The Bellefonte football team was all but unstoppable Friday night.
The Clearfield Bison were left flattened.
The three-headed monster of Dylan Deitrich, Dexter Gallishaw and CJ Funk each rushed for more than 100 yards to help Bellefonte thump Clearfield 62-21 in the District 6 Class 4A semifinals at Rogers Stadium.
“I felt throughout the whole game like we had control,” Deitrich said. “Whether we just came off a touchdown on defense or whatever, I knew our offense is explosive enough to come out and score the next drive no matter what.”
The decisive victory sends the Red Raiders (9-2) to the district championship game next weekend against Johnstown, a 35-13 winner over Bradford, at a site and time to be determined. Bellefonte will be seeking its first district title since 1999.
In all, the Raiders rolled up 535 yards of offense, with 410 on the ground. Deitrich accounted for 131 of those yards with a pair of touchdowns on the ground on runs of five and 17 yards. He had two more through the air — eight- and 47-yard strikes to Stephen Kutches — and was 5 of 8 for 125 yards passing.
Funk added 121 yards on just seven carries, scoring from the 21 and 27, and Gallishaw posted 120 yards with an 11-yard touchdown run. In all, the Raider ground attack succeeded at 9.1 yards per carry.
“It felt great,” Deitrich said. “For us to be able to run the ball right up the middle like that was unbelievable. I don’t think we’ve ever done that before. I mean, you’ve got to credit the line, obviously. There were some very big holes there.”
In late September, when the Mountain League foes battled on the same Rogers Stadium grass, Bellefonte delivered a 55-28 knockout to a team that had long been among the most consistent in central Pennsylvania. It would figure a district playoff game would be a tighter battle.
“I remember last time we played them, I was just standing here, smiling,” Cade Fortney said. “Looking at the scoreboard (last time), unbelievable how much we scored on them. We did even better today. I’m just proud of my whole team.”
Fortney capped the stunning victory with the final score of the night: a 64-yard interception return, weaving through traffic to get to the end zone.
“Once I caught it, I’m like, ‘I’m going to return this one,’” Fortney said. “I missed two interceptions earlier in the game. I gotta take this one back.”
It was the second pick of the night for the Raider defense, with Nicholas Paloskey also taking away an Isaac Rumery pass, with a 38-yard return setting up a Colton Burd nine-yard score in the fourth.
The interceptions were part of a defensive effort after halftime that was almost as impressive as the offense, holding the Bison to 121 yards in the second half.
Rumery finished 15 for 30 for 201 yards and a touchdown through the air and another on the ground.
His biggest strike came early in the second quarter. Pinned deep on third-and-13 at his own 10, Rumery rolled to his right, nearly slipped down in the end zone, then found Taye Lynch alone at the 47, with the receiver racing the rest of the way for a 90-yard score.
The Bison added a score with eight seconds left before halftime as Rumery bulled in from a yard out on fourth down.
Clearfield could have had the momentum with the late score and the ball to open the third quarter, but the Bison had three-and-out possessions on their first two second-half drives, while Bellefonte responded with two scores after each defensive stop.
“We knew they were getting the ball so the defense had to come up with a big stop,” Deitrich said. “We had to figure out how to do that, what we were going to do to come up with that stop. I think we executed very well.”
Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning knew a few minor adjustments to his defense, coupled with his explosive offense, would deliver the win Friday.
“There were some things we just had to change as far as our base reads out of a couple different formations,” Manning said. “And to be honest, our pass rush was better.”