Injuries, missed opportunities hurt Huskies against Bellaire
BELLAIRE — Through the first three weeks of the season, no one can question Bellaire’s resolve or toughness.
Both were on display when the Big Reds needed them most Saturday at sun-drenched Nelson Field.
Put those intangibles with a strong running game and enough defensive stops, and it equaled a 33-21 victory on homecoming and senior day in the All-American Town.
“Hats off to our guys because this was another dog fight, and they fought the entire time,” Bellaire head coach Mark Spigarelli said inside an elated Bellaire fieldhouse. “It was a back-and-forth game, but our running game did enough, and we got enough stops to get us the win.”
With six minutes to play in the game, Harrison Central gained some momentum. Riding the impressive right arm and legs of senior quarterback Kobe Mitchell and making the most of a Bellaire personal foul, the Huskies clawed to within five at 26-21 after Mitchell scampered the final 12 yards to the end zone.
Similar to games against River and Shadyside to begin the season, the Big Reds didn’t push any panic buttons. They simply went to work and answered with an eight-play drive that covered 68 yards and took 3:47 off the clock. The final play was a 1-yard plunge by sophomore quarterback Jake Heatherington.
“Coach Gregg Bonar did a super job of calling plays for the entire game, but especially in the last drive to get us into that position,” Spigarelli said. “That kind of mentality (to answer right back) is something we’ve always had at Bellaire.”
Harrison, which had several key players including tailback James Brooks and fullback Caleb Cowans not return to action in the second half due to injury, saw its final drive end on downs to seal the outcome for the Big Reds.
Bellaire’s final drive was a microcosm of the entire game. The Big Reds allowed Heatherington to manage the game and featured an impressive ground game, which accumulated 297 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Junior Brayden Roth and sophomore Colt Sechrest –a converted tight end — turned in exceptional performances. Roth finished with 128 yards and scored twice on 22 carries, while Sechrest rushed 12 times for 122 yards and scored. He also caught a touchdown.
“We feel like we have two good tailbacks in Roth and Brandon Mamie, and both will get their chances. Plus, we have Colt and Joey Lewis at fullback,” Spigarelli said. “Those two fullbacks gave great blocks when we were running powers and isos. It was a great team performance.”
The Big Reds offensive line did yeoman’s work, including on the last scoring drive when they opened up massive holes for the aforementioned running backs.
“Other than (Timmy) O’Grady and (Luke) Farmer, basically everyone (up front) is new,” Spigarelli said. “(Vince) Patrone is at right tackle, Daniel Zwack is at the left tackle and Tyler Vingia is at right guard. They’re all gelling and coming together well. When you can do that and everyone is fighting for each other, you know you have something.”
Bellaire is now on the road for the next three weeks to close out the pre-OHSAA tournament portion of the schedule. The first of which is a visit to Toronto on Friday.
“Every game we’ve played so far has been a battle, and things are never easy for us, which is good,” Spigarelli said. “I love the character and class of this team. I love how we go about things, especially our everyday business. We have to go on the road for the first time now, so we’ll have to get back to work again to get ready for Toronto.”
Harrison Central, meanwhile, drops to 2-1 and will be back in action Friday at Union Local.
Mitchell once again was brilliant for the Huskies. Despite being victimized by several drops, he completed 15 of 34 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 18 times for 124 yards and scored twice. Junior Trevor Carman caught seven passes for 108 yards. Mitchell’s TD pass went to Kanyon Coleman, covering 35 yards.
Harrison Central, quite simply, wasn’t able to capitalize on all of the chances it did have, which is something that third-year head coach Anthony Hayes lamented.
“We had opportunities to make plays and we didn’t, but Bellaire did,” Hayes said. “Kudos to Bellaire. We didn’t make the plays we needed to. Either we dropped the ball, fell off a tackle or missed something by an inch. Those things are usually the differences in big games.”
Bellaire 33, Harrison Central 21
Harrison Central 7 0 7 7 –21
Bellaire 7 7 6 13 — 33
B — Sechrest 7 run (L. Littell kick).
HC — Mitchell 3 run (Madzia kick).
B — Roth 12 run (L. Littell kick).
HC — Coleman 35 pass from Mitchell (Madzia kick).
B — Sechrest 12 pass from Heatherington (kick failed).
B — Roth 3 run (pass failed).
HC — Mitchell 12 run (Madzia kick).
B — Heatherington 1 run (A. Littell kick).
RUSHING: Harrison Central, 26-154-2td (Mitchell, 18-124-2td; Brooks, 7-22; Cowans, 1-8). Bellaire, 46-297-4td (Mamie, 7-22; Roth, 22-128-2td; Sechrest, 12-122-td; Heatherington, 4-24-td; Lewis, 1-1).
PASSING: Harrison Central, 15-34-208-1td-1x (All by Mitchell). Bellaire, 7-15-89-td (All by Heatherington).
RECEIVING: Harrison Central, 15-208-td (Carman, 7-108; Vermillion, 4-45; Brooks, 1-11; Cowan, 1-4; Coleman, 1-35-td; Nunez, 1-5). Bellaire, 7-89-td (Sechrest, 2-38-td; Kesterson, 1-7; Shaver, 1-8; Gallaher, 1-17; Dowling, 2-19).
FIRST DOWNS: Harrison Central, 18; Bellaire, 23.
FUMBLES: Harrison Central, 2-1; Bellaire, 0-0.
PENALTIES: Harrison Central, 6-55; Bellaire, 2-20.