WINGATE — A mini Bronx cheer went up from the Bald Eagle Area faithful as the home team took more than 15 minutes to notch its initial first down of the football season.
The Eagles wouldnt hear the grumbling again.
Minus one play before the half, Bald Eagle Area would score on its Bellefonte 17 next six possessions as the Eagles racked up 434 yards of offense in a 42-17 victory Friday at Alumni Stadium in the first of two clashes with rival Bellefonte.
Everybody knows if we get a first down here and there, like, Hey, were playing with these guys and we can just pound on them, said BEA quarterback Cole Long, who threw for two scores and rushed for another in the triumph. We know it.
The natives certainly were restless as the Red Raiders controlled the ball nearly all of the first quarter. Sophomore quarterback Phil Fenstermacker, pressed into duty for injured starter Jordan Fye, led the Red Raiders deep into BEA territory three times in the early stages.
Bellefonte did get a 27-yard field goal from Tyler Rhoades on one of those possessions, but BEA blocked a field goal and picked off a pass to minimize the damage before its offense finally jumped into gear.
Nate Sharkey helped get the BEA offense going carrying it four times and catching two passes in an 11-play, 77-yard march. Sharkey went the final 13 yards on a counter play and Tyler Schalls first of six extra points gave the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 3:47 left in the half.
We told everybody, Weve got to step it up. Its time, said Sharkey, who rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries. We just started going from there.
Things started to snowball, BEA coach Jack Tobias said. Once we got the first touchdown, I think the doubt went out of our guys minds. ... It comes down to execution. I keep telling the guys, Take care of the little things. Take care of your responsibility and big things will happen.
BEA, set up by an interception from Dakota Bartley, would tack on another quick score. Long was 3-for-3 for 55 yards in a drive which culminated with a 21-yard flip to Dion Barnard in the back right corner of the end zone with 1:03 left in the half.
I think I got lucky, admitted Long, who said a Bellefonte defender was in position to pick off the pass. I just elevated up through it. (Barnard) was right there. It was planned all along.
Bellefonte wasnt done scoring, either. Fenstermacker raced 28 yards on a scramble to set up his 24-yard touchdown toss to Chandler Ross just 12 seconds before the half. Jordan Kobularcik blocked the extra point to make the score 14-9 at the break.
BEA put the game away in the third quarter. Long had a 25-yard run and Sharkey added an 18-yarder in a 61-yard march to open the quarter. Long, facing a fierce rush, tossed a five-yard jump pass to Sharkey to make it 21-9.
Bellefonte then fumbled on its first play from scrimmage and the Eagles needed just two plays, a 21-yard run from Sharkey and 10-yard TD run from Bartley to push the lead to 28-9.
I challenged them to come out and dominate the third quarter and thats exactly what they did, Tobias said.
Longs one-yard sneak and a 12-yard TD run from Mitchell Struble (set up by a 67-yard run from Barnard) closed out the BEA scoring in the final quarter and pushed the lead to 42-9.
Bellefontes only scorein the second half came on Nunu Bueys 84-yard kickoff return and a two-point conversion toss from Fenstermacker to Doylan Deitrich.
Long finished 9-of-13 for 108 yards and rushed for 61 yards.
Our line did a great job protecting me and even when it broke down, they put the guys to the outside and there were wide open running lanes., Long said. They did a great job.
With 114 yards on nine carries, Barnard led a rushing attack that amassed 326 yards on 49 carries.
Buey paced the Red Raiders with 82 yards on 10 carries. Fenstermacker was 8-for-24 for 112 yards and three interceptions.
We werent able to come out in the second half and play the way we needed to play, Bellefonte coach Duffy Besch said. Its a tough one to swallow, but well come back on Monday and go back at it again.
Bellefonte travels to Huntingdon next Friday, while Bald Eagle Area travels to Philipsburg-Osceola.