WINGATE — After two disappointing losses to begin the 2011 season, Bald Eagle Area football coach Jack Tobias, his assistants and the Eagle squad were hoping that the third time would be a charm.
Combining an efficient offense with a swarming defense, the Eagles charmed the BEA faithful Friday night as they dominated the Halifax Wildcats for a 21-0 win at Alumni Stadium.
“We just needed to get a win for these guys morale,” said BEA head coach Jack Tobias. “They have been through a lot the past couple of weeks and it is big for them to have a chance to go into the locker-room and have a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about what just took place. We’ll get in here tomorrow, do a little lifting and get ready for next week.”
The Eagles put their offense in high gear on their first possession of the game as they marched 52 yards on eight plays for all the points they were to need for the win.
Cody Ripka, who led all rushers in the game with 83 yards, picked up 51 of the 52 yards on seven carries in the TD drive.
“Their linebackers get inside a lot and that opened up the outside,” said Ripka. “I wanted the ball because coach (Tobias) challenged me to run the ball good and I just wanted to be able to finish and have a good game.”
But regardless of where the defensive personnel play, any successful running back will be quick to admit that he needs help from the ‘Hogs” up front.
“They (offensive linemen) work hard in practice and that effort showed here tonight,” said Ripka. “I really appreciate everything they do and they are pretty much responsible for anything our offense is able to do. This (the win) feels way better than the first two games.”
Coming off a huge game that saw him rush for over 200 yards, Halifax quarterback Robbie Moretz felt the effects of the swarming Eagle defense all night long as he was held to negative two yards on 22 carries by the first team BEA defensive unit.
“We just harped on it all week for them to take care of responsibilities,” said Tobias. “Certain guys had quarterback and other guys had pitch (man) and there were some times when he (Moretz) got some runs. But the biggest thing we were able to do tonight was get a big push up front and that kept guys off our linebackers and allowed our guys up front to make plays.”
Leading the defensive unit were Nicholas Uncapher, Justin Thompson and Nate Sharkey.
“Uncapher had a couple of sacks, I think Justin Thompson had a sack, Sharkey had a big fumble recovery for us and (Jeff) Koleno had a nice interception,” said Tobias. “Our linebackers also did a nice job of filling (the holes) tonight and that is something we have been harping at them to do. Right now we only have one or two players who played in the same position last year so it is just a matter of them getting reps to continue to improve and they have done that each week since the first game.”
Holding the 7-0 lead heading into the third period, the Eagles gave themselves a little breathing room and again it was on their first possession of the half.
Taking over on the Halifax 38 thanks to a short Wildcat punt, the Eagles maneuvered the 38 yards on a half dozen plays, junior quarterback Cole Long carrying the mail for the final yard and the score. The PAT attempt was blocked, but the Eagles had extended their advantage to 13-0.
The Wildcats were forced to punt on their next possession and again the Eagles had good field position as they took over on their own 46.
A long to Jon Romine pass for 18 yards, two carries by Sharkey for 18 more and a 5-yard scamper by Matt Dillon set up Long for his second touchdown of the game when he scooted to the right from 13 yards out for the score. A pass for two from Long to Colby Peters was good to set the final at BEA 21, Halifax 0.
Now 1-2, the Eagles will take their game to Philipsburg Friday night when they battle the P-O Mounties in a conference outing. Kickoff for that fray is set for 7 p.m.
Halifax 0 0 0 0 — 0
BEA 7 0 6 8 — 21
BEA — Cody Ripka 5 run. (Tyler Schall kick)(8:44)
BEA — Cole Long 1 run. (kick failed)(6:22)
BEA — Long 13 run (Long to Colby Peters pass)(11:15)
Team Statistics H BEA
First Downs 12 11
Rushes-Yards 44-127 37-185
Passing Yards 41 20
Passing 2-6-1 2-11-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-60 9-80
H: Allan Kaufman 7-42, Chad Meko 8-33, Dan Hebenthal 4-27, Robbie Moretz 25-25. BEA: Cody Ripka 14-83, 1 TD; Cole Long 3-36, 2 TDs; Matt Dillon 5-26, Nate Sharkey 3-19, Dakota Bartley 5-18, Jeff Koleno 2-8, Dylan Womer 1-3, Seth Holt 1-0, Tyler Howell 1-0, Kaleb Weaver 1-0, Ryan Watkins 1-minus 8.
H: Robbie Moretz 2-6, 41 yards, 1 interception.
BEA: Cole Long 2-5 20 yards, 1 interception; Jeff Koleno 0-5, Tyler Schall 0-1.
H: Dan Hebenthal 2-41.
BEA: Jon Romine 1-18, Cody Ripka 1-2.