Cade Fortney and Dylan Deitrich are in the middle of a friendly competition.
The Bellefonte defensive backs are keeping track of who grabs the most interceptions by the end of the season. Both added to their tallies Friday night as they each had two picks to help the Red Raiders to a 35-7 win over Penns Valley.
“Every time I seem to get one,” Fortney said. “He gets one and he’s one up on me right now.”
Fortney returned one of his interceptions 85 yards for a touchdown to highlight the performance of the Bellefonte secondary. The Red Raiders (4-3) came into the night well aware of the Rams’ passing game led by quarterback Andrew Tobias, who threw for five touchdowns in a win over Bald Eagle Area and four touchdowns in a win over Philipsburg-Osceola this season. Tobias struggled Friday night, completing 13 of 28 passes for 122 yards and throwing four interceptions.
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The turnovers proved costly for the Rams (2-5).
And the passing game never got going.
“They played things really tough on us, took away some of what we like to do and a couple of the throws got away,” Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said. “If you look at the film, we had guys open and balls overthrown. Otherwise, we might have some different results.”
Andrew Tobias’ first interception set up Bellefonte’s first touchdown.
Fortney grabbed a deflected pass to give the Red Raiders the ball with 4:48 left in the second quarter.
Bellefonte quarterback Tyler Kreger connected with Tanner Helms on a 59-yard pass, and Jaiden Boone ran 27 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead.
On Penns Valley’s next drive, Deitrich hauled in an interception on a pass intended for Penns Valley receiver Jared Hurd.
Fortney wasn’t done in the first half.
He picked off a pass and went 85 yards for a touchdown to push Bellefonte ahead 14-0 at halftime.
After the interception, Fortney told Deitrich he’d probably get another one before the end of the night.
As Fortney said, every time he gets one, Deitrich seems to match him in their competition, which started earlier this season.
“The first week or two Dylan got a couple interceptions,” Fortney said. “He was just showboating about it, so I told him, I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s have a competition.’”
Penns Valley came out of the break and challenged the Red Raiders.
The Rams recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and capitalized with a four-play drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown run by Takoda Bubb, who finished with 102 yards on 24 carries.
“He’s as good as any back we’ve played this year,” Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning said.
Bubb powered Penns Valley’s next drive, picking up 30 yards on three straight carries to move his team to the 7-yard line. After a six-yard run by Ryan Ripka, the Rams tried a quarterback sneak on first-and-goal at the 1 yard-line.
Penns Valley offensive linemen signaled for a touchdown, but Tobias was stopped just short. On second-and-goal, with the Red Raiders crowding the line, the Rams botched a toss for Bubb, resulting in a four-yard loss.
“We knew they were selling out inside so we tried to go outside,” Martin Tobias said.
They lost another yard on third down before missing a 23-yard field goal attempt.
Bellefonte started to pull away after a 16-yard touchdown run by Dexter Gallishaw in the third quarter made it 21-7.
Fortney, who also finished with five catches for 105 yards, hauled in a touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, and Gallishaw added another touchdown run to finish the scoring.
Penns Valley put together one more drive, but Deitrich ended it with his second interception with 3:03 to play.
Fortney was impressed by his teammate’s pair of interceptions.
“I was actually surprised,” Fortney said. “He made some really good catches today.”