LEESVILLE - Paul Kanzigg's debut as Beallsville's head football coach went alright for a half, but homestanding Connotton Valley scored 20 third-quarter points to spoil the Blue Devils' opener, 32-14, on a sun-baked Saturday afternoon.
"Not the way I wanted it to start," Kanzigg said. "We played very well in the first half, but our lines just wore down in the second half, plus we had a couple of injuries."
The host Rockets grabbed the early lead when Jacob Hoover bulled his way into the end zone from seven yards out to cap a 3-play, 23-yard drive. Taylor Bowdish gave his team good field position when he returned an interception 62 yards to the Blue Devils' 22. The PAT was no good.
BEALLSVILLE’S Devin Lippencott is tackled by Conotton Valley’s Jeff Masters during Saturday’s game in Leesville. The Rockets upended the Blue Devils, 32-14. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Beallsville jumped on top when it drove 81 yards on nine plays. Ricky Tubaugh sprinted off left tackle from 19 yards out. Mason Campbell's placement barely made it over the crossbar, but it did as the Big Blue led 7-6 with 10:36 on the second-quarter clock.
Highlighting the drive was a 27-yard hookup between Teryn Jarrett to Mikey Palmer, as Palmer made a nifty grab and held on while crashing to the ground. A 15-yard personal foul on Conotton Valley also aided the march.
Beallsville looked to have some momentum when Bruce Siefert sacked Colton Cottis for a huge loss on second-and-7, but the Blue Devils were flagged for holding in the secondary. On the very next play, Cottis lofted the ball to Jett Masters in the right corner of the end zone, and the athletic Masters outleaped Palmer to snag the pigskin for six points. Once again, the conversion kick failed, leaving the Rockets on top, 12-7.
Tubaugh found a seam on the ensuing kickoff and rambled 71 stripes to the Rockets' 19, but a fumble two plays later snuffed out a potential scoring opportunity.
Siefert pounced on a loose ball on Conotton Valley's second snap, giving Beallsville possession at the Rockets' 24.
Three plays later, Jarrett fired a strike to the right corner of the end zone where DJ Lucas ran under it for a 28-yard scoring hookup. Campbell's PAT gave the Blue Devils a 14-12 edge they would hold at the half.
However, the Rockets came out soaring in the second half as all three of their six-pointers came from long distance.
Bowdish returned the kickoff 28 yards to the Connotton Valley 48, and after Hoover ground out a yard, Masters went untouched off right tackle, outrunning everyone for a 51-yard scoring jaunt. The two-point run failed, leaving the hosts on the good end of an 18-14 count.
Tubaugh once again gave the Blue Devils good starting position with a 59-yard kick runback to the Rockets' 25, but three incomplete passes and a loss of a yard gave the ball right back to Conotton Valley.
And the Rockets made them pay. After Masters had a 63-yard TD run wiped out on a clip, Thomas Rodriguez took a handoff from Cottis and swept left end. He sprinted down the sidelines for a 43-yard scoring play. Hoover's two-point run made it 26-14.
Cottis would complete the scoring when he found 6-8 Brandon Bailey in the right flat for a short gain. However, Bailey sidestepped a Beallsville defender and legged it into the end zone from 42 yards out.
"We thought we were in a good position going into the half," first-year Conotton Valley head coach Eric Schumacher said despite his team trailing by two points. "We just told the kids to keep on executing and that's what they did.
"The backs ran hard in the second half and the line did a good job of blocking."
Kanzigg praised the effort of Tubaugh, who finished with 205 total yards.
"He's a tough kid with a lot of heart. We had a couple of injuries and two starters that didn't dress. Our line needs a lot of work, as I said before, and it showed today."
Jarrett finished 13-of-32 for 181 yards, a touchdown and two picks. Lucas grabbed three passes for 100 yards, while Tubaugh rushed 14 times for 53 yards. Masters had 161 stripes on 10 carries. Cottis only completed two passes, but both went for touchdowns.