The adage that all good things must end sooner or later came into play Saturday. Unfortunately for Bellaire, the good ended in a bad way.
The Big Reds were sailing along at 4-0 until visiting Indian Creek brought the hosts back to reality on a beautiful fall afternoon at Nelson Field.
The Redskins, 48-6 losers to St. Clairsville a week earlier, used dominating performances from their offensive and defensive lines in rolling to a 28-0 Buckeye 8 whitewashing. The shutout was the second straight for the Jefferson Countians against the Big Reds. They posted a 21-0 victory a year ago.
BELLAIRE QUARTERBACK Spencer Badia stands in the pocket as Indian Creek’s Montel McClelland comes off the end to apply pressure during the second half of Saturday’s game at Nelson?Field. Badia passed for 249 yards, but was picked off twice in the Big Reds’ 28-0 setback. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
INDIAN CREEK’S Logan Woods breaks into the secondary as Bellaire’s Nick Patrone lunges to attempt to bring him down during the first half of Saturday’s game.
"We got beat in every phase of the game today," Bellaire head coach Jose Davis admitted. "We had several missed opportunities, and, against teams like Indian Creek, you can't afford to do those things."
Bellaire, which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the Division V, Region 17 computer poll and 10th in the Associated Press Poll, missed a field goal in the first quarter; had a pass intercepted in the end zone; and fumbled out of the end zone after a 75-yard pass-and-catch, both of those ill-timed turnovers coming in the third quarter.
"The things that had been going well for us in the first four weeks didn't go our way today," Davis noted.
The Big Reds let a golden scoring opportunity go by the wayside early on as Abhay Horvath scooped up an Indian Creek (4-1) fumble and returned it 31 yards to the Redskins' 26. A 5-yard motion penalty on first down stalled that drive, which ended with three straight incompletions.
Bellaire put together a good drive on its next possession, but that drive petered out inside the 10, forcing a 24-yard field goal attempt by the usually sure-footed Dalton Conroy, who had made all three of his attempts this season. However, the kick sailed wide.
A Nick Patrone interception on the second play of the second quarter gave Bellaire possession near midfield, but the Big Reds fumbled the ball back two plays later as Monty McClelland pounced on it.
After Alex Young tipped away a Bellaire fourth-down pass, the Redskins took over at their own 27. Tailback Logan Woods picked up 16 yards on second-and-8 before Young rolled right and launched the ball downfield to a wide-open Corey Goodrich for a 45-yard scoring play. Young's PAT made it 7-0 with 5:23 left in the first half.
Logan Koshenka's fumble recovery on the first play of the second half set the Big Reds up at the Indian Creek 20. Spencer Badia found Kenny Hess for 10 yards on first down, and following a motion penalty, the same duo clicked for 10 more yards to the five. Badia's next toss in the end zone was picked off by Frankie Kamarec.
Indian Creek mustered a pair of first downs, but the drive sputtered and the Redskins punted.
Bellaire started at its own 24 and Badia found Patrone on a slant from the left side of the field. Patrone caught the ball in stride, split a pair of defenders and sprinted down the field. Woods followed closely behind, and when Patrone got inside the five, Woods punched the ball loose at the one and it rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.
"That was a backbreaker," Davis allowed.
Badia was picked off by Shane Winland on Bellaire's next series, and Indian Creek only needed four plays to reach the end zone. Backup quarterback Mandella Lawrence, who stepped in when Young was banged up, scampered up the middle from eight yards to, and Fernando's placement made it 14-0 with 2:58 on the third-quarter clock.
The Redskins scored the next two times they touched the ball to put the game out of reach.
Young ran a perfectly executed bootleg to the right and walked into the end zone untouched for a 14-yard touchdown. On Bellaire's next possession, McClelland picked up a fumble and rambled 35 yards to paydirt.
"We've still got to learn not to make so many mistakes, but the effort was tremendous," Indian Creek head coach Andrew Conner said. "Defensively, especially. Our defense was kind of questioned last week a little bit, but I thought they played exceptional today."
The Redskins didn't allow Badia to sit in the pocket and pick them apart. They pressured him from the get-go, forcing many quick and errant tosses.
"We knew coming in that was their strength," Davis said of the Redskins' defensive front four. "That's a fierce defensive line and they had us there."
If there was one positive Davis could take from the defeat, "We're 4-1 at the halfway point, and I'll take that. We just have to go back to the drawing board."
Indian Creek ran the ball 53 times for 373 yards as Woods led the way with 136 stripes on 21 totes. Young was 4-for-11 for 68 yards.
Badia completed 19 of 40 attempts for 249 yards, but was picked twice. Patrone and Hess evenly divided 10 catches, with Patrone logging 116 yards.
Things don't get any easier from here on out for the Big Reds. After four straight home games, they hit the road Friday night at unbeaten St. Clairsville and then travel to Cadiz for a date with Harrison Central the next week.
Indian Creek, meanwhile, welcomes Union Local Friday.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org