Belle Vernon takes shot, gets big jump on Trinity
9/18/2010 3:30 AM
BELLE VERNON - If there's one play that makes a difference in a football game, that play came on Belle Vernon's first offensive snap Friday night.
The Leopards and a supposedly sluggish offense - a group missing its centerpiece in the injured Matt Green - hit Trinity and a supposedly stout defense with a knockout punch when Matt Naylor connected with a streaking Ian Dobbins for a 71-yard touchdown.
The Hillers' defense never recovered and the offense never got going as Belle Vernon took a significant step toward finishing among the top two teams in the Class AAA Big Eight Conference with a 28-7 victory at James Weir Stadium.
"We told the guys in the pregame to watch the deep ball or a reverse or something like that," Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. "Three years in a row, they've come out with something against us."
Despite the warning, Trinity's defense didn't look ready for the long pass down the middle of the field.
"Right before they did it, we said, 'Watch them throw it deep here,'" Dalton said. "In a game like this, you've got to try something."
That's exactly what Belle Vernon coach Aaron Krepps, a former standout receiver at Washington & Jefferson College, thought.
"We've been real close on offense for two weeks. We just needed something to get us going," Krepps said. "I thought, if we could finally get the big plays, it would spark us. We took shots before but, for one reason or another, it didn't work."
This one did and Belle Vernon continued to make big plays on offense and defense.
Trinity (1-1, 2-1) managed six first downs through three quarters - nine for the game - and two of those came on Belle Vernon penalties. Quarterbacks Brad Martin and Jason Vankirk combined to complete only 3 of 17 passes for 19 yards.
Take away freshman tailback Pat Frey, who rushed for 107 yards, and the Hillers offense gained 75 yards.
Belle Vernon (2-0, 2-1), with only three touchdowns through two games, scored on the final play of the first quarter on a 16-yard run from Adam Cole and its first play of the third quarter - a 65-yard run by Nick Gruber.
"That one ended the game. That broke our backs though we kept fighting," Dalton said.
The Leopards had a 100-yard passer in Naylor (121 yards) and a 100-yard rusher in Gruber (103 yards) against a Hillers defense that allowed under 150 yards in a win last week against Chartiers Valley.
"They dissected us," Dalton added. "We've got to look at the film but they used our aggressiveness against us."
Trinity did play better in the second half as the defense held Belle Vernon to three first downs and the offense ate up possession. With the exception of a 42-yard touchdown run by Kyle McWreath midway through the fourth quarter and some strong running from Frey, it was far from impressive.
"Pat is going to be good," Dalton said. "It's time to maybe get him the ball more."
If Frey can run against Belle Vernon, there's little reason to believe he can't against future opponents. The Leopards are playing some of the best defense in the classification.
Belle Vernon has allowed 21 points in three games, one of those touchdowns came on a kickoff return.
"Our defense has played like this all year," Krepps said. "Our defense has been strong we just haven't been able to convert on offense before (Friday)." Copyright Observer Publishing Co.