LEWISTOWN The Kish Indians defense has been a thorn in the side of their Juniata Valley Football League opponents all season.
On the Indians' defensive resume is a handful of shutouts, and a mere three to four touchdowns allowed all season. So when Cody Bickhart showed what he could do offensively on the Indians' first possession, the game was pretty much out of reach for State College.
Bickhart burst through the State College line on a fourth-and-6 in the first quarter and went 80 yards for a touchdown to lead the Kish Indians over the Little Lions 29-0 in the Peewee Super Bowl Saturday evening at Mitchell Field.
Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Kish’s Cody Bickhart (12) carries the ball while a State College defender attempts a tackle during the JVFL Trinity Packaging Corp. Peewee Super Bowl Saturday at Mitchell Field.
It was a day chock full of football for the JVFL. With eight bowl games scheduled, the Indians capped off the Peewee football season in style much to the enjoyment of coach Mike Bickhart.
"We had a great season," he said. "Our kids are the best and this is one of the best groups I've ever had. They worked hard for the last three and a half months."
This game was a rematch from earlier in the season. In that battle, Kish went on to defeat State College 36-6. That was the first time a team has beaten State College in the last three years.
"We just played well," Bickhart said. "The kids and the parents were great. I can't say enough about it and we wanted this championship. We turned around and won it this year."
Things started well for State College after they began the game with a 30-yard drive into Indian territory. But the drive stalled from there and Kish took over.
But it didn't take long for the bulbs on Mitchell Field's scoreboard to change under the home team. Following three plays in which the Indians gained only four yards, Bickhart was the beneficiary of a huge hole in the State College defense.
The Kish running back then did the rest. He busted out to the right side and outran the entire State College defense. When he crossed the goal line there wasn't a Little Lion within 20 yards of him. It was an 80-yard touchdown, and that's all the Kish defense would need.
"I think our defense has only given up 14 points all year," Bickhart said. "We gave up more yards tonight than we have all year though."
But from that point on, the State College defense picked up and both the teams were battling for field position. The Indians took a 6-0 lead into the break, just one play from a tied ballgame.
Things changed for Kish in the second half. The offense found its footing, and on the Indians' second possession of the second half, Bickhart once again found the end zone this time from 24 yards out. Trey Kibe added the conversion to put the Indians up 14-0.
Kish forced a turnover on downs near the end of the third quarter to get the ball back and to continue driving.
Kibe picked up a crucial fourth-and-1 from the Little Lions' 37. Then, Luke Torquato did the rest with a 33-yard touchdown. The Indians got the edge and picked up a key block from Kibe to spring him past the State College defense. Gabe Daubert found Brody Schnell in the end zone for the points after.
With the game pretty much out of reach with four minutes to play for State College, the Indians were still dialing up the pressure on defense.
Jayden Jackson picked up his second of two sacks on the next State College possession. Two plays later, Kibe recovered a fumble to give the ball back to Kish.
And with the Indians up 22-0 with two minutes to play, Kish was happy to just run out the clock. But as the backups came on to the field, it was easy to see that wasn't going to happen.
Brennan Pennington busted up the middle and then broke to the outside for 30 yards and another Kish touchdown with 43 ticks remaining on the Mitchell Field clock.
The earlier Peewee bowl games finished as follows: Mount Union Little Trojans 37, McVeytown Knights 25; East Juniata Little Tigers 14, Lewistown Panthers 0; Little Mingoes 34, Belltown Bobcats 7.