NEW MATAMORAS- The Beallsville Blue Devils scored 15 second-half points in a matter of eight seconds and then held on to defeat the Frontier Cougars 43-32 in a wild non-conference contest at Frontier High school Friday night.
Running back Rick Tubaugh scored the Devils' first third-quarter touchdown on a four-yard run and after the Cougars were assessed no less than three personal foul penalties after the score, Beallsville recovered an onside kick at the Cougar five-yard line and scored again on the very next play on a five-yard run by Bruce Sefert.
"We lost our poise for a little while and that's what decided the game," said a disappointed Cougar head coach Todd Bradford. "That little exchange within two plays made all the difference in how the game ended up."
KATIE PARKS Special to the Times
Frontier’s Eddie Salazar (12) tries to elude the tackle of Beallsville’s Chase Mercer (11) during prep football action in New Matamoras Friday night. Salazar did score one touchdown in the contest but the Cougars came up short, dropping a 43-32 decision to the visiting Blue Devils, who posted their first victory of the season. Frontier was penalized 15 times for 176 yards in the game. The Cougars are scheduled to play at Fort Frye in a Pioneer Valley Conference game next Friday night.
Beallsville got things started on the very first possession of the game as they marched 71 yards on 11 plays with Sefert scoring from a yard out to take an early 6-0 lead.
The Cougars evened things up on the first play of the second quarter when Taylor Merckle scored on a one-yard touchdown run, the first of what would be three Merckle touchdowns in the game, to tie the score at 6-6.
It would take the Blue Devils all of three plays and 45 seconds to break the tie as Gage Steele caught a 30-yard pass from quarterback Teryn Jarrett and then broke free on a 20-yard run to send Beallsville back in front by a touchdown at 13-6.
Beallsville 43, Frontier 32
Beallsville 6 15 15 7 - 43
Frontier 0 18 8 6 - 32
B: Sefert, 1 run (kick failed), 8:25
F: Taylor Merckle, 1 run (kick blocked), 11:15
B: Steele, 20 run (Mason Campbell kick), 11:10
F: Merckle, 5 run (pass failed), 7:34
F: Jordan Jeffereson, 12 run (run failed), :46.9
B: Tubaugh, 30 pass Jarrett (Palmer pass), :05
B: Tubaugh, 4 pass from Jarrett (Palmer pass reception), 3:23
B: Sefert, 4 run (Campbell kick), 3:15
F: Eddie Salazar, 71 pass from Jefferson (Jefferson run), 2:56
F: Merckle 44 pass from Jefferson, (pass failed), 11:51
B: Tubaugh, 13 run (Campbell kick), 7:58
Beallsville - first downs 19, rushes/yds 25/105, passing yds 287, total yds 392, pen/yds 6/55, fumbles/lost 2/2, punts/avg 2/29
Frontier - first downs 18, rushes/yds 46/302, passing yds 187, total yds 489, pen/yds, 15/176; fumbles/lost 4/1, punts/avg 2/33.5
Beallsville- rushing Tubaugh 5/41/1TD; passing; Jarrett 22-35-287-3TD; receiving Taubaugh 10-173, 2 TDs
Frontier- rushing: Jefferson 18-94-1TD, Merckle 15-88-2TD, 12-73, Salazar 3-47; passing: Jefferson 9-15-187-2TDs; receiving: Merckle 4-85-1TD, 2-76-1TD
Next game: Frontier at Fort Frye Friday
Merckle was at it again on the very next Cougar possession as he ran straight up the middle for 48 yards before being tackled at the two-yard line by Tubaugh.
Three plays later the Cougar senior running back scored again on a sweep to cut the lead to 13-12.
Bradford elected to go for two, but after the Cougars were flagged for three consecutive penalties and the Devils were flagged for one of their own, a fifth Frontier attempt was unsuccessful and Beallsville held the lead at 13-12.
After the Cougar defense stopped Jarrett and the Devil offense on back-to-back possessions, the Cougars grabbed their first lead of the game and appeared destined to head to the locker room with both the lead and the momentum.
With excellent field position at their own 44-yard line, the Cougars marched 56 yards in just under two minutes with quarterback Jordan Jefferson scoring on a keeper with only 47 seconds to play in the half.
Instead of taking a knee and going to intermission down by five at 18-13, Beallsville elected to put the ball in the air and that move by head coach Paul Kanzigg proved to be the right one.
After the Cougars assisted the Devils with a pair of pass interference penalties to move the ball deep into Cougar territory, a perfectly executed 30-yard flea-flicker pass from Jarrett to Tubaugh made it 21-18 Beallsville at the half.
The Cougars put together an impressive 13-play drive to start the second half, relying mostly on the running tandem of Merckle and Jared Howell, but a huge stop by Devil linebacker Dalton Secrest on fourth-and-one at the 10-yard line turned the ball back over to Beallsville on downs.
The Cougars were flagged for a whopping 15 penalties for 176 yards in the game, with seven of them coming in what proved to be the pivotal third quarter. After Jarrett connected on back-to-back passes to Tubaugh of 16 and 18 yards respectively, the Cougars were flagged for pair of personal fouls near the Beallsville sideline that moved the ball all the way down to the Cougar five- yard line.
One play later, Tubaugh scored his second touchdown of the game on a pass from Jarrett and after both teams were hit with personal foul penalties in the end zone, the Cougars were hit for three more penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play.
Those penalty yards were added onto the ensuing kickoff and the Devils kicked off from the Cougar 15-yard line.
The perfectly executed onside kick inside the five- yard line gave the ball right back to Beallsville and Sefert plunged in on the next play to send the Devils up by 18 at 36-18 with just over three minutes to play in the third.
Frontier came marching right back when Jefferson hit wide out Eddie Salazar in stride on a beautiful 71-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to10 at 36-26.
The Cougars struck again seconds into the final quarter when Jefferson connected with Merckle on a 44-yard strike and all of the sudden it was a four point game at 36-32 with a quarter to play.
As was the case for most of the night though the Devils had the answer for the Cougar challenge and when Tubaugh scampered in from 13-yards out the lead went to 43-32 which would prove to be the final.
Jarrett completed 22-of-35 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns on the night, while Tubaugh accounted for 214 total yards and three scores in the game.
Jefferson was 9-for-15 in the game for 187 yards and the two scores, while Merckle accounted for 173 total yards to pace the Cougar attack. With the Cougars outgaining the Devils by almost a full football field in the game it was obviously a tough defeat for Bradford and his squad.
"We just can't blame anybody else but ourselves," said Bradford. "We'll just have to pick up and put things back together and get ready for Fort Frye."
The win was the first of the season for the 1-4 Devils, while the Cougars dropped to 2-3 with the loss.
The Cougars return to conference play next week as they travel to Beverly for a Pioneer Valley Conference battle with the Fort Frye Cadets.