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Bellefonte drops close contest to Bearcats


By Kenny Varner

HUNTINGDON – Turnover proved costly for the Red Raiders Friday night battle with Huntingdon at War Vets field in Huntingdon.

Both teams were looking redemption after week one losses.

It would be a game that wouldn’t be decided into the final quarter with the Bearcats holding onto a 28-20 victory.

“I don’t want to take anything away from a moral victory but as a program we are very close to getting over the hump. We just got to keep moving forward. As a head coach I got to do a good job and keep things going in the right direction. That’s my responsibility and I will continue to do that,” Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning said. “ I will show up Monday and have a great attitude and we will get the win next week. That is how we are going to get things started.”

After an intense battle on the gridiron, the night belonged to the Huntingdon ground game as they picked rushed for a total of 322 yards on the ground. Leading the attack was John Wagner who rushed for a game high 182 yards.

Bellefonte’s running attack was almost as equally potent as the Red Raiders grinded out 300 yards on the ground.

Austin Jackson and Dillon Kephart led the way, finishing with performances of 142-and 98-yards rushing, respectively.

In the final quarter, the Red Raiders found themselves trailing 22-7.

Bellefonte was not deterred picking up its first score of the second half early in the fourth.

It took just three plays for Austin Jackson to bust out and headed down the sidelines and score on a 80-yard run. With a successful PAT by Matt Feldman, the Red Raiders cut the lead to eight points, 22-14 with 7:08 left.

However, the Bearcats refused to give up the lead. With the Bearcat offense rolling, Huntingdon’s ground game went chugging along once again.

The Bearcats culminated a 7-play drive when Jacob Oliver muscled his way in from yard out, extending the lead once again.

On the following kick off, Jackson found himself back in the end zone once again. While following his blockers for most of the way, Jackson turned on the jets late for an 80-yard kick off return.

Defensively, the Red Raiders were able to hold the Bearcats one last time, giving them the ball with 33 seconds left.

However, Bellefonte’s attempt came up just short when quarterback Mark Armstrong was sacked to end the game.

“They never quit,” Manning said. “These kids just never quit!”

Huntingdon got on the board first in the contest when Wagner busted his way through the line and then continued to roll for a 74-yard scamper.

After a 37- yard Huntingdon field goal by Kodiak Heaton, the Red Raiders got onto the board after trailing 10-0.

It would be a north/south running style that carried the Red Raiders down the field to the Bearcats one.

On its 12th play of the drive, Dillon Kephart pushed his way in from one yard out, cutting the lead to just three after a successful PAT.

But unfortunately for the visitors, Huntingdon got the last laugh in the half.

While driving in the final seconds of the second quarter, Austin Speck picked off a Nicholas Jabco offering and ran all the way back for the 65-yard touchdown interception.

Bellefonte will be back in action next Friday as it hosts Philipsburg Oscoela at 7 p.m.

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