Tyler Kreger pondered the question and couldn’t come up with an answer: which meant more, the ring he had just received for being part of the Bellefonte’s PIAA championship baseball team or the figurative piece of the Curtin Bowl he had just helped Bellefonte win.
“I’d say they’re probably both equal,” he said after helping Bellefonte to a 35-0 victory over Bald Eagle Area. “Playing in a great rivalry like this, you can’t get much better than that.”
You can’t ask for a much better performance than the senior quarterback turned in as he had a hand in all five Red Raider touchdowns, throwing for three of them and running for the other two. For the night he completed nine of 15 passes for 213 yards and ran 12 times for 68 yards in dominant Raider win.
“He stepped up big for us,” said Raider coach Shanon Manning. “He’s such a great kid. He’s a leader.’’
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A winner too.
On Bellefonte’s second possession, Kreger led the Raiders on a 72-yard drive, contributing a 35-yard run in the march. Once the Raiders reached BEA’s 19, he found Gaven Danneker all alone in the end zone for a touchdown. Chris Persiko made it 7-0 with 6:14 left in the quarter.
“Sometimes you miss a guy who’s that wide open,” Kreger said. “I just wanted to put it up high for him because we needed to put points on the board.”
“That’s like shooting fish in a barrel,” Manning said. “Sometimes you can miss the whole barrel.”
On BEA’s next possession Bellefonte’s Dylan Deitrich picked off a Tanner Kresovich pass on the BEA 38. Six plays later, Kreger scored from 13 yards out and Persiko made it 14-0 with 3:10 showing on the clock.
“That’s the worst thing that could happen,” said BEA coach Jesse Nagle. “You’re playing in a game like this where there’s so much emotion. That deflated us.”
Another Bellefonte interception set up the Raiders’ third score. Starting on their own 22, it only took two plays to get Bellefonte in scoring position as Kreger hooked up with Cade Fortney for 76 yards, putting the ball on the BEA 2. Kreger took it in from there and then ran for the two-point conversion.
Bellefonte recovered the onsides kick and drove 52 yards for the score as Kreger found Tanner Helms for an 18-yard score and Persiko made it 29-0 with 4:03 left in the half.
The Raiders scored on their first possession of the third quarter as Kreger found Fortney alone in the end zone again, this time from 22 yards out. The PAT kick was no good. Fortney was Kreger’s favorite target for the night, catching seven passes for 166 yards and three scores.
The Raider defense throttled the Eagles, limiting them to 103 yards in total offense. But it was Kreger’s night.
“He’s good,’’ said BEA coach Jesse Nagle of Kreger. “I’m glad he’s going to be gone. He took it to us.’’
Manning said the Raiders had planned to go to their short passing game against the Eagles.
“They’re a very aggressive defense so we thought the play-action might be there,” he said.
With the win, the Raiders are hoping for a berth in the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs, which start next week. But Friday night, they were celebrating the Curtin Bowl victory and their continued dominance against Centre County teams.
“These seniors have not lost a game to a Centre County team,” Manning said. “We’re proud of that.”