Every boy when playing football in a backyard at a young age always has dreams of scoring a winning touchdown in a big game. They also dream of running back kickoffs for touchdowns.
Bellwood-Antis’ Zach Mallon got to do both in one night, in the Blue Devils’ biggest game on the schedule annually against a school separated by just seven miles.
Mallon ran back an 87-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter to give his team the lead, and also scored the game-winning 7-yard TD in double overtime to defeat Tyrone, 35-32, in the Backyard Brawl at Bellwood’s Memorial Stadium.
“We prepared for this game all summer, and we were just trying to get the win,” said Mallon.
“I think everybody got their monies worth out of their ticket today,” said Bellwood-Antis head coach Nick Lovrich. “A game to go into double overtime with two great communities, two big rivals — it showed a lot of heart on both teams. And that’s what fans like to see.”
The Blue Devils dug themselves in a hole in the first half, going down by eight points and having little momentum on their side. However, they tied the game in the early part of the second half before going through a roller coaster ride in the fourth quarter.
Tyrone experienced that same roller coaster in the fourth quarter and beyond as they tied the game with under a minute left in regulation and had a chance to win in the first overtime.
“I’ll put this on me,” said Golden Eagle head coach John Franco in his first game in his second stint at Tyrone. “I think I put too much into both sides of the ball. I think we need to simplify more.”
After Mallon’s kickoff return for a touchdown, Tyrone drove the field in the next five minutes and was capped by a Tommy Hicks 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 29.
Tyrone won the toss in overtime and chose to play defense first. Bellwood responded in their four plays of offense with three carries from Mallon and one from John Kost — with Mallon being stuffed at the 2.
After Tyrone’s three plays, the Eagles sent Keegan Raabe out for a 30-yard field goal, but the kick was well short of the mark.
“The snap was real slow,” Franco said. “I talked to our snapper and he said the ball was wet and his hands were wet.”
Raabe got some redemption in the second overtime as he booted a 20-yarder to give Tyrone a 32-29 lead with Bellwood’s possession to go.
After an illegal formation penalty, B-A quarterback Trevor Miller three a deep ball to Kost that looked to have been the game-winning TD, but the referees ruled that Kost was bobbling the ball as he went out of bounds on the play.
Still, the Blue Devils responded well as they drew a pass interference on the next play before Mallon’s 7-yard run for the game-winner.
“It’s just that next play mentality,” said Lovrich about the first near game-winning touchdown. “We were disappointed, but you have to forget about that. That’s just part of the football game.
“Zach did a great job on that play. He did a great job in the offseason. It was a full team effort on that play. Zach doesn’t get in if it wasn’t for those other guys. But I thought every guy on our team played great on that play.”
Bellwood got ahead 7-0 on a Mallon touchdown late in the first quarter.
It took until the next quarter for Tyrone to respond as Clifford Beck’s 1-yard run tied the game. Noah Zimmerman gave the Eagles the lead on a 54-yard jaunt. A bad snap on the ensuing PAT was rolled, but holder Brandon Homan picked up the ball and got the two-point conversion to give Tyrone a 15-7 lead with 5:06 to play in the first half.
Tyrone (0-1) hosts Central in their first home game of the season on Friday.
“It was a great high school game,” Franco said. “It was exciting, and everything it always has been. This is just a really fun game. The momentum shifts were just incredible.
“This year is going to be a lot of trying to get the culture changed, a lot of trying to get them comfortable in our system. It’s going to take some growing pains, and I think we saw that tonight.”
The Blue Devils (1-0) will hit the road for the first time next week as they travel to Glendale.
“Any time you have a win you have to feel good about yourself, and I think this is going to give our kids more confidence,” said Lovrich. “It’s one of those things where we have to feel good about it until Tuesday at practice. Once we get to Tuesday, we have to forget about this game and move on.”
BELLWOOD-ANTIS 35, TYRONE 32, 2 OTScore by Quarters Tyrone 0 15 0 14 0 3 — 32 Bellwood-Antis 7 0 8 14 0 6 — 35
Scoring SummaryFirst Quarter BA — Mallon 2 run, (Pellegrine kick), 3:44
Second Quarter T — Beck 1 run, (Raabe kick), 7:26 T — Zimmerman 54 run, (Homan run), 5:06
Third Quarter BA — Walker 22 pass from Miller, (Kost run), 9:25
Fourth Quarter BA — Mallon 19 run, (Pellegrine kick), 11:27 T — Gripp 47 pass from Lucas, (Raabe kick), 6:01 BA — Mallon 87 kickoff return, (Pellegrine kick), 5:39 T — Hicks 1 run, (Raabe kick), :39.6
Double Overtime T — Raabe 20 field goal, :0.0 BA — Mallon 7 run, :0.0
Team Statistics T BA
First Downs 23 15 Att-Yards Rushing 46-161 26-114 Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 15-27-2 10-26-1 Passing Yards 199 145 Total Plays-Yards 73-360 52-259 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-1 Penalties-Yards 5-38 5-45 Punts-Average 1-28 2-35.5
Individual StatisticsRushing Tyrone — Hicks 27-73, Zimmerman 7-65, Beck 3-13, Lucas 7-11, Clifton 1-0, Team 1-(-1). Bellwood-Antis — Mallon 12-54, Plank 8-41, Kost 5-17, Boyer 1-2.
Passing Tyrone — Lucas 14-of-25, 167 yds., TD, Int.; Hicks — 1-of-2, 32 yds., Int. Bellwood-Antis — Miller 10-of-26, 145 yds., TD, Int.
Receiving Tyrone — Gripp 6-100, Homan 3-34, Zimmerman 2-27, Hicks 2-23, Zimmerman 1-10, Blazer 1-5. Bellwood-Antis — Walker 5-87, Mallon 3-27, Shedlock 1-18, Kost 1-13.
Interceptions Tyrone — Lucas. Bellwood-Antis — Noonan, Plank.