For The Daily Item
MILLERSBURG — When East Juniata Coach Simon Cameron speaks about momentum, he knows what he is talking about.
The Tigers invaded Millersburg on Friday night intent to destroy the hopes the Indians had of winning on their homecoming and Senior Appreciation Night.
And East Juniata was actually in a close tilt, losing by just 14-6, with six-tenth of a second to go before the half.
Then the unthinkable happened. With less than a second to go, the Indians were on their own 39 yard-line. Quarterback Christian Wingard dropped back, evaded the Tiger pass rush and launched a beautiful pass to Mark Simpkins. Simpkins made the catch and hauled an East Juniata defensive back over the goal line to give Millersburg a 15-point lead at the intermission.
The pass broke the will of the Tigers, who gave up two consecutive one-play scoring drives in the second half en route to a 41-6 loss on the road.
“We are pretty deep in the depth chart right about now,” said Cameron.
“This is high school football and in high school its all about momentum.”
East Juniata had the momentum early. After missing a field goal try on the first possession, the Tigers marched right back on their second possession. With Colton Snook and Mason Hambright leading the way on the ground, East Juniata found itself with a second down on the 33 yard-line of Millersburg.
Quarterback Reed Bruner gunned the ball over the outstretched fingertips of Millersburg’s secondary and Kevin Allen made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone. The kick was blocked, but the Tigers had a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After a nice kick return by Austin Lehman gave the Indians the ball at the Tigers 45 yard line, a methodical drive ended in Connor Keim’s seven-yard burst for a touchdown.
Wingard’s kick made it 7-6 Millersburg and the Indians would not relinquish the lead.
Wingard completed just seven out of 11 attempts, but managed to rack up 281 yards of passing. He hit two consecutive pass attempts in the second half for 64 and 62 yards, respectively, both scoring plays. The first went to Alex Frederick and the second to Austin Lehman.
“No question momentum hurt us there,” said Cameron. “We have a lot of young kids and they didn’t step up. Millersburg did.”
Hambright was a bright spot for the Tigers. The freshman played tailback and quarterback for East Juniata.
He rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries and was 2-for-2 in the passing game.