By Kenny Varner
MIFFLINTOWN – It was a tale of two halves Friday night at Klingensmith Stadium where Juniata hosted Line Mountain.
The Eagles held the advantage early but Juniata rallied in the second half, taking the 14-10 victory.
“They were keying in on our defensive line and doing something so we did have to make some major adjustments. We put an extra lineman down on the field which helped stop the run,” said Juniata coach Kurt Condo talking about the adjustments his team made at halftime. “Offensively, it had nothing to do with X’s and O’s. It had to do with execution. And wanting to execute the blocks. We challenged them at halftime to come out in the second half and play better football without errors. They did that.”
Coming into their contest against Juniata Friday, the Line Mountain Eagles came in sporting a strong running game led by Ian Bates 110-yards per game average.
The Indians, who have been stingy on defense against the run proved that the contest would be a battle of wills.
Early on it would be the Eagles running game that would come out strong, posting 86-yards rushing in the first half.
Forty-two of those would come from Bates.
However, after the intermission, the Indians made the proper adjustments and kept the running game in check as the Eagles were only were able to 16 total yards in the second half and no first downs.
It would be running back by committee as the Indians would run five different running backs at Line Mountain, grinding out 107 yards on the ground.
Seth Laub led the way with 38 while teammate Heath Hutchinson followed closely behind with 33.
Coming out of the half, the Indians and Eagles exchanged punts before the Indians would start to wear down Line Mountains’ defense.
Juniata would start on its own 30 on its second possession.
The Indians worked the ball downfield on five running plays that put them at the Eagles’ 34.
On second down, quarterback Aaron Kanagy, who threw for 157 yards, found Makih Hunt in a 31-yard hook up, putting the ball at the Eagles three.
Kanagy would get it to the one yard line, trying to score on a quarterback keeper.
One the next play, Laub would get the nod and bust his way into the end zone, for the 1-yard TD run. With the successful PAT, the Indians cut the score to within three at 10-7.
Defensively, Juniata would make a statement on the next Line Mountain possession when Caleb Smith would step in front of the Eagles receiver and put the ball back into the hands of his offense via an interception.
The Juniata offense went right back to work, mixing its running attack up.
But it would be a Kanagy pass to Smith that would put the Indians back in scoring position.
They also got some help from roughness penalty as Smith was hit after falling out of bounds, making it a first down at the Eagles 11.
Juniata again got the ball down to the two.
Facing a fourth down and one, Kanagy again called his own number and made the first down, coming up inches short of the go ahead TD.
However, he got it on the next play as he muscled it in from one yard out. With the PAT, the Indians were in control, leading 14-10, with 10:17 left.
That would be all Indians defense would need as it clamped down on the running game and were relentless at the line of scrimmage.
In the first quarter, Line Mountain got on the scoreboard first, when Bates would take the ball and Blaze his way out around the end, for the touchdown with 2:55 left in the first.
Both defenses bent but didn’t break as the game remained a7-point Eagles lead until close to the end of the second quarter.
With the Eagles driving deep into the Indians territory, the Juniata defense held Bates on a crucial 3rd and 3 to force a field goal attempt.
Brayden Boyer was right through the uprights with his kick, connecting on a 29-yard Field goal, 1:19.
Juniata was able to move the ball, posting 73 yards, 70 through the air.
Line Mountain 7 3 0 0 – 10
Juniata 0 0 7 7 – 14
LM – Ian Bates 1-yard run ( Brayden Boyer kick), 2:55
LM – Boyer 29-yard Field goal, 1:19.
JU – Seth Laub 1-yard run (Brandt Walters kick), 2:44
JU – Aaron Kanagy 1-yard run (Walters kick), 10:17.
TEAM STATISTICS LM JU
First downs 6 12
Total Yards 128 228
Rushes-yards. 31-102 37-107
Yards passing 26 121
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 5-7-1 6-14-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-24 6-35
RUSHING: LM – Ian Bates 18-58, Kaiden Maurer 4-1, Quinton Dunkleberger 6-33, Chandon Maurer 3-10. JU – Seth Laub 9-38,Aaron Kanagy 6-10, Caleb Smith 7-11, Talen Barndt 4-5, Jordan Dickinson 3-10, Heath Hutchinson 8-33.
PASSING: LM – Kaiden Maurer 5-7-26. JU -Kanagy 5-15-121.
RECEIVING : JU – Jasper Shepps 1-20, Laub 1-25, Caleb Smith 1-36, Mikah Hunt 1-31.
. LM – Bates 2-7, Dunkelberger 1-3, Chandon Maurer 1-6, Braydon Boyer 1-10.