Friday night’s rendition of the Curtin Bowl was over before it started. The Bald Eagle Area Eagles played without most of their starters from the opening kickoff, and fell to the Bellefonte Red Raiders, 38-0. Bald Eagle head coach Jesse Nagle said the decision was made by his players on how to handle the game with no playoff implications on the line.
“We talked to the staff and gave the kids three different options,” Nagle said. “Option No. 1 was to rest anyone that was banged up. Option No. 2 was to play everybody. Option No. 3 was to rest all of the starters, and I left it up to the kids. They discussed it as a team and we weren’t even in the room. They came and got us and decided to rest all of the starters because their main goal is to win a district title and possibly make a state title run.”
With the Eagles’ starters on the bench, Bellefonte got off to a hot start. The Red Raiders got on the board with a touchdown run by senior running back C.J. Funk with 7:10 left in the first quarter. Funk, the school’s all-time leading rusher, found the edge of the Bald Eagle defense and waltzed in from seven yards out to give Bellefonte a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.
The Red Raiders marched down the field on their next drive, punctuating it with a 1-yard touchdown by Ethan Rossman on a quarterback sneak, giving them a 13-0 lead with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
Bellefonte’s third touchdown of the game came from its defense when senior cornerback Trae Bauman intercepted Garrett Burns and ran it back 55 yards for a touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 20-0 lead. They closed out the first half scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run by Funk with 5:41 left in the half.
The school’s all-time leading rusher would score one more time, with 10:54 left in the third quarter, from 20 yards out, before he was pulled from the game after converting the 2-point attempt. The 2-point conversion enacted the mercy rule in the game and began the running clock for the final two quarters.
The Red Raiders would convert for three points exactly five minutes after Funk’s final touchdown of the game when kicker Daniel Persiko hit from 31 yards out.
The win locked up the No. 1 seed for Bellefonte in District 6 Class 4A when the playoffs begin next week.
Bellefonte head coach Shanon Manning said locking up the No. 1 seed means a lot to his team. Manning also said he felt his team was rusty after not playing last week due to a forfeit by Bishop Carroll.
“It took a little bit to knock the rust off,” Manning said. “When you miss a week it’s tough. It took some of our sharpness away.”
Bald Eagle will also be the No. 1 seed in District 6, but in Class 3A, when the playoffs begin next week.
BELLEFONTE 38, BALD EAGLE AREA 0
(Friday at Wingate)
Bellefonte 13 14 11 0 – 38
Bald Eagle 0 0 0 0 – 0
B - Funk 7 run (PAT missed), 7:10
B - Rossman 1 run (Persiko kick), 2:53
B - Bauman 55 interception return (Persiko kick), 10:45
B - Funk 15 run (Persiko kick), 5:41
B - Funk 20 run (Funk run), 10:54
B - Persiko 31 kick, 5:54
Top Rusher: B: Funk 10-118-3. BEA: Hayden Vaughn 4-5.
Top Passer: B: Rossman 6-9-0-1 58. BEA: Burns 4-9-0-2 16.
Top Receiver: B: Bauman 1-30. BEA: Vaughn 1-11
Interceptions: B: Bauman, Nick Catalano, Dylan Dann, Brandon Wheary. BEA: Zeb Fry.