Football

On the GEFA Trail: Bedford County Buffaloes

Tagged under: Gameday Hub, GEFA, News

Guy Smith | March 31, 2024

This season, we decided to go to GEFA 8-man semi-pro football games as many Saturdays as our schedule allows. Two for two. Last week we were at Central Columbia High School for the “Kickoff Classic.” For what GEFA calls “Week 1” of the season we had four game choices. Guy writes a weekly auto racing column for Area Auto Racing News, and he also loves planning our various sporting event visits. The hope is to combine afternoon GEFA football with evening short track racing on most Saturdays.

The race plan for Saturday evening was for Sprint Car racing at the Lincoln Speedway near Hanover. Racing was scheduled for 6:00, and all four GEFA games had 1:00 kickoffs. Since the GEFA league has skewed a bit farther to the west this year, we basically have six “close” teams and five “farther away” teams from our Pocono Mountains home. The choices this week were Williamsport Wildcats @ Somerset County Miners, Moshannon Valley Vikings @ Wilkes-Barre Warriors, Hazleton Mustangs @ Bedford County Buffaloes, or Coal County Nightmare @ Monroeville Titans. Not wanting to take all the “close” teams first and leaving all the “farther away” teams, we picked the Buffaloes, a slightly over three-hour drive.

And what a great choice it was! Their facility and presentation easily exceeded what we had seen at any of the four regular season games that we attended last season.

When any local sporting event offers food concessions, we always try to support them because we understand how much concession profits can help organizations stay afloat. The Bedford County Buffaloes didn’t have refreshments for sale, but they earned professionalism points by answering our advance query so we knew to bring our own sandwiches. They also answered a second question to confirm the address. And they said that they hope to begin offering food for purchase in the future.

This is the third year for the Buffaloes. We were told that the team had previously played their home games at Everett High School. This year they moved to the new stadium at Claysburg-Kimmel High School in Claysburg. The stadium is small compared to the Lehigh Valley high school football stadiums we are used to, but the beautiful facility includes new football, baseball, and softball fields. This was the first regular season GEFA game we had seen at a high school stadium, as three of four last year were in parks and one was at a middle school with minimal seating. None had a working electronic scoreboard or clock.

It was nice to have stadium seating with a perfect view, scoreboard and clock, and a public address announcer. And the announcer was knowledgeable about the 8-man game, having been a former coach in the league for the defunct Flood City Thunder. In addition, the game was streamed live, for free, on Hudl. You can go there and watch the reply. Looks great!

It was the season opener for the Mustangs, while the Buffaloes participated in last week’s Kickoff Classic in Bloomsburg, defeating the Berks County Raptors in the 2nd of three games by a Mercy Rule running clock score of 65-22.

The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and marched down the field with all running plays. They got to within a yard of the end zone before being stuffed.

The Buffaloes were firing on all cylinders and dominated most of the first half on both sides of the ball. Their option running attack and their passing game were working pretty much as diagramed on the chalk board. Nearing the end of the first half, the Buffs were up 40-8 and it looked like they were headed for that 42-point lead needed for running clock for the second week in a row. Up until that point, the Mustangs’ scores were on a conversion return for two and a kickoff return for six. The Mustangs scored a passing TD on the last play of the half only to have it called back for an offensive penalty. They were given one more “untimed down” play, which surprised us as we thought that only happened on defensive penalties. Seems odd that an offensive team that commits an infraction is awarded another chance by GEFA rule. They were, nonetheless, and converted again to make the score Bedford County 40, Hazleton 16 at the half.

Football is a game of momentum and the momentum took a big turn in the third quarter. While the Buffaloes offense stalled, the Mustangs came alive. They took what once was a 32-point deficit and managed to cut it to one score, 46-38 with four and a half minutes still to go in the quarter. Another kickoff return to the house helped their cause.

The Buffs answered and at the end of the third quarter they led 53-38. There was rain on and off, and the rain picked up in the second half. Going into the final quarter, it was still anyone’s game. The Buffaloes offense stayed cold, but the Mustangs could not take advantage. Twice in the quarter they had first and goal, but went nowhere but backwards. In their last chance to get a stop and the ball back, they jumped offside and that was all she wrote. There were no fourth quarter points so the final was 53-38. Very entertaining game! The Buffaloes are now 2-0, tied for the top of the Mountain Division with the Williamsport Wildcats.

This was another long, long GEFA game. With twelve-minute quarters, games should not be lasting well over three hours. Our PA Football News colleague Brian Ptashinski posted a final score of the Wilkes Barre game while this one was still in the third quarter.

Overall, this was easily the most enjoyable regular season GEFA experience we have had to date. In fact, we both felt the past two weeks exceeded the four we went to last season, as GEFA seems to have really upped their overall game this season.

The rain continued and the Sprint Car races at Lincoln Speedway rained out. We ended up watching college basketball while eating wings and spuds at Quaker Steak and Lube in State College.

We are going to try to get to Lincoln Speedway again next Saturday evening, so once again we will look for an afternoon GEFA game. The schedule again shows four choices: Moshannon County Vikings @ Somerset County Miners, Bedford County Buffaloes @ Indiana County Crusaders, Monroeville Titans @ Dauphin County Comanche, and Wilkes Barre Warriors @ Coal County Nightmare.

GUY & PAM 2024 GEFA SCORECARD

Week 0—Kickoff Classic (Central Columbia High School)
Week 1—Bedford County Buffaloes (Claysburg-Kimmel High School)

Coal County Nightmare, Indiana County Crusaders, Dauphin County Comanche, Williamsport Wildcats, Wilkes Barre Warriors, Somerset County Miners, Moshannon Valley Vikings, Hazleton Mustangs, Berks County Raptors, Monroeville Titans

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