BRAVES SMASH â€” Ryan Mendez (left) is tackled as he moves ahead for yardage last Friday for Bellmont. Mendez scored three touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards in the 22-7 BHS win. The Braves host South Adams Friday. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
With three coaches switching sidelines Friday night at Bob Worthman Stadium, it would make sense that the normal level of intensity at a Bellmont-South Adams football game would increase a bit.
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Not so say both head coaches, Larry Getts, who replaced Rick Burkhalter at Bellmont, and Jason Arnold, who recruited Burkhalter to lead his offense at South Adams.
"With Greg (Meyer), Rick, and Mike (Stimpson) on our sidelines, it adds to the storylines of the game, but it is not the focus of our preparation," stated Arnold.
"It's a football game. Kids aren't going to care about that. Kids are there to play football," said Getts.
"That's what they say about pregame speeches, that the kid remembers that until the first time he gets hit then he's just playing football. Same thing here, any emotion goes out with contact," predicted Getts.
Both teams were successful in the season opener with the Braves overpowering and containing what was thought to be a very improved Woodlan team, and South Adams running roughshod over an outmanned Winchester squad to the tune of 76-12. The Starfires option offense accounted for over 500 yards rushing.
Marcus Rich rushed for 156 yards on nine carries while fullback Zach Morgan covered 101 yards on 12 tries. Cole Farlow picked up 135 on seven tries Rich and Farlow both scored three touchdowns.
"It felt good to win," said Arnold, whose Stars had lost some close games with 3A Eastbrook for the past few years. "It gave us a chance to rest our starters and get some of our younger players in there."
It also failed to give any Bellmont any film on Dustin Wanner's passing attack, though he was fairly successful a year ago in a close game at Berne.
The Braves garnered over 300 yards, with Brad Busse gaining 128 yards and Ryan Mendez bursting out with 127 yards and three touchdowns. The Braves new tight double-wing attack, run by two quarterbacks, did as expected.
Bellmont's defense also shut down the speedy Woodlan backs. "The kids played well on defense. They kept their leverage on the ball and eliminated the big plays. The tackling was pretty good, and that helped out a lot," described the BHS coach.
The key this week for Bellmont is stopping the SA option attack. "Anytime you have the option, you are forcing people to play disciplined football, and you stand a chance of getting big plays. Size, speed and stunting sometimes are eliminated as keys because of the option," noted Getts.
The key for South Adams is handling Bellmont's size. The Bellmont offensive line averages nearly 250, with 6'4", 318-pound Nick Myers leading the way. That group was effective breaking up the Woodlan defense last week. South Adams averages about 180 pounds across its defensive front. Cody Conner, at 5-10, and 194 pounds, is the biggest player on the defensive line. South Adams lists no 200-pound players in its starting lineup.
"The main thing is that the defenses play fundamentally sound and play responsibility," said Arnold.
"Whether its the option, the Wing-T, of this double-wing, each offense has things they do to create problems of mismatches. The defense's job is to eliminate those mismatches," explained the coach.
Somehow, the Stars are going to have to get some penetration to keep Bellmont's offense in check.
The weight advantage for Bellmont "does not affect our game plan," said Arnold. The coach does fell that his Starfires will pass more this week, testing the BHS secondary, which looked good last week.
"We basically beat them up physically, but they were still in the game at the end," said Getts of the contest last week. "That was a huge run by Busse (72 yards). We don't get that, Woodlan has a shot."
"Our backs ran hard. Mendez proved that he could get it done. We knew he had the potential, so we found out a little about him," praised Getts.
The two QB system will continue for Bellmont with Brian Fullenkamp and Jacob Bergman. "The one kid (Fullenkamp) did a nice job passing, the other did a good job managing the clock, and we held the ball for two-and-half quarters," said the coach.
"This is just another football game, and if you don't play well, you get beat," said Getts of the matchup with South Adams.