Saturday, October 09, 1999

Bellevue 17, Beechwood 0

7-0 Tigers stake claim to Class A rule

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Bellevue QB Nate Berkley runs for a first down.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |
        BELLEVUE — This was a red-letter day for a blue-collar town, a city that had waited a decade for a Friday night like this.

        With heavy clouds hanging overhead, the rain held and the home team roared. And when Bellevue had finished its emphatic 17-0 upset of Beechwood, there was no room left for doubt about the biggest success story of the season.

        “This was totally for pride,” Bellevue junior quarterback Nate Berkley said. “It was time for Bellevue to get its winning tradition going again.”

        How's this: Bellevue is 7-0. Ranked fourth in the Class A state poll, it may be set to ascend to the summit after beating the state's top-ranked team.

        It has seized control of the local Class A district and soon could clinch home-field advantage all the way to the state finals. It's nearly time to start talking titles.

        “Beating Beechwood, it doesn't get any bigger than that,” Bellevue coach Charlie Coleman said. “They're the best program of the decade in any class. When you beat them, I think you deserve to be considered maybe No.1.”

        Beechwood (5-2) has lost twice for the first time in three seasons, and Friday's was its first district defeat in six seasons. Bellevue hadn't beaten Beechwood since the 1990 playoffs, when Bellevue streaked all the way to the state championship game.

        Since then, Bellevue slipped to 7-5 in 1991 and then hadn't managed another winning season. Meanwhile, Beechwood won six state titles.

        It took perhaps only 10 minutes after the initial celebration Friday for Bellevue's players to start talking about a rematch. As they filed out of the locker room, hugging friends and family, many whispered, “We'll beat 'em again.”

        Friday was billed as a defensive struggle; Beechwood had shut out five opponents and Bellevue four. But Bellevue used its versatile four-back rushing attack and occasional Berkley passes to spread the field. Bellevue totaled 312 yards to Beechwood's 166. The second-half difference was startling: 163 yards to 65. Beechwood's huge linemen usually wear down teams after halftime.

        “Even though we're small, we're strong,” Berkley said.

        Said senior linebacker Joey Grainger: “Size ain't everything. We've got quickness.”

        Bellevue broke through with a 68-yard scoring march late in the first quarter. Berkley, flushed from the pocket and rolling left, found Sonny Rechtin in a crowd of defenders for a 10-yard touchdown strike.

        A 10-play drive set up Bellevue's second score, Russell Madden's 25-yard field goal, which made it 10-0 with 3:52 left in the half.

        Beechwood suffered when Adam Robb missed a 24-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half. Then Bellevue capitalized on a rare case of slippery fingers by Ben List, Beechwood's star senior tailback. He fumbled on three consecutive carries early in the second half, losing two of them.

        The latter of those gave Bellevue possession at the Beechwood 8. Two plays later, James Delaney ran in from 2 yards out, and it was 17-0 with a minute left in the third quarter.

        “They outplayed us in every phase of the game,” Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle said.

        Two years ago, Bellevue was 2-8. Now, possibly, it's the state's best small-school team.

        “It's truly amazing,” Berkley said. “It's all the coaches, them taking us from 2-8 to where we are now. This is the greatest feeling in the world.”

        Beechwood ....... 0  0  0  0— 0

        Bellevue ....... 7  3  7  0—17

        Bell—Rechtin 10 pass from Berkley (Madden kick)

        Bell—Madden 25 FG

        Bell—Delaney 3 run (Madden kick)

        Records: Bellevue 7-0 (2-0 dist.), Beechwood 5-2 (1-1).

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Aiken 30, Taft 0
Anderson 14, Harrison 7
Batavia 20, Bethel-Tate 14
- Bellevue 17, Beechwood 0
Blanchester 44, Clinton-Massie 0
CCD 47, Landmark Christian 7
Chaminade 38, Badin 0
CHCA 42, Clermont Northeastern 18
Dixie Heights 35, Holmes 13
East Central 42, Greensburg 0
Elder, 28, Moeller 18
Finneytown 32, Taylor 0
Harrison County 29, Grant County 12
Highlands 49, Scott 21
Indian Hill 33, Reading 7
Kings 49, Ross 16
Lakota East 28, Colerain 25
Lakota West 23, Hamilton 14
Lebanon 41, Goshen 7
Lexington Bryan Station 63, Simon Kenton 14
Lexington Henry Clay 56, Boone County 28
Loveland 44, Norwood 29
Ludlow 51, Dayton 13
Madeira 28, Mariemont 25
Mason 31, Northwest 7
Mason Co. 41, Newport 26
McNicholas 28, Purcell Marian 7
Milford 17, Princeton 10
New Richmond 35, Hillsboro 6
Newport Central Catholic 45, Holy Cross 23
North College Hill 27, Lockland 13
Oak Hills 33, Trotwood Madison 23
Roger Bacon 23, Alter 21
Ryle 25, Franklin County 20
St. Xavier 31, La Salle 10
Summit 34, New Miami 0
Sycamore 28, Middletown 15
Talawanda 23, Franklin 13
Turpin 14, Amelia 6
Valley View 63, Middletown Madison 10
Walnut Hills 44, Woodward 8
Western Hills 40, Withrow 0
Williamsburg 68, Western Brown 21
Winton Woods 32, Glen Este 15
Wyoming 32, Deer Park 6