Bellwood-Antis rolls to District 6 Class A championship over Bishop McCortWritten by: Josh Funk on Sunday, November 25th, 2012
ALTOONA, Pa. – A gold medal dangling around his neck, Bellwood-Antis senior Seth Worthing posed for a few photos with teammates and savored the moment.
“I’d played kind of conservative all year, but tonight, I played really aggressive,” Worthing said.
Worthing left Bishop McCort fit to bedeviled with an all-around performance more than worthy for a championship game stage.
Worthing registered three takeaways on defense and amassed 130 yards of total offense while Bellwood-Antis (12-1) harassed Bishop McCort’s (9-4) normally steady passing attack into an 11-of-29 night and forced five Crimson Crusher turnovers in a 54-3 mercy rule victory to claim the program’s first District 6 football championship since 2007 Saturday night at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona.
With the victory, Bellwood will face District 3 champion Delone Catholic (9-3), a 28-13 victor over Steelton-Highspire, next Friday in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal game at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
In PIAA mercy rule games, which Bellwood invoked with 10:48 left in the game, a running clock is employed in the second half when a team leads another by 35 points or more. The clock only stops for timeouts, injuries, possession changes or scoring plays. If the losing team pulls within 35 points at any point after the running clock is invoked, the mercy rule still remains in effect.
At one time, Bishop McCort had won four consecutive meetings against Bellwood, but the Blue Devils won a narrow affair last year, 11-10. Saturday night, however, the Blue Devils might as well have owned their playoff rival from Johnstown.
“They won every phase of the game,” said McCort head coach Kevin Sheridan. “They execute their schemes very well.”
Little more needed to be said. Sheridan was making his first title game appearance as a head coach and is in his second season overall. At one point in its history, the Crushers won four consecutive District 6 football championships split between the A and AA classifications.
In the frigid Mansion Park air, it was Bellwood-Antis doing the crushing.
“I don’t think you ever expect that,” veteran head coach John Hayes said of the 51-point margin of victory. “But getting off to that fast start and getting that first score always loosens you up as a team. Our defense played super all night long.”
Worthing’s spark plug of a 49-yard run highlighted Bellwood’s opening touchdown drive, and it was just the start of the night. He rushed for 82 yards on nine carries, completed two passes for 48 yards, picked off two passes and recovered a fumble.
“I’ve never had three takeaways in a game – that’s more than I’ve had in any game all season,” Worthing admitted.
“He’s made big plays all season long,” Hayes said of his senior. “Even on busted plays, he is so quick that he can use his speed to make something positive happen.”
Worthing also deflected a pass, thwarting McCort’s best drive of the evening, which ended in a 30-yard field goal by Jordan Spangler in the first quarter and cut Bellwood’s lead to 7-3. But the Blue Devils blew right down the field again, and Casey Gray scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to make it 15-3.
And the Blue Devils weren’t about to slow down.
“This is the fastest team I’ve ever had,” Hayes said. “We’re very blessed because we have kids who can run.”
Gray, Worthing, Haden DeGennaro, Jake Stapleton, Cameron Wood & company in the Bellwood backfield all contributed in a 351-yard rushing effort, and the Blue Devils’ offensive line comprised of senior Keith Shawley and juniors Kyle Maceno, Nick Torsell, Ryan Snyder and Ethan Hunter helped make it possible, controlling the line of scrimmage from the onset, helping to pave the way for 10 plays of 10 yards or longer (eight rushing) and 399 yards overall.
“They’ve improved tremendously over the whole year,” Worthing said of the Devils’ line. “Keith Shawley has made every block he’s needed to this season and he’s our leader on the line.”
Hayes, celebrating the team’s first district football championship in six years, said now a different level of goals begin for his team.
“This is special, because this is a goal that comes with some hardware to say and show that we’ve accomplished something,” Hayes said. “Now, there’s a new set of goals for us. We have either one or two weeks to go for that golden football and make memories and we don’t know what will happen, but we’ll work our tails off to get there.”
And doing so bedeviling the opposition along the way.
NOTES: Bellwood-Antis has scored 440 points in 13 games, and the program single-season record for overall team scoring is 473 points, set in 2000……Spangler’s 30-yard field goal in the first quarter was his ninth of the season, and he finished as Bishop McCort’s leading scorer, with 113 points, scoring nine touchdowns and adding 32 extra points…….Bellwood’s Worthing had two long touchdowns negated by penalties, a 92-yard interception return and an 87-yard kickoff return. But the Blue Devils never blinked or let the momentum shift from their sideline. “We’re excellent at that – we have very short-term memories on this team,” Worthing said. ……Bellwood has not advanced to the PIAA semifinals since 2006, when it faced Southern Columbia………Since Bishop McCort claimed consecutive Class A crowns in 2008 and ’09, there has not been a repeat District 6 A champion. Bishop Carroll won in 2010 and Penns Manor won in 2011, with both reaching the semifinals……..District 6 has been represented in the Class A semifinals for each of the last three seasons.
Bishop McCort 3 0 0 0 – 3
Bellwood-Antis 15 12 7 20 – 54
BA – Casey Gray 6 run (Tyler Campbell kick)
BM – FG, Jordan Spangler 30
BA – Gray 3 run (Haden DeGennaro run)
BA – Tanner Snyder 0 fumble return (pass failed)
BA – Gray 1 run (kick failed)
BA – DeGennaro 38 punt return (Campbell kick)
BA – DeGennaro 4 run (Campbell kick)
BA – Jake Stapleton 66 run (kick failed)
BA – Cameron Wood 12 run (Trenton Creppage kick)
Rushes-yds 26-86 51-351
Passing 11-29-3 2-3-0
Passing yds 126 48
Total offense 212 399
1st downs 11 17
Penalties 12-98 5-46
Turnovers 5 1
RUSHING: BM: Dustin Belskey 14-43; Wyatt Jackson 6-16; Tyler Rugg 3-23; Anthony Hutzell 4-8; Zaine Tomskowski 3-13; Nate Thompson 1-2; TEAM 1-0. BA: Casey Gray 26-103 3 TD; Seth Worthing 9-82; Haden DeGennaro 5-48 TD; Jake Stapleton 5-89 TD; Zach Mock 2-9; Tyler Campbell 2-6; Cameron Wood 1-12 TD.
PASSING: BM: Tomkowski 11-29-3-126. BA: S. Worthing 2-3-0-48.
RECEIVING: BM: Jordan Spangler 6-71; Luke DiFrancesco 3-37; TEAM 1-16*; Rugg 1-6; Ethan Neiderhiser 1-minus-1. BA: Ian O’Shea 1-38; Cameron Worthing 1-10.
* = The reception was credited to No. 29 for Bishop McCort, but no player with the jersey number 29 is listed on the team’s roster.
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