As a wide receiver, Bellefonte’s Dylan Deitrich has turned into a pretty good quarterback.
Deitrich was forced into the quarterback role when starter Nick Paloskey was injured after Week 1. Friday night against Philipsburg-Osceola in the annual Luther Trophy game, Deitrich threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Raiders rolled to a 42-8 mercy rule win over the Mounties.
“He’s only been a quarterback since last Wednesday (Aug. 30),” said Raider coach Shanon Manning. “We’ve kept things simple as we’ve tried to get him up to speed.”
Deitrich’s favorite target Friday night was his former wide receiver partner Cade Fortney. The two combined for six completions for 102 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders got out to a 21-0 lead at the half.
“I wish I could do both,” Deitrich replied when asked which of the two roles he liked better. “Cade and I threw the ball to each other during wide receiver drills.”
The Raiders got their first score on the ground at the 4:41 mark of the first quarter when Dexter Gallishaw scored from 23 yards out and Chris Persiko kicked the first of his six PATs.
After P-O’s Bubba Slogosky threw the second of his three interceptions in the game, Bellefonte put the ball in play at the P-O 33, and two plays later Deitrich and Fortney connected for a 30-yard score.
They hooked up again with 51 seconds left in the first half when Fortney outjumped his defender in the front corner of the end zone.
“I always try to time it and high-point the ball,’’ Fortney said.
Added Deitrich: “He’s the best wide receiver in the conference. He can beat anyone one-on-one. If everyone else is covered I always look for Cade.”
P-O committed four turnovers in the first half (three interceptions and a fumble) to put itself in a canyon-sized hole.
“Our kids held it together for most of the first half,” Mounties coach Mike Mann said. “It was 7-0 for a long time. But once Bellefonte scored the 20th point we got down. Those four turnovers were bad.”
The Raiders recovered an onside kick to start the second half and on the first snap from P-O’s 37, Deitrich broke over the right side, cut to the sideline and outran the pursuit for the score. On its next possession, Bellefonte scored again when Deitrich found Fortney for a 29-yard score that put the mercy rule into effect with 7:24 showing on the clock.
“We saw them against Huntingdon and they did a lot of running so we weren’t expecting that passing game,” Mann said. “We had some breakdowns in coverage.’’
Gallishaw, who ran for 119 yards, scored from the 17-yard line for Bellefonte’s final score with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
P-O got its lone touchdown deep in the fourth quarter when Brandon Anderson scored from a yard out. Slogosky then bobbled the snap on the PAT try and threw to TJ Thompson for the two-point conversion with 3:18 left in the game.
The win was satisfying for the Raiders after last week’s loss to Huntingdon.
“I’ll never take a win for granted,” Manning said. “We’ve been keeping the offense pretty vanilla because we have some depth issues due to injuries. This was a big win because we got a chance to get a lot of young guys into the game in the third and four quarters. We still have some things we’ve got to get settled.”