By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
BEAVER SPRINGS — Trey Campbell may have found a second home in Beaver Springs.
The Upper Dauphin running back was a workhorse for the Trojans, carrying the ball for 265 yards and four touchdowns on 48 attempts.
With Campbell leading the way, Upper Dauphin defeated East Juniata, 33-22, in a Tri-Valley League matchup Friday night.
“The line gave me holes and I just hit them and left,” Campbell said.
East Juniata held a seven-point lead at halftime, 22-15, behind the play of David Brantley under center.
“(East Juniata) is an improved team and they had us on our heels there a little bit in the first half,” Upper Dauphin head coach Brent Bell said.
Bell credited the play of his offensive line and that of fullback Cole Reed, helping to open holes for Campbell to run through.
After throwing an interception on their first possession of the game, the Trojans (5-3, 4-3 TVL) stuck the ball in the hands of their senior ball-carrier and Campbell found consistent running room regardless of which side of the field he ran to or the position on the field.
Campbell explained that he is trying to raise his level of play in the second half, which could be a frightening thought for opposing defenses after a 265-yard day on the ground.
Campbell’s play on the ground somewhat overshadowed a game that was far from over late in the fourth quarter.
After Campbell scored with 3:06 left in the game, finding the end zone for the fourth time, to give the Trojans an 11-point lead, the ensuing kickoff became interesting.
Regardless of whether Madison Crum-Burger intended to kick the ball short and have the pigskin roll around the Tigers’ 35, the kick worked to perfection.
East Juniata (2-6, 1-6) tried to fall on the live ball to keep hopes of a comeback alive but were unable to secure the ball and the Trojans pounced to take possession.
With a two-score lead and the ball with under three minutes to play, the Trojans fed Campbell repeatedly to melt the remaining clock.
Clinging to a one-point lead midway through the third quarter, another fumble by the Tigers proved to be costly after the Tigers had started to put together a drive.
East Juniata head coach Simon Cameron pointed to the pair of lost fumbles for the Tigers as the downfall in a tight game.
While the field position forced the Trojans to travel 71 yards to score, Campbell put his teammates on his back to reach the end zone.
Shaking off a holding penalty that drove the Trojans inside their own 20-yard line, Campbell lowered his shoulders to quickly erase the yardage before later scoring on a three-yard scamper to regain the lead for Upper Dauphin, 27-22.
With both teams trading picks on the opening two series, the Trojans kept the ball on the ground after forcing a punt, finding immediate success.
Using a combination of Campbell and Mac Ney to drive the ball deep into Tigers’ territory, Campbell finished the drive in the end zone, clawing his way in from eight yards out.
Not to be outdone, Brantley could have slowly moved the ball down the field but decided to answer quickly.
Brantley connected with Kevin Allen on a deep pass down the right sideline to move the ball down to the Upper Dauphin 28. Brantley called his own number on the next play, breaking tackles and outracing the defense to put the ball in the end zone.
Brantley ran in the two-point conversion on a faked extra-point attempt, receiving a pitch and finding the pylon.
After Ney benefitted from a short field after a punt to put the Trojans back in front, Brantley showed that his first touchdown was not a fluke.
Taking the ball out of the shotgun, Brantley broke tackles, ran to open space and scampered 45 yards for a touchdown on the ground to tie the game at 15.