Bentworth overcomes early mistakes to down Avella, 19-14
ELLSWORTH — Whether it was the excitement of Homecoming or a new defensive scheme installed by the Bentworth coaches, something sparked the Bearcats Friday night.
Either way, Bentworth stormed out and shut down Avella while racking up more than 300 yards of offense.
Led by three touchdowns from workhorse Dom Wytovich, the Bearcats (1-4, 1-2) handed their fans and coach Ron Skiles a 19-14 win over the Eagles (1-4, 1-2), a Black Hills Conference rival.
“We worked very hard on tackling this week,” said Skiles, whose team equalled its win total from 2002. “We got back to some basics with drills on bags and people.”
Determined to play great offense and defense, Bentworth almost forgot about special teams. Avella took advantage of that and got on the board twice after the opening kickoff.
After forcing Bentworth to a three-and-out situation on its first drive, Avella sophomore lineman Terry Jacobs blocked Nick Wormaster’s ensuing punt, which set up a 2-yard touchdown run up the gut from senior halfback Joe Ayre.
Avella then forced the Bearcats to another three-and-out situation. Though Wormaster got the punt away, the special teams broke down again as junior Mark Amaismeier retruned the kick 71 yards for the second score in seven minutes. Just like that, Bentworth seemed to be in for another long night.
However, the Bearcats settled down and answered on the next series.
Sophomore quarterback Travis Harff hooked up with Wytovich for a 53-yard touchdown pass down the sidelines.
The game appeared to have the makings of a shoot out — an all-too-familiar situation for Bentworth. However, the Bearcats proceded to score 19 unanswered points and buckled down on defense and special teams.
After Harff left the game with an injury, Wytovich took over the ballgame. After Avella turned the ball over on downs, Wytovich scored on 39-yard scamper around left end.
However, the senior wasn’t done there. Wytovich finished the scoring by hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Lloyd Williamson.
From there, the defense took over. The Bearcats held the Eagles to under 100 yards rushing and forced five turnovers. The game was sealed when Wytovich intercepted a Bob Somplatsky pass with just about a minute remaining.
Wytovich finished the game with 221 yards of total offense, two interceptions, and the three scores.
Avella, meanwhile, was limited to just 180 total yards.
Skiles explained that the key was changing the defensive scheme this week.
“We were able to play much better defense this week,” Skiles said. “We started penetrating up field. That’s what we needed to do all along.”
Bentworth will continue Black Hills Conference play Friday at Sto-Rox, while Avella hosts Beth-Center.