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BEA keeps playoff hopes alive with win over Bellefonte

Written by: on Saturday, November 1st, 2008

WINGATE – Catch the ball.
That was the one thing A.J. Robinson was thinking as he saw the pigskin zipping through the air toward him late in Bald Eagle Area’s game against rival Bellefonte.
It was third-and-17, the Eagles were down 9-7, and they needed a big play to keep them in the game.
Robinson stretched out his arms, pulled the ball in and ran for all he had toward the end zone.
He made it to the 7-yard line, and the Eagles gave the ball to Stevie Eisenhuth who ran it in for the game-winner as BEA defeated Bellefonte 13-9 Friday night in Wingate.
“He threw a great ball,” Robinson said of Derek Noll’s pass. “We talked about it in the huddle. I called a hot rod out there, and he picked it up. If he wouldn’t have thrown a great ball, it wouldn’t have been there.
“It feels great. We’re looking at a playoff berth, and that was our goal coming in to this season. It’s a tremendous feeling. It’s indescribable, really. You have both teams with an even record, and it’s the biggest
game of the year. You might as well just be undefeated and throw the records out and just play football.”
That’s just what both teams did for 48 minutes.
After losing starting quarterback Kode Plank on its first series of the game, Bellefonte regrouped and drove 59 yards on 10 plays with backup Zach Tressler handing off the ball. The Red Raiders made it to the BEA 6, and Bryant James punched it in from 6 yards out for the score.
It was a battle of defenses after that, as the Red Raiders (4-6) held a slim, 6-0 lead entering the break.
Bald Eagle (4-6) was in Bellefonte’s red zone twice in the second stanza, and both times it was shut down. The Eagles made it 67 yards to the Red Raider 12, and were given a second chance on a fourth-down play as a facemask penalty was called. That put BEA on the 6, but a sack by James ended the drive.
Later in the half, the Eagles made it to the Bellefonte 5 with three ticks left on the clock, but a pass play was broken up as the quarter ended.
“The defense was amazing,” Bellefonte head coach Zac Wynkoop said. “Our starting quarterback went down, and anytime that happens, that’s tough. Zach Tressler, our backup, did an outstanding job. We had to
manage the game based on what his strengths were. At the end there, we kind of knew we had to throw the ball, and that limits you to what you can do. Zach did an outstanding job. I’m extremely proud of him and all of the seniors that stepped up.
“I’m just so proud of my kids. They just never gave up even though we had a lot of injuries. That’s by no means an excuse, I just mean I had a lot of kids that stepped up and have never been put in that position before. You definitely have to hand it to Bald Eagle. They played a great game and kept their heads up the whole time and kept digging and digging. They got that big play there from A.J. Robinson. They deserve it. They played a great game.”
While Bald Eagle couldn’t capitalize on two fumble recoveries in the first half, the Eagles did find paydirt to start the third quarter.
Starting from the Bellefonte 36, BEA drove down the field on 12 plays, picking up three first downs along the way. On fourth-and-14, Noll was being chased by red jerseys and was forced to rush from the pocket. The athletic junior raced toward the goal line and jumped over a group of players for the score.
“Whenever you get the chance to recover a fumble and stop the drive, that’s big. That’s football,” BEA head coach Jack Tobias said. “The kids did a phenomenal job. They could have quit so many times this year and
didn’t. We lost six games in a row, and they came back to practice every day and got better and better. In the end, we came out on top.
“I said all week that we were two pretty well matched teams. It was just a great game. It was an emotional game that was up and down. I have to take my hats off to them in the first half. We were down in the red zone and they didn’t give up points. They did a phenomenal job. The second half, I told the kids that we had to finish drives and get in there and convert. They came up big.”
Bellefonte caught a break on a 26-yard field goal attempt to start the fourth quarter. A whistle was blown right before the play went off, and James missed the kick. The Eagles thought they still had a 7-6 lead, but after it was explained what happened, Bellefonte got a rekick, and this time, James made it to put the Red Raiders on top, 9-7.
“I called a time out, and the whistle was blown. That’s the rule,” Wynkoop said. “If the whistle is blown, even if it’s an inadvertent whistle, the play is stopped. The refs did a great job of getting together and made the right call. Obviously, we got a second chance and it turned into a good play for us.”
Bald Eagle fumbled on the ensuing drive, but Bellefonte went three-and-out to set up the Eagles’ winning drive down the field.
“The bad thing was that it was a screwed up play to start with that went the wrong way,” Tobias said. “Sometimes when things don’t go your way and you don’t plan them, they go good. That time it worked out for us down the middle of the field. He went the wrong direction but luckily (Noll) saw him wide open and hit him in the middle of the field to put us in scoring position. Then we jumped into our power set and ran Stevie Eisenhuth right up the middle for the touchdown. It was just huge.”

BEL  6-0-0-3 – 9
BEA 0-0-7-6 – 13
Scoring Summary
First Half
BEL – Bryant James 6 run (pass failed), 4:43
Third Quarter
BEA – Derek Noll 14 run (Noll kick), 6:53
Fourth Quarter
BEL – James 26 field goal, 10:13
BEA – Stevie Eisenhuth 7 run (pass failed), 2:20

Team Statistics
First Downs 14 9
Rushes-Yards         38-135 35-122
Yards Passing 130 39
Total Offense 265 161
Passing 7-20 2-11
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-2

Individual Statistics
RUSHING: BEL, Kode Plank 2-9; Bryant James 15-69; Ian Musser 4-25;
Zach Tressler 7-4; Ty Warner 7-15. BEA, John Decker 2-9; A.J. Robinson
24-81; Jon Gingrich 6-22; Stevie Eisenhuth 2-6; Derek Noll 4-17.
PASSING: BEL, Plank 1-3-9-0-1; Tressler 1-8-30-0-0. BEA, Noll
RECEIVING: BEL, John Wagner 1-9; David Radziak 1-30. BEA, Justin
Kleczek 1-12; Robinson 4-105; Gingrich 1-5; Donnie Burns 1-8.
INTERCEPTIONS: BEL, David Florey. BEA, Kleczek.
RECORDS: BEL 4-6; BEA 4-6.

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