schedule against a team that plays on that day normally or during playoffs. Once in a great while if severe weather hits the area, a game is postponed until Monday. Very rarely is a varsity football game played on Thursday night.
That will be the case tonight when Bellwood-Antis celebrates their annual Homecoming against Mount Union. Attempting to beat Hurricane Isabel, with the worst winds and rain scheduled for Friday morning and afternoon, Bellwood-Antis head football coach and Athletic Director John Hayes informed the Daily Herald on Wednesday afternoon that the decision had been made to celebrate Homecoming and play the game against Mount Union on Thursday.
Bellwood-Antis has played on Thursday before, but not since World War II. The last time the Blue Devils played on any day other than the weekend was a half century ago when B-A drubbed Hollidaysburg 24-0 on Monday, Nov. 6, 1950. That game was switched from Saturday because of driving rains and a water-soaked playing field. Ten years before that on Oct. 11. 1940, Bellwood-Antis lost to Claysburg-Kimmel by a strange 11-0 score. The game was played on that day to celebrate Armistice Day, now called Veterans’ Day.
There hasn’t been much luck for Bellwood-Antis on Thursdays. Three times, the Blue Devils have played on Thursdays and B-A is still looking for their first win. All were within the first five years of the beginning of the program after Bellwood-Borough merged with Antis Township in 1938.
The first Thursday game was played on Nov. 10, 1938 during the very first season of Blue Devil football. After eight straight wins, a much bigger Lilly team defeated B-A 7-6. A year later, on Oct. 26, 1939, broke up a streak of three straight shutout wins for Bellwood-Antis with a 6-0 triumph over B-A. Finally in the first of two games that Bellwood-Antis played at neighboring Tyrone (because of WWII gas and tire restrictions) on Thursday, Oct. 6, 1942, the Eagles shelled B-A 33-0. The game was termed an “exhibition” in all the news papers of the era, but was counted by both teams in their records. The two squads met later on Saturday, Nov. 7 with Tyrone winning 27-0 the second time around.
The two schools began their series in 1941 with the Blue Devils winning 12 games of the first 13 games and leading the series 24-13 with three ties. After Mount Union went 5-0-1 from 1991 to 1996, Bellwood-Antis has won the six contests.
Mount Union broke out of the gate quickly in 2003 with a 44-0 victory over Carson Long, a private school. In the last two weeks, the Trojans have suffered losses to Chestnut Ridge 33-20 and Moshannon Valley 28-0.
With just 20 players on the roster, first-year coach Mike McClay is short on firepower, but has some quality people in the starting lineup.
“Mount Union runs mostly a Pro-I formation on offense,” said B-A coach Hayes. “They run a lot of toss or isolation type plays, running with power. Rogers is a pretty good athlete at tailback and they used a little at flanker last week to find different ways to get him the ball. They have used two different quarterbacks although Morgan , the senior plays most of the time. Varner, who is the tight end, has played some , but we think we will see Morgan at quarterback most of the time. They haven’t completed passes for a very good percentage, but their success has come when Punch or Helton, both with good speed have been able to get behind the defenders.”
Junior tailback Trey Rogers (6-2, 186) leads Mount Union on the ground with 214 yards and two TDs on 34 carries. Lyle Kylor (6, 195), a sophomore tailback, adds 160 yards on 24 carries.
Senior quarterback Stefan Morgan (6-2, 180) has completed 16 of 30 passes for 225 yards. Morgan has been intercepted four times and thrown two TDs. Isaiah Helton (6, 185) has eight catches for 115 yards and leads the team in scoring with 24 points on four TDs and a two-point conversion. Ralphaell Punch has four receptions for 67 yards, all in last week’s game against Mo Valley.
Mount Union has been vulnerable to the ground attack, giving up 223 yards per game rushing and 115 yards passing in their last two games. Opponents have ground out 36 first downs to just 17 for the Mount Union offense.
“Mount Union lines up in a 5-2 defensive scheme, something we are familiar with” reports Hayes. “They stunt a little bit with their inside linebackers, but usually are a wait and react type of defense.”
Senior Dan Houser leads Blue Devils runners with 239 yards on 39 carries, a 6.1 yards per carry average. Shawn Weiand has completed 20 of 35 passes for 385 yards. Weiand, a senior, has one interception and three TD passes. Junior Derrick Hoffer is the leading receiver with seven catches for 133 yards and two TDs. Houser has five receptions for 93 yards, Matt Plummer has two catches for 93 yards and one TD and Matt Sneath has five catches for 43 yards.
Houser is the leading scorer with 21 points on three TDs and three PAT kicks and Plummer and Hoffer each have two TDs and a two-point conversion for 14 points.
“We need to start running with more consistency,” said coach Hayes. We want to be able to put together sustained drives, to hammer away at teams and wear them down. We want to try to get the ball more to Danny Houser. He has a good average, but we have tried to move it around more. We have to be more authoritative. We need to be able to do that. Whether we can is the question.”

By Rick