Bellwood-Antis wins thriller in 2nd overtime 33-26
It was 81 yards that stood between Bellwo0d-Antis going home to unpack for the year or heading to the next round. “It was do or die.” That’s what Blue Devil coach John Hayes said about what Bellwood-Antis fans could very well call “the drive” from this day forward. And with just under three minutes left in the game and trailing by 8, Casey Gray did what he’s done all year. He ran through a defense that had stymied him the entire second half. “Our team never gives up,” he said. “We saw that there were two minutes left. We knew we could drive down the field. We knew we could do it.” said Gray. And with 34 seconds left, Haden Dengennaro plunged in from the one. Seth Worthington then performed a beautiful play fake at the line, stepped back and hit a wide open Ian O’Shea to tie the score at 20 forcing overtime. “I delayed to make it look as if I was blocking, then I shot out to the outside,” O’Shea said. “We work on that play a lot. It’s one our main two-point conversion plays” said O’Shea.
Bellwood started the scoring in the contest after the opening kickoff. Gray ran 8 times for 45 yards in the drive. The Blue Devils were aided by 3 offside penalties. Gray would cap the drive with a 5 yard td run. The point after was blocked and Bellewood led 6-0. Bellewood again scored in the second quarter on a 13 yard run from Degennaro. Again the pat failed and the score stood at 12-0.
Delone Catholics offensive line then took over. Behind punishing runs from halfback Lance Reneker and fullback Matt Guiffreda, the Squires drove 78 yards. Guiffreda would score from 5 yards out and the point after made the score 12-7 at the break.
The Squires started the second half where they left off in the second quarter, punishing the Blue Devil defensive line. “They pushed us down the field. That hasn’t happened to us in a while. Their diversity kept us guessing” said Coach Hayes. Following 2 running plays, Squire quarterback Brett Smith hit Reneker on a deep post route for a 21 yard gain to the 48 of Bellwood-Antis. Guiffreda scored from 5 yards out to make it a 13-12 game with 7:58 to go in the third period. Delone coach Steve Miles then made a decision to make it a 3 point game. The run for 2 failed. “We just did what I thought anyone would do, try to make it a three point game”.
On the next possession the Blue Devils looked like they were refreshed and ready to run driving to the Squire 30, but on 2nd and 5 Worthing threw an ill fated pass. Brett Smith dashed in front of the receiver and returned the interception 59 yards. A one yard td run from Reneker and Delone Catholic took command 20-12.
“I didn’t have much hope in the fourth quarter.” said O’Shea. Indeed it was looking bleak for the Blue Devils. Delone Catholic drove to the Blue Devil 20 but on 3rd and short the Blue Devil defense got a key sack from their line. The next play was a huge momentum changer for Bellwood-Antis. Keith Shawley’s block of a 33-yard field goal attempt by sophomore Jay Strickland and Cameron Worthing’s 58-yard return to the Delone 20. The Squires would hold and take over on downs but the Blue Devils now had hope and confidence that got them the game tying score. “We had a chance after the blocked field goal, but we didn’t succeed. Then we got another chance and we got great running from Gray and DeGennaro and great blocking on the drive. All the things you work on in practice, we performed close to perfection” said Hayes of his teams effort.
Bellwood won the coin toss in overtime and went on defense first. Quarterback Brett Smith threw a 10-yard, first-down scoring pass to diving senior tight end Austin Noel in the deep right corner of the end zone. Shawley blocked Strickland’s conversion kick which would be key. Gray, who had 128 yards on 25 carries, scored from the one. Tyler Campbell’s kick went wide left and the score was tied at 26. In the second OT the Blue Devils had the first strike with Gray dashing 10 yards straight up the middle on first down. Campbell didn’t miss this time, getting the point after and giving his team a 7 point lead. On second down Guiffreda, who had been stellar on the night, hit the line and the ball popped loose. Nick Torsell pounced on the ball and the celebration began. “The ball just got loose, and I jumped on it” Torsell said. “There was no way I was going to let it go. ”It feels phenomenal. There are only a couple teams left at this point of the season. It’s all about the will to win right now.”
“Last week was a district championship. This felt like a Super Bowl,” said Devil senior fullback/linebacker Tyler Campbell.
Bellwood-Antis will face district 2 champion Dunmore, a 34-12 winner over Bristol, at Central Mountain High School Friday.
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