By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
ELIZABETHVILLE — At the mid-point of the season, the Upper Dauphin Trojans are not where they would have like to be.
Sporting a 2-3 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the Tri-Valley League, the Trojans have lost three of their last four games.
“We are seeing some positives and, going into the second half of the year, we can build on that and learn from our mistakes,” coach Brent Bells said.
In their three losses, Upper Dauphin has been outscored 67-20.
“All things considered, our attitude is pretty good,” Bell added. “We have been close in some games and we are not getting blown out, so that is something positive to build on.”
During a week-three game against Halifax, the Upper Dauphin special teams accounted for 35 of the 69 points in the TVL win.
“For the most part, special teams have been pretty good,” Bell said. “We spend a lot of time on special teams and we treat every return like a scoring opportunity.”
The Trojans come into Friday’s game sixth in the TVL in scoring (23.6 points per game) while Juniata averages 28.8, second best in the league.
“Juniata is always a strong team and Chad Eberle (TVL’s leading punt returner) is a quick runner and they rely on pulling their linemen,” Bell said. “We have to be disciplined on defense and rely on each other on Friday. We started strong offensively this year but we’ve kind of sputtered as of late,” Bell said. “We have not been able to finish our drives.”
Juniata (2-3, 2-2 TVL) comes into Friday’s game after a 47-44 shutout win over Juniata last week.
Quarterback Tyler Clark is second in the league with a 40.8 percent completion rate with five touchdowns and six interceptions on the year.
Juniata is eighth in the TVL in points allowed per game at 30.6. Eberle has four interceptions.