LEWISTOWN - What a turnaround season for the Belleville Lions midget football team in 2012.
Last season, the Lions were winless in eight games.
However, this season, the scrappy group from Belleville finished its season in the opposite direction, winning all of its game including its Sunday night primetime battle against the Midd-West Black Mustangs in the Central Keystone Football and Cheer League's Midget Super Bowl.
In the end, the defense led the way, holding off numerous Midd-West drives deep in its own territory, resulting in the 27-0 shutout in favor of Belleville.
"These kids have a lot of heart," Belleville coach Reed Henderson said. "Pretty much the core of this team is back from last year's 0-8 season. The guys came back and wanted to work hard and we got some kids that moved up this year and they just never give up and never say die. They worked all season for it. They deserved it they are a good football team."
Die hard football purists would have love the way the game started out as both team's defense played some old-fashioned smash-mouth style play, resulting in just one score in the half.
Starting at the first possession of the game until the final minutes of the second quarter, the defense ruled the field.
But a big play by the Belleville running back Tyler Bedelyon ended the shutout as he blazed his way to a 27-yard touchdown run. With the PAT, Belleville went into the intermission, leading 7-0.
Bedelyon muscled and busted his way to over a 100-yard rushing effort.
On the other side, the Mustangs got a strong rushing effort by a determined Cameron Snook, who also muscled his way to over 100 yards on the ground in a losing effort.
"All season we played tough. We played these guys earlier in the season, it was a hard fought game. We just came out on the short of the stick then as we did tonight. But I'm proud of them. I couldn't be more proud of them. We played a good football game and just couldn't get it in the end zone," said Midd-West coach Rob Swang.
Belleville started to turn up the pressure on both sides of the ball in the second half, rolling for 20 unanswered points.
Four plays into the third quarter, Midd-West's fortunes took a turn for the worse when Logan Wise picked up a partially blocked punt and scorched his way around the right end for a 47-yard touchdown.
After holding Midd-West on a 12-play drive deep in Lion territory, Belleville used the momentum and turned a possible Mustang scoring drive to a Lions' score.
With a fourth down defensive stand, the Lions went on a drive of their own. Ten plays later, Bedelyon got the call from three yards out, upping the lead to 21-0.
Defense got into the scoring as well late in the game.
As the Mustangs faced a first down on its own eight, the defense forced a fumble in the end zone and it was recovered by Wise, ending the scoring at 27-0.