A punishing season came to an end for Philipsburg-Osceola Friday night as Bellwood-Antis administered a crushing 63-3 loss on Senior night. The loss sentenced the Mounties to an 0-10 season.
But amid the rubble of the season P-O coach Mike Soyster saw one glowing ember that provides hope for next year.
“Last year I watched these guys, went to a game, and I saw them hanging their heads,” he said. “One thing about these kids, they didn’t hang their heads.”
Against a strong team like the Blue Devils it would have been easy enough to do as they jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and rolled down hill from there.
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Bellwood drove 80 yards in seven plays the first time it touched the football, getting the game’s first touchdown on a three-yard run by Cameron Wood at 9:06. Trenton Creppage’s kick made it 7-0.
The Blue Devils’ next two touchdowns came from their defense as Jake McCaulley scooped up a Jake Anderson fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
The next time P-O had possession McCaulley struck again, this time intercepting an Anderson pass and running it back 41 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 left in the quarter. Creppage made it 20-0.
Bellwood-Antis scored twice in the second quarter as Matt McMillan scored from 13 yards out with 7:48 left in the half and again with :21 left when Zach Mock went in from the six to make it 33-0. Randy Zitterbart caught Jake Burch’s pass for the two-point conversion, which set the Mercy Rule in motion for the second half.
On P-O’s second snap of the second half, Burch picked off an Anderson pass that was tipped and returned it 17 yards for a score.
The Blue Devils added two more scores in the quarter as Burch hooked up with Ethan McGee for a 31-yard score and reserve Duke Brunner scored from four yards out with 2:42 to go.
In the final quarter, P-O’s Aaron Boumerhi kicked a 29-yard field goal and Bellwood’s Sawyer Kline scored from the 1 with 4:05 left to set the final score.
“That’s a great football program,’’ Soyster said of the Blue Devils. “It’s wired. They get kids going through the system, weight-training, lifting all year around. That’s a football program and that’s the direction we need to go.
“Numbers create competition and completion leads to success. The key to building a program is to get 40, 50 kids who are training all year around. We have a good junior class. We’re a work in progress.’’