Bellaire topples Harrison Central
CADIZ — As great as things went for Bellaire on Friday night, they were equally horrid for Harrison Central.
The Big Reds scored on their first four possessions and Mason Ramsay had a hand in every Bellaire score as the Big Reds throttled the Huskies, 38-7, in a mutual Buckeye 8 opener at Wagner Field.
”We just got on a run and things just kind of snowballed,” Bellaire head coach Mark Spigarelli said. ”We had a lot to do with that, too because we have tough kids and I love them to death. One they know their coach loves them they will play even harder.”
The Big Reds jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead using almost the same pattern they used in handing Caldwell with ease last Saturday at Nelson Field — balance. Bellaire mixed its passing and running games to near perfection in the first 24 minutes and the Huskies could stop neither.
”When you can pick your poison — running the ball or passing the ball — it helps a lot,” Spigarelli said.
The Big Reds rushed for 160 yards and passed for 119 in building its 24-point cushion, one that saw Bellaire convert its first four 3rd-downs — all which resulted in scores.
The game perhaps was won on the first two drives of the game for the Big Reds — one offensive and one defensive.
Bellaire took the opening kick and marched 53 yards for the game’s opening score, an 11-yard pass from Ramsay to Gabe Rejonis.
The Huskies (1-2) advanced to Bellaire’s 32 on its first possession, but standout running back Tyler West — who was held to 75 yards after running for 214 last week — was stuffed on fourth down.
Spigarelli believed those two drives set the tone.
”Shutting them down on offense was the key, and I knew it would be,” he said.
Harrison Central Justin Kropka agreed.
”We just got beat up on both sides of the ball,” he said.
After Bellaire stopped the Huskies, it quickly took advantage, scoring three plays later when Ramsay connected with a wide open freshman Payton Marling for a 67-yard score that helped make the score 14-0.
West answered in quick fashion, reaching the end zone from 54 yards away on the second play of the Huskies’ ensuing series to bring the hosts to within seven.
But the Big Reds (2-1), who didn’t commit a penalty all game, responded with a 64-yard, nearly five-minute march that culminated with Ramsay’s 1-yard plunge that put Bellaire up 14 again. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard burst by Thor Duffy, one in which he carried a few Harrison Central defenders along for the ride.
Duffy, after rushing for 77 yards last week, finished with 109 yards on 22 carries. Cole Porter added 80 yards, and most of the yardage the tandem garnered was right up the gut.
”I figured if we ran up the middle that was a weak spot for them,” Spigarelli explained. ”We took advantage of what they were giving us. And Mason, when we were passing, it seemed like he was throwing it all over the place, which was great because our offensive line did a super job.”
Ramsay finished 8 of 11 for 160 yards and three touchdowns.
After nailing a 22-yard field goal with 5:55 left in the first half, Ramsay and the Big Reds got the ball back off a Huskies fumble with 1:19 left in the second.
At the 18, Ramsay scrambled and found Duffy in the corner of the end zone. Ramsay threaded the needle to Duffy, who did a nice tip-toe job to keep his feet inside the field of play near the pylon and put Bellaire up big at halftime.
”That was really big,” Spigarelli said. ”Mason is a veteran and he knows how to do that. He’s a smart kid.”
Bellaire’s second-half kickoff bounced off the knee of a Harrison Central player and the Big Reds recovered the ball at the Huskies’ 43. Nine plays later, Ramsay sealed things with his second 1-yard run of the night.
”We had playmakers making plays,” Spigarelli said.
Kropka said his depth took a beating as the night wore on, including at quarterback, where Wyatt Elias went out with an injury in the second quarter. DeJuan Caldwell replaced him.
”We had opportunities,” he said. ”But we had fumbles and dropped passes. We just didn’t play very well.
”Give Bellaire credit. They played really well. They whooped us. We have to get better.
”It was a Murphy’s Law kind of a night. If you coach long enough, you’ll have one of those nights.”