MOUNDSVILLE - Football is a game of yards, feet and inches and if your team can control them and win the battle of field position it usually goes a long ways to collecting a victory.
For two-and-half quarters Saturday night it didn't look like controlling field position was going to make any difference for Beallsville, which had won that battle, but still trailed Bishop Donahue.
However, Coach Dave Caldwell's Blue Devils managed to turn the tables, let their defense take over and rally for a hard-fought victory.
Donahue’s Lavonte Hampton tries to avoid Beallsville’s Dalton Secrest (52), Payton Palmer (11) and
Grahamm Dauch (22) give chase.
Senior Grahamm Dauch ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns and Beallsville defense limited the shell-shocked Bishops to just seven total yards in the second half in gaining a prized, come-from-behind 30-14 victory at Monarch Field.
"Things really didn't start turning our way until I told the kids to concentrate on defense and let me worry about the offense," Caldwell said. "The whole tide changed from that point on. You have to know that defense wins championship and offense only wins games."
While Beallsville dominated field position for most of the first quarter, spending time in Donahue territory on all three of its possessions, the first 12 minutes ended in a scoreless deadlock.
However, the Bishops' first score did begin late in the opening stanza after the Blue Devils could not convert a fourth-and-7 from the Bishop Donahue 31.
On the second play of the ensuing drive Ollie Parker broke for the outside, caught the corner and rumbled 43 yards down the Beallsville 31. The second big play of the drive came a short time later when Ballard scrambled left for a 23-yard gain on a fourth down call that placed the ball at the 4.
Parker capped the seven-play, 69-yard march with a 4-yard burst on the opening play of the second chapter while Ballard's point-after gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.
But Caldwell's crew got it right back on its next series when junior quarterback Teryn Jarrett launched a deep ball down the sideline that was hauled in by classmate Ricky Tubaugh for a 50-yard score after a Bishops defender had fallen. Brandyn Heath's extra-point knotted the count at 7-7.
Bishop Donahue took the lead later in the period thanks to a gutsy call and a heads-up play. Facing a fourth-and-5 from the Beallsville 39, punter Garrett Yurisko took the snap, broke to the left on the fake, turned completely around, headed right and dove just enough to pass the marker for the first down.
The very next play was the capper as Ballard hit Jordan Bonar on the far sideline for a 34-yard touchdown and then knocked in the PAT for a 14-7 upperhand with 2:45 remaining in the half.
Parker finished the half with 63 rushing yards and a touchdown, but the bad news for the Bishops was that he received a concussion late in the half and did not return for the final two quarters.
The yardage was about as close as the score over the opening 24 minutes as the Devils held a slim 196-184 edge.
Beallsville dominated field position again in the third quarter, but could do little early. However, the final 16:15 of play belonged to the Blue Devils.
The Monroe County squad evened things up at 4:15 of the third chapter when Heath carried the ball in from 2 yards out and then added the PAT for a 14-14 score. Heath carried the brunt of the load on the drive, running out of the Wildcat formation.
But it wasn't tied long as Kyle Groves sacked Ballard in the end zone for a safety and a 16-14 lead just a 20 seconds later.
After a three-and-out by the Devils, a quick-kick had the hosts pinned deep inside their own territory before Gage Steele stepped in front of a Ballard pass at the 25 and took it to the 14 to set up the next Beallsville tally.
Dauch's five-yard run, followed by another Heath conversion kick pushed the count to 23-14. Dauch added a 1-yard burst midway through the fourth with Heath's fourth PAT making it a 30-14 score.
In limiting the Bishops to just 7 yards in the second half, Beallsville was able to put pressure on Ballard and record four quarterback sacks resulting in 64 yards in losses.
"This was a game coming in that we knew if we wanted to think about winning the OVAC and the River Valley League we were going to have to beat Bishop Donahue," Caldwell added. "They are one of the premier teams in the league and are a very good football team.
"Fortunately the kids really sucked it up in the second half and didn't give up, that is the sign of a good team. I am also real happy with our offensive line, which I feel won this game for us. And if it continues to play like that we will win many more."
For Bishops coach John Durdines it was a loss that exposed some weaknesses and gave his staff plenty to work on.
''We knew coming into the season that we had talent, but also a lack of depth,'' Durdines admitted. ''When we lost Ollie Parker in the first half it really changed what we wanted to do.
''We have some youngsters that we need to step up and get some varsity playing time. There has to be depth and that is the only way to get it.
"Beallsville did what they needed to do in the second half and got the win. I didn't think they pushed us around on the line, but they did do a good job finding holes.
''I think our game-plan worked in that we wanted to slow down their pass and we accomplished that, but the running game killed us.''
Heath was a big part of the reason the Blue Devils got out of Marshall County with the victory. The senior ran for 78 yards and a touchdown, kicked four extra-points and also continually kept the Bishops deep in their own territory with his kickoffs.