Bellaire comes up short

Photo/KRISTIN MAZGAJ BELLAIRE QUARTERBACK Bobby Roth looks for yardage around the end during Saturday's game against Garaway at Nelson Field.

BELLAIRE — Often times the difference in winning and losing is simply being able to capitalize on opportunities.

Bellaire had plenty of those Saturday afternoon at Nelson Field. But, the Big Reds didn’t make good on enough.

And it came back to bite them as Garaway pulled out a hard-fought 14-13 victory.

“We knew this would be one heck of a ball game,” Bellaire head coach Mark Spigarelli said. “Our effort was there, but we made some not-so-good plays in crucial times, which is something we need to clean up.”

The loss drops the Big Reds to 1-1 entering a short week with a road trip to Cadiz to take on 0-2 Harrison Central on Friday.

“By the end of (Saturday) night, these guys have to put this loss behind them and come back and ready to get to work,” Spigarelli said. “These guys will be alright. We’ll get these guys ready to play.”

The Big Reds came out on fire. They took the opening kick, marched 65 yards in four plays and senior quarterback Bobby Roth capped the drive with a 22-yard jaunt around the end.

The PAT, however, was wide.

The Pirates capitalized on their first opportunity when they pounced on a Big Reds fumble in Bellaire territory.

Five plays later, junior quarterback Garrett Newsome went into the end zone from 8 yards out. Kurtis Neal hit the upright with his PAT try, but it deflected through, making it a 7-6 reading.

With 9:21 to go before halftime, the Pirates extended their lead.

Newsome hooked up with senior Matthew Mullen on a 12-yard touchdown, capping a 5-play drive that covered 82 yards. A big play on the march was a 42-yard pitch and catch between Newsome and junior Zack Bickford.

Again, Neal was true on the PAT.

The Big Reds wasted little time in answering right back. Other than a 25-yard pass from Roth to Trenton Wilson, the Big Reds worked exclusively on the ground. Senior standout Cole Porter did the brunt of the work, carrying the ball 10 times, including the final 3-yard plunge. He then added the PAT as Spigarelli elected to not chase points with still more than entire half to play.

Little did Spigarelli know that nary a point would be scored the rest of the way. However, the Big Reds had plenty of opportunities.

Bellaire put together an 11-play drive that ate up almost six minutes, stretching from the latter stages of the third into the fourth. However, after marching to the Pirates’ 7, the drive bogged down and the field goal try was wide.

“We had guys make some plays, but our line didn’t block as well as we think they can or they should,” Spigarelli said. “We’ll get that corrected.”

The Big Reds got to the Garaway 30 on their next possession, but a pair of negative plays and an incompletion led to the drive eventually faltering on downs.

The Bellaire defense, which turned in an impressive effort against Garaway’s five-wide attack, gave its offense another chance. Freshman Ray Ray Pettigrew climbed the ladder to make an interception in the red zone.

Bellaire’s offense worked with just under three minutes to play and advanced the ball to the 48 thanks to completions to Porter and a pair to Wilson. However, Newsome, who had just thrown the pick, stepped in front of a Roth aerial to all but seal the deal for the Pirates.

“I thought, coming in, it would be low scoring because I know they’d be tough to drive on with that 3-4 defense and for the fact that they blitz guys from all over the place,” Spigarelli said. “I knew we’d have trouble moving the ball, but I thought they’d have trouble moving the ball, too.”

He was correct on both accounts. Bellaire limited the Pirates to just 217 yards of total offense and totally shut down the Garaway ground game. Newsome led the rushers with 44 yards on 21 carries, but the Pirates had a net of just 25 yards on a like number of carries.

Roth was solid at quarterback. He completed 18-of-30 passes for 218 yards. Wilson hauled in 5 balls for 99 yards, while Porter finished with 90 yards rushing and added 47 receiving.