By Sarah Whitesel
For The Daily Item
BEAVER SPRINGS —
It had been 16years since cross-county rivals Juniata and East Juniata had faced off in football, and so the intensity was high Friday night when the Tigers hosted the Indians. But, despite the hype, the Tigers were unable to come up with answers in the Tri-Valley League matchup, and ended up losing to the Indians, 42-6, on Friday night.
Juniata's quarterback Neil Bodley was a large determining factor in the Tiger's loss. With 145 rushing yards and four of the Indians' six touchdowns, Bodley was nearly unstoppable, but it wasn't just a one man show. The Indians came out as a strong front from the beginning with Bodley scoring on a 3-yard run on the first drive.
On the second of the ensuing drive, drive East Juniata's Logan Hambright broke through Juniata's line for a 13 yard rush, but then Juniata's defense closed in to shut down the Tigers. After three more short runs, the Tigers were at fourth and seven from their own 36, but were unable to make the conversion and lost the ball on downs.
"We had a couple things not break our way early, and it kind of broke our kids and things kind of went downhill," East Juniata coach Simon Cameron said.
After this loss of possession, with the Indians now in good position on the Tigers' 36 yard line, the momentum which was already leaning in Juniata's direction went full tilt in favor of the Indians. This was evident when after a 13 yard run from Chad Eberle, and a 20 yard run from Scott Sneath, the Indians were only three yards from another touchdown, which Bodley topped off with 4:32 left to play in the first quarter.
"We played like a machine. I told the boys we were the better team, and to come out and bring our 'A' game and play disciplined football, and control the ball, and they did. It was a good win," Juniata coach Gary Klingensmith said.
The Indians put together four consecutive scoring drives in the second quarter, leading to what not only was an impressive show of offense, but what was more importantly a 42-0 lead.
"They (East Juniata) were all ganged up for the run, no doubt about it. But we ran anyway," Klingensmith said.
Of Juniata's four second quarter touchdowns, three were scored on rushing plays. The odd one out was scored by Scott Sneath, after he recovered an East Juniata fumble on the Tigers' own 17 yard line.
But if Juniata dominated the game, it wasn't for lack of a plan from the Tigers.Cameron said their plan from the beginning had been to stop Juniata's rushing game - they just weren't quite able to pull through on that end.
"My goal was to limit (Juniata) about five yards a clip because they do make mistakes - they had a fumble. Their passing's not that good, and if my DB was back we could usually pick one off. We were prepared, we just didn't execute," Cameron said.
On the offensive end for the Tigers, David Brantley, Logan Hambright and Caleb Gehman lead the attack. Each contributed significantly to East Juniata's total yardarge, and it was from Brantley and Gehman long runs in East Juniata's only scoring drive which led up to a four yard run into the end zone from Austin Bennet with 2:28 left in the final quarter.
Another offensive opportunity for East Juniata occurred after Brandon Love returned a Juniata kick from the Tigers' five yard line all the way to the end zone, but the play was called back after an illegal block, and the Tigers were unable to make anything of the drive.
In fact, it was penalties such as these that Cameron cited as part of the reason his team was unable to put together much offense.
"The penalties killed us. We had a couple plays set up, but then whenever the penalty happened they saw what play we were running. We can't afford the penalties," Cameron said.
Clearly, it was a frustrating game for East Juniata. But from Juniata's perspective, it was a great way to keep up its good momentum.
"I think we've got to keep getting better and better. We have Upper Dauphin next week and then Millersburg, I think, and hopefully everybody stays healthy. That's big. Our goal is to have a seven win season and get in the playoffs," Klingensmith said.