CAMERON - This one was for Coach David Wiles.
Wiles, an assistant football coach and head wrestling coach at Beallsville, left the Blue Devils' game against Cameron at halftime Friday night to head to Pittsburgh. He's being deployed to Afghanistan today.
The two clubs were tied at 6-6 at halftime when duty called the U.S. Army Staff Sgt.
''That was commented that we have to win this for Coach Wiles,'' Beallsville head coach Paul Kanzigg said. ''He's not going to let us down. We're not going to let him down.''
With 1:53 left in the third quarter, the Blue Devils' Bruce Sefert crossed the goal line with what proved to the game-winner as Beallsville upheld its word to its coach in a 12-6 victory.
The announcement was made by Cameron PA man Joe Pettit prior to the game. Wiles was given a lengthy standing ovation by both crowds and he made his way across the field and high-fived, fist-bumped, or shook the hand of every person on the Dragons sideline.
Two minutes later, it was time to play football.
Two minutes after that, Cameron (1-3) led 6-0 after Logan Routt slammed the opening kickoff off one of the up men and the Dragons pounced on it.
It took Cameron all of three plays - all runs by Hunter Yoders - to cover 43 yards and grab an early lead. Immediately you were thinking this had all the makings of last season's 42-40 shootout between these two clubs.
It never materialized.
The 43 yards Cameron covered on that spurt were nearly half its total for the game (90).
''We were a little bit shell-shocked,'' Kanzigg said. ''After that, we regrouped and played some good ball.''
Beallsville tied it five minutes later when Sefert plunged in from a yard out. The rest of the half, the teams exchanged turnovers, punts, blocked punts, and TODs (turnover on downs), with all of the activity happening between the 30 yard lines.
''There's 48 minutes in a game,'' Cameron coach Jim Rogers said. ''The first minute and a half, two minutes, we owned. The next 46, we didn't.''
That's partly because a Beallsville defense, led by two guys Rogers couldn't stop talking about (Tritian Palmer and Dalton Secrest) was allowing next to nothing. Beallsville defenders forced Cameron QB Routt into a game he can't wait to forget. He was sacked five times, pressured a bunch more, and hit on 3 of 20 passes for 45 yards.
Still, Cameron had many chances in this one but only stopped shooting itself in the foot long enough to reload.
There was a dropped pass on a potential touchdown.
''That's six,'' Rogers said.
There was an interception with smooth sailing ahead, but Yoders was caught from behind after 49 yards of huffing and puffing. Setting up at the Blue Devils 21, Cameron turned it over on downs after gaining 1 yard on four plays.
Later, the Dragons forced another fumble and had a long return but a block in the back brought most of that back.
''Realistically, that's what I'm looking at,'' Rogers said. ''The opportunities we squandered.''
Beallsville, which dressed 18 kids, held each time.
''Our defense, they all stepped up,'' Kanzigg said. ''Pretty much all the starters played both ways the whole game. They don't get breaks. And there's no quit in those boys. They played their hearts out.''
Cameron had one last chance, as it had the ball at its own 10 with 3:19 left. At that point, the Dragons had 73 yards all night.
Is there something in the playbook for a quick 90-yard drive?
''We seem to think it is,'' Rogers said. ''That's tough to ask. Not the way they were playing us. Our kids just got frustrated. You're not going to win ballgames like that. It's just not going to happen.''
Beallsville's leading rusher was quarterback Levi Phillips, who took over the bulk of the running in the second half and had 79 yards on 15 carries. Sefert had 72 on 16.
Yoders led the Dragons with 80 yards on 16 carries.