Football Comeback Comes Up Just Short
(Posted September 9, 2006)
Lycoming 20, Juniata 15 Huntingdon, Pa. ? A 17-point Lycoming College first-half lead was too much for the Juniata College football team to overcome as the Eagles? second-half comeback bid fell short in a 20-15 victory for the Warriors in Middle Atlantic Conference action at Knox Stadium Saturday afternoon. The game was the season opener for Lycoming while Juniata dropped to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in the MAC. It was a tale of two halves in the game as Lycoming raced out to a 17-3 lead at halftime, only to see Juniata answer back with a 12-3 edge in the final 30 minutes. Juniata was out-gained by nearly 100 yards through three quarters but then put up 160 yards of offense in the final quarter to cut into the Warriors edge. The two teams finished with an identical 333 yards of total offense. Lycoming quarterback Glenn Smith finished the game 14-for-26 for 211 yards and a pair of scores, while his Juniata counterpart Jay Leonard (Big Spring/Newville) completed 20-of-52 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Duane J. Ehredt, Jr. (Bellwood-Antis/Altoona) rushed for 109 yards on the day and became just the fifth player in Juniata history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in his career. He now has 2,102 rushing yards for his career. Trailing 20-3 late in the game after trading punts, Juniata then picked up the offense as Leonard marched the Eagles 86 yards in 13 plays for the team?s first touchdown drive of the season. It was capped when Tippett came down with a nine-yard reception in the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 20-9 Lycoming with 4:02 remaining. Juniata forced a stop on Lycoming?s next possession and then moved down the field again, finally getting into the end zone on a one-yard scoring pass from Leonard to Nicklaus with 10 seconds left to pull within five points. The two-point attempt failed again, and Lycoming secured the victory after a Juniata on-side kick attempt was unsuccessful. Early in the game the Warriors defense was the story as the visitors forced either a turnover or a Juniata punt on the first six Eagle possessions. Lycoming?s defense set-up the first score of the game as Vreeland Wood picked off Leonard in the flat and returned it 33 yards to the Juniata 15. The Eagles defense kept the Warriors out of the end zone, but a Mike Monastra 31-yard field goal gave the visiting team a 3-0 lead. The Warriors added to that edge on their next possession as Smith repeatedly found receivers on third down. The senior quarterback was 4-for-4 on third down passes on the drive, with the final one coming as he found Bill Margetich for an 11-yard scoring pass. The Monastra point after gave the visitors a 10-0 edge with five seconds left in the first quarter. After forcing another punt from Juniata, the Warriors offense faced a long field after a stop for a loss by the Juniata defense and a pair of penalties moved the ball back to the three-yard line. But Smith answered as he found Jeremy Ebert for a 30-yard connection down the sideline, and then two-plays later hooked up with Tony Kopp for a 63-yard score. The point after put Juniata in a 17-0 hole with 8:51 remaining in the first half. Juniata?s defense stiffened for the remainder of the half, and then the offense found its rhythm on the final drive. Ehredt broke off a 20-yard run, and then Leonard found Lance Tippett (Altoona/Altoona) for a 31-yard completion that moved Juniata into field goal range. David Nicklaus? (Lampeter Strasburg/Lancaster) 26-yard field-goal attempt with 10 seconds left hit the right upright and then went through to send Juniata to the locker room down by two touchdowns. Long possessions for each team at the start of the third quarter did not lead to any points as Juniata stopped a fourth-down attempt from the Warriors, and Lycoming forced a Juniata punt after the Eagles had moved into Warriors? territory. Juniata would force the Warriors into another long field as Juniata downed its punt at the one. The Warriors answered with a 17-play, 93-yard drive that took more than eight minutes off the clock and ended with a Monastra 23-yard field goal, giving the Warriors a 20-3 edge. Leonard connected with six different receivers in the contest, with Chad Steiner (Frederick/Frederick, Md.) leading the team with six catches. Tippett was tops with 87-yards receiving in the game. Brandon Traugh carried the ball 24 times for 86 yards for Lycoming, including 17 carries in the second half. Margetich caught a team-high five passes for 47 yards on the day, while Kopp?s 76 receiving yards led the team. Defensively Juniata limited the Warriors to 122 rushing yards and held a second-consecutive opponent to less than 20 points. The Eagles did not hold a single opponent to 20 points or less in all of 2005. Brandon Spayd was the leading tackler for the Eagles as he recorded a game-high 11 tackles, and added a pair of pass break-ups. Nick Reiter (Philipsburg-Osceola/West Decatur) added 10 stops for the Eagles, while Alex Waleski (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) recorded three tackles for a loss. Lycoming was led on defense by Tim Mahoney who posted eight tackles. Dustin Heintselman finished with five tackles and a pass breakup. Matt Georgiana had five tackles including a sack. Juniata will look to get into the win column next Saturday as the Eagles play at Lebanon Valley. Lycoming will host Widener in its first home game of 2006. ###
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