Another big night for Devin Whitlock leads Belle Vernon to another win over Trinity

Friday, October 16, 2020 | 11:03 PM

Belle Vernon Area’s yearly dominance over Trinity continued Friday night at Hillers Stadium.

The Leopards scored 50-plus points for the second week straight and forced six turnovers in a convincing 52-14 victory over the Hillers in Big 8 Conference play.

With the victory, BVA (5-1, 5-1) has won 13 consecutive meetings with Trinity (3-3, 2-3) dating to 2008.

“We knew they were going to be tough, and we knew this was going to be the second best competition we’ve had since TJ,” BVA head coach Matt Humbert said. “I was proud of the way the kids answered that challenge. We tried to make things tough on them all week in practice. We tried to prep them, and the most gratifying thing about tonight was how they answered that challenge of just coming out and playing physical and playing nasty.”

Quarterback/defensive back Devin Whitlock scored five touchdowns, rushing for three (15, 78 and 9 yards), passing for one (45 yards) and notching another while returning an interception (77 yards).

Whitlock, who had two picks on defense, rushed for 137 yards on nine carries. He completed four of nine passes for 98 yards.

“We had him rolling a bit tonight, and we didn’t really run him a ton,” Humbert said. “I feel like if we really would have put the ball in his hands every other play, he could have easily racked up a couple more touchdowns and more yardage.

“He did what he needed to do. He managed the offense and did a good job of it.”

Trinity got off to a good start, forcing BVA to punt on its first possession.

On the first play of the Hillers’ opening drive, Micah Finley broke out for a 43-yard run, allowing the home squad to march into enemy territory. Six plays later, Trinity capitalized in the red zone on a fourth-and-1 as quarterback Connor Roberts took it in for a 4-yard touchdown run. The point-after attempt by Dante DeRubbo gave the Hillers a quick 7-0 advantage.

“They hit us with a trap early on. It was a good call by them because you’re not going to have too many teams starting a game off with a drive running a trap,” Humbert said. “They caught us in it.”

BVA didn’t punt again in the first half as it struck for scores on its next four possessions.

Just over four minutes after Trinity took the early lead, the Leopards answered as Whitlock finished a nine-play, 57-yard drive with a 15-yard TD run.

Whitlock connected with Ian Maloney for a 45-yard touchdown pass on BVA’s next possession. Whitlock found Maloney near the far sideline, and the senior wideout did the rest, finding the end zone to put the Leopards ahead 14-7 with 1:33 left in the first quarter.

On BVA’s first possession of the second, Quinton Martin made his presence felt.

The freshman, who added a 20-yard score in the second half, rushed for a 28-yard TD two plays after Dane Anden went down with an apparent lower body injury.

Anden had 10 carries for 73 yards before his second-quarter exit. Martin had five carries for 68 yards.

“I have never put that much stock or faith in a 14-year-old kid, but every week he just impresses me with his level or maturity,” Humbert said of Martin. “He is just special in every aspect.”

On the Hillers’ next drive, they looked primed to answer back, driving to BVA’s 20-yard line.

On fourth-and-8, Roberts let go of a pass that was picked off in the end zone by Jake Haney.

Whitlock made them pay on the second play of the Leopards’ ensuing possession, hustling his way into the end zone on a 78-yard run.

He added his 77-yard pick-six on Trinity’s next possession, putting BVA ahead 34-7.

Trinity added another score late in the second quarter as Roberts hit Peyton Thompson for a 16-yard TD.

Roberts completed 14 of 29 passes for 207 yards in the loss. He threw five interceptions.

BVA added three rushing scores in the third quarter before a scoreless final 12 minutes.

Whitlock had his 9-yarder before a 20-yard TD by Martin and a 3-yard scamper by Ryan Hamer.

Joining Whitlock and Haney with interceptions for BVA were Logan Cunningham and Jackson Jewell.

The Leopards also recovered a fumble in the second half.

“I’m happy with the end result, and I’m proud of the kids,” Humbert said. “I’m blessed that we really have two weeks to get ready for the playoffs.”

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