Belle Vernon Area snaps losing skid with 26-17 win over Trinity
Facing a must-win Big Nine Conference matchup Friday night, Belle Vernon Area kept its playoff hopes alive with a 26-17 win at Hiller Stadium over Trinity.
“We played pretty well,” BVA coach Aaron Krepps said. “The guys stepped up to the challenge and came out hungry and that was the difference in the game.
“We left some plays on the field offensively and defensively, but I feel this gets the monkey off of our back with this win.”
The sophomore tandem of tailback Anthony Levis and quarterback Travis Snyder carried the Leps (2-4, 2-3), while several big defensive plays in the second half propelled BVA to its second win at Trinity (3-3, 3-2) in as many seasons.
Levis finished with 245 yards on 36 plays while Snyder was 10 of 16 for 170 yards and two touchdown passes along with a one-yard scoring rush.
Trinity scored on the initial drive of the contest when freshman Sam Trapuzanno drilled a 29-yard field goal.
On the drive, Trinity went 58 yards on 13 plays to set up the field goal attempt.
Trinity upped the lead to 10-0 on its next drive as Patrick Frey went 83 yards on the second play of the possession.
Snyder appeared to hit senior Adam Ferita on a 26-yard scoring strike with 29 seconds left in the first quarter, but Ferita was called for pass interference.
Two plays later, Frey sacked Snyder for a seven yard loss and the play ended the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Snyder connected with Ferita on a 46-yard pass to the Trinity 1-yard line on third-and-31.
“That play was huge and every coach in America would tell you that there aren't many plays for third-and-31,” Krepps said. “But Adam got behind the coverage and Trav through a heck of a ball.”
BVA had the momentum and after Aaron McCullough stopped Trinity quarterback Don McWreath on a third down sneak, the Leps took the lead on their next possession.
BVA took over at its own 35 and after a 25-yard run by Anthony Levis on first down, BVA was at the Trinity 40.
Two plays later, Snyder hit Ferita with a 36-yard touchdown on a play-action pass.
Tyler McCullough's extra point gave BVA a 13-10 lead.
Trinity took the lead right back with 5:04 left in the half when Robert West went in from six yards out on third-and-goal.
The key play of the drive was when McWreath hit West for a seven-yard gain on fourth-and-three to the BVA six.
It was BVA's turn to drive down the field and the Leps appeared primed to take the lead just before half.
The Leps drove 82 yards on 12 plays to the Trinity one, but on fourth-and-goal, Cory Urlacher was stopped on a fullback dive for a two-yard loss with 20 seconds left before half.
On the play, which saw Levis go in motion out of the backfield, Urlacher was the lone back.
“It was a case of a senior captain asking for the ball,” Krepps said.
The Leps showed no lingering effects coming out in the second half as they went 78 yards on nine plays and when Snyder hit Ferita with a three-yard scoring strike, BVA held a 19-17 lead.
The teams exchanged punts the rest of the third quarter, and BVA maintained its 19-17 lead going into the fourth.
Holding onto the two-point lead with 3:21 left, BVA held Trinity on downs with junior Cody Menges making two huge defensive breakups to eliminate the chance of big gains on both plays.
BVA took over at the Trinity 33 and scored with 1:16 left when senior Seth Manack went in untouched from five yards out.
Trinity's last chance was eliminated with Ferita intercepted a McWreath pass attempt with 30 seconds left.
For the game, BVA gained 433 yards on 60 plays and had 24 first downs while Trinity had 332 yards on 53 plays and 13 first downs.
The Leps finished with 263 yards on 44 carries with the majority of the rushed going behind sophomore center Devon Hannah, junior guard Austin Fields, and senior right tackle Dorian Johnson.
“We finally got the running game going and found something that was working,” Johnson said. “We just have to keep working hard and trying to improve every week.”
Krepps made note of the right side of the line.
“The right side stepped up and opened holes,” he said. “Our running game has been stagnant for weeks and the big plays in the passing game early helped open things up and Anthony had a great effort.”
GAME NOTES: Ferita finished with three catches for 85 yards and the two scores … Urlacher had four catches for 51 yards … McWreath finished six of 18 for 119 yards and the one interception … Frey had 115 yards rushing on 12 carries.