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Bellefonte wins the Curtin Bowl; tops BEA 38-0

By Kenny Varner

WINGATE – Another one in the books.

Friday night, the battle that most of Centre County had circled on their calendars since day one, the Bellefonte/Bald Eagle Area football contest.

With both teams heading to the post season and sporting identical records, it looked like the game would add yet another chapter to this distinguished rivalry.

With Red Raiders’ running back CJ Funk leading the way on offense for Bellefonte the game looked to be very worthy of its Televised Prime time slot.

But with numerous starters out for Bald Eagle, this year’s Curtin Bowl went to Bellefonte as it defeated Bald Eagle Area in a “38-0 “mercy rule” victory.

“Our preparation this week was to play the kids we saw on film and and that’s how we prepared all week long because the expectation was they weren’t going to start their starters or some of their starters but that could be very fluid so if I got information tonight that that wasn’t going to happen. I had to be prepared for that,” said Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning. “To be honest with you that’s what we were prepared for.”

The Red Raider defense dominated in the first half, holding the Bald Eagle to negative rushing yardage.

Bellefonte’s ground game led by Funk who had 60 yards rushing in the Red Raiders 162 yards total on the ground.

For the game the defense allowed only 14 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Ethan Rossman went 6-for-8 with one interception and 55 yards.

Bald Eagle got the ball and was forced to punt, giving the ball to the Red Raiders.

“We talked last week and we lost a couple starters with the Jersey Shore game and we talked as a staff to give the kids three different options.option number one was to rest anyone who was banged up. Rest them all and play everyone else. Option two was to play everyone even the ones that were banged up or option three, rest all the starters,” said Bald Eagle Coach Jesse Nagle. “I let it up to the kids. They discussed it as a team. They came and got us. We weren’t even in the room. And they decided to rest all the starters because their main goal is to win a District title. A district title and possible state run. We knew if we got another guy banged up or hurt that would jeopardize that.”

CJ Funk cashed in a 7-yard run putting his team up 6-0 as the kick failed.

Bellefonte was successful on its second possession of the game as the Red Raiders on an 8-play drive culminating in a 1-yard TD run by Rossman, upping it to a 13-0 advantage.

Bald Eagle had the forced the first turnover as Zeb Fry intercepted the ball.

However, on the second play from scrimmage after that Bald Eagle quarterback Garrett Burns threw an interception, giving the ball back to Bellefonte.

Trae Bauman took the interception and ran it a 52-yard Interception for a touchdown, giving Bellefonte a 20-0 second quarter advantage.

The Red Raiders scored one last time in the half as Funk broke free for a 15-yard touch down jaunt, ending the first half scoring at 27-0.

Before the half, the Bald Eagle defense stood tall and recovered a fumble in the end zone as it looked like the Red Raiders would score again.

Funk started the third where he left off, scoring on a 20-yard run. With the 2-point conversion, Bellefonte led 35-0 as the mercy rule began

The third quarter also belonged to the Red  Raiders ended the period with a Dan Persiko 32-yard field goal.

Despite having his younger group in for the entire game, Nagle was pleased with the way his squad battled and even found some gems in the loss.

“We said all week they are very young coming in but I was very very confident coming in that they were going to give everything they got,” said Nagle. “I was so proud of them. Before we threw that interception we had them third down and long numerous times. That’s a very good football team so. I was super proud of our effort tonight. A lot of great reps. We found a few gems that we didn’t know that would step up on Friday night like that. We are confident that some are going to be in the game. So real excited on what they did tonight.”

Both teams go into the District 6 post season as number one seeds and will play against a team to be mentioned at a later date.

For Bellefonte it was a very lucrative night as not only did the capture the Curtain Bowl trophy but it captured a tie for the Mountain League title and a first seed in the post season.

Both teams will play this upcoming Friday.

Bellefonte 38, Bald Eagle Area 0

BEL 13 14 11 0 – 38

BEA  0   0   0 0 –  0


First Quarter

BEL – CJ Funk 7-yard run (kick failed), 7:10.

BEL – Ethan Rossman 1-yard run (Dan Persiko kick), 2:53.

Second Quarter

BEL – Trae Bauman 52-yard TD interception (Persiko kick), 10:45.

BEL – Funk 15-yard TD run (Persiko kick), 5:41.

Third Quarter

BEL – Funk 20-yard TD run (2-point conversion), 10:54.

BEL – Persiko 32-yard field goal, 5:54.

Team statists        BEL   BEA

First downs           18        2

Rushes-Yards  32-227 26-(-5)

Passing -yards   91       19

C-A-I                    8-10-1 4-7-3

Fumbles               1-1     0-0

Penalties -yards 2-20 1-10


Rushing: B – CJ Funk 9-96, Nick Capparelle 2-36, Ethan Rossman 3-15, JJ Saunders 6-46, Logan Houser 4-25, Nicholas Way 4-2, Ryan Fitzgerald 4-17. BEA –  Hayden Vaughn 6-4, Devin Zimmerman 3-(-1), Garrett Burns 16(-5), Max Yetsko 1-(-3).

Passing: B – Rossman 6-8-65-1, Way 2-2-26-0. BEA – Garrett Burns 4-7-19-3.

Receiving: B- Funk 1-(-1), Trae Bauman 1-30, Jalen Emel 1-3, Mason Grey 1-6, Chris Palosky 1-5, Ryan Lehman 1-22, Ryan Fitzgerald 1-16, Aaron Little 1-10. BEA – Vaughn 1-13, Zimmerman 1-4, Ethan Koleno 2-2.

Interceptions:  B – Bauman, Nick Catalano, Dylan Dann. BEA -Zeb Fry.

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