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.
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.’’