Belle Vernon does its part with 35-0 rout
Heading into its Big Nine Conference contest at Albert Gallatin Friday night, Belle Vernon Area knew it had to win to have a chance to make the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Win BVA (4-5, 4-4) did, 35-0, and the Leps will know later today if they will make the playoffs as the fifth place team in the conference or if they could be a wild card entry into the postseason.
There were reports that BVA clinched a playoff berth with the win. However, neither Lep coach Aaron Krepps nor Athletic Director Jesse Cramer could confirm that after the game.
“I am very happy with the effort,” Krepps said. “I told the guys we had to control how we played tonight and not worry about anything else.”
The host Colonials (0-9, 0-8) took the opening kick and drove to the BVA 25, but Aaron McCullough sacked AG quarterback Richie Ohler on fourth down to end the drive.
“Aaron definitely stepped up and had a big play on a goal line stand,” Krepps said. “We needed that from him tonight.”
After both teams punted on the next two possessions, BVA finally got on the board when Anthony Levis raced 46 yards to give BVA a 6-0 lead with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
Tyler McCullough's extra point made the score 7-0, and on the ensuing kickoff, his kick got caught up in the wind and bounced back toward midfield where the Leps recovered at the AG 29.
After a Levis run got BVA to the nine, the sophomore carried again on the next play. He fumbled at the four, and offensive lineman Dorian Johnson recovered in the end zone to give BVA its second touchdown in under two minutes.
The 14-0 lead held until 4:51 remained in the half when Levis scored from 26 yards out.
On the carry, Levis eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season.
He finished the game with 163 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
“Anthony ran well again and he has done it all season for us,” Krepps said. “I was real happy with how the line was able to open up some running lanes.”
Prior to Levis' second score of the contest, the Leps thwarted an AG drive when junior Cody Menges intercepted an Ohler pass and returned it 84 yards for a score.
However, BVA was called for blocking in the back, nullifying the defensive score.
BVA tacked on its fourth touchdown of the game with 2:29 left in the third quarter when freshman Austin Bell went in from eight yards out.
Once again, it was a long interception return by Menges who set up the score.
Menges returned this interception 51 yards to the AG 37 to give the Leps prime real estate.
On AG's next possession, the third time was the charm for Menges.
Moments after missing an interception on a deflected pass, Menges picked off a Marty Dodson pass and returned it 88 yards for a score with 11:45 to go in the game.
Menges had 181 return yards on his three interceptions.
“Cody played lights out for us at corner with the three picks and finally getting one to the house,” Krepps said. “The defense stepped up for us when needed as we bent, but didn't break.”
So now BVA waits for today's contest between Trinity and Ringgold.
“Right now it's a waiting game,” Krepps said. “We don't know how it's going to shake out. We will either be the fifth seed or will have to wait it out to see if we get the wild card.”
GAME NOTES: Austin Fields had two sacks for BVA … the Leps outgained AG 202-152 … Matt Rush and Dodson had interceptions for AG while Donovan Miller and Branden Dice recovered fumbles … BVA did not complete a pass … Chris Hlatky (61) and Dice (54) combined for 115 yards rushing for AG.
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.