Saturday, November 20, 1999

Beechwood 35, Bellevue 0

Enquirer contributor

Beechwood's Matt Mercer has a grip on Bellevue's James Delaney.
(Jeff Swinger photos)
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        Like a sign of things to come, the rain put a damper on Bellevue's state title dreams Friday night. Then Beechwood dragged them through the mud.

        Using its size advantage to put on a classic show of power football, Beechwood shut out Bellevue 35-0 in a Class A regional championship game before a standing-room only crowd that endured steady rain in Gilligan Stadium.

        “They just beat us, lined up in double tight end formation and took it to us,” Bellevue coach Charlie Coleman said. “Their size was such a factor.”

        Bellevue was enjoying a dream season, 12-0 and ranked No.1 in Class A. Beechwood, the perennial heavyweight among Northern Kentucky small schools, was ranked No.2 and had earlier this season lost 17-0 to Bellevue.

Bellevue's Chad Montgomery is sandwiches between Josh Kaiser and Ben List.
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        “We wanted this, wanted it bad,” Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle said. “We feel like we beat a great team tonight. After that first game, we got back to work. We felt we couldn't let them beat us twice in one year.”

        Beechwood ran behind an offensive line averaging 265 pounds per man. The key benefactor was quarterback Ben List, who attempted only one pass, but ran 23 times for 148 yards, including Beechwood's first three TDs.

        “I was kind of worried about how it might affect us,” said a mud-caked List of the weather. “But we knew we had to play power football.”

        Field position was a major factor. Beechwood's drives in the first half began on average at their own 42-yard line, compared to Bellevue's average starting position inside its own 20.

        Beechwood used a 12-play drive to cover 57 yards for its first score, which came on a spinning, 7-yard run by List on the second play of the second quarter.

        Two possessions later, Beechwood again covered 57 yards, this time in 11 plays, with List scoring on a 15-yard run. Kicker Adam Robb ap peared to slip on the extra point kick, which hit the crossbar and bounced back, leaving the halftime advantage for Beechwood at 13-0.

        On the second play of the second half, List hesitated and then ran a quarterback sneak right through the line and up the right side of the field for a 50-yard TD run.

        “We felt at halftime that we were moving the ball (in the first half),” Bellevue's Coleman said. “But then came that big play on their part. We were trying to play 11 men in the box to stop the run, but that means there's no safety back there.”

        A two-point conversion run by Nick Sketch pushed the lead to 21-0.

        “List is an athlete, a tremendous athlete,” Yeagle said. “He brings us great leadership. But I hate to single out any one guy. When you win 35-0, there are a lot of kids who played hard.”

        Coleman felt defensive tackle Matt Mercer was the key to the Beechwood defense, taking away Bellevue's ability to run to the wide side of the field. Bellevue gained 208 yards of offense in the game.

        Another Beechwood hero was running back Max Mann, who ran nine times for 67 yards, all in the second half, and scored Beechwood's final two TDs.

        Beechwood advances to play host to 12-1 Pikeville next Friday in the Class A state semifinals. Pikeville beat Harlan 33-12 Friday night.

        “We are not satisfied yet,” List said. “We've got two games to go. Anything less than that and we're not going to be satisfied.”

        Beechwood ....... 0  13  15   7—35

        Bellevue ....... 0   0   0   0— 0

        Beech — List 7 run (Robb kick)

        Beech — List 15 run (kick failed)

        Beech — List 50 run (Sketch run)

        Beech — Mann 23 run (Robb kick)

        Beech — Mann 19 run (Robb kick)

        Records: Beechwood 11-2, Bellevue 12-1.


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