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Eagles Fall Despite Solid Defensive Effort

(Posted September 18, 2004)

Paul Evans nabbed his first interception of 2004 which led to a Juniata touchdown in the Eagles 12-7 loss to Delaware Valley.

Delaware Valley 12, Juniata 7

Doylestown, Pa. ? A solid defensive effort was not enough for the Juniata College football team as Adam Knoblauch tossed a pair of scoring passes to hand Juniata a 12-7 loss on a wet Saturday afternoon in Doylestown. Juniata fell to 0-3 on the year with the loss and 0-2 in the conference, while Delaware Valley is now 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the MAC.

On a day when adverse weather prevented either offense from maintaining any productivity, Delaware Valley back Steve Cook rushed 30 times for a career-high 145 yards to help the home team control the ball in the second half and hold on for the victory

The Eagle defense set the tone early in the game in what would be a tough defensive struggle on a wet, sloppy field. After a Jesse Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) punt forced Delaware Valley to start a drive at its own three-yard line, Juniata?s defense made the first big play of the day when senior cornerback Paul Evans (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) set-up Juniata in good field position with an interception, and return to the Aggie five-yard line early in the first quarter.

Jeffrey Hayes (Indian Valley/Lewistown) then put Juniata in front 6-0 with a seven-yard scoring scamper. Dan Heinlein (Bishop Carrol/Ebensburg) added the point after to put the Eagles on top 7-0.

The tide began to turn in the second quarter as Delaware Valley quarterback Adam Knoblauch converted three third down situations and a fourth and short to lead the team on long scoring drive. The drive was capped as Knoblauch hit David Carmon with a scoring pass in the back corner of the end zone to make the score 7-6. A mishandled snap cost Delaware Valley its first attempt at the point after, but a roughing penalty gave them another shot. Juniata held again to keep the lead at 7-6.

The Aggie defense then posted a big play as Rob Wilkins sacked Hayes at the eight-yard line and forced a fumble which he recovered. After an illegal block penalty moved the ball back to the 18, Knoblauch hit Don Marshall for his second 18-yard scoring strike of the game. Another missed two-point conversion attempt left the score 12-7 in favor of the home team with two minutes remaining in the first half. The scoring pass was the 52nd of Knoblauch?s career, which established a new Delaware Valley career record. The junior signal-caller finished 11-for-33 for 113 yards and two scoring passes.

The second half saw both defenses assert themselves as neither team was able to establish offensive consistency. Delaware Valley turned to junior running back Steve Cook to carry the offense. Cook carried the ball 21 times for 124 yards in the second half as the Aggies controlled the clock and field position.

Juniata?s best chances to mount a comeback came via the team?s defense. Zach Shatto (West Perry/Sherman?s Dale) picked off a Knoblauch pass mid-way through the fourth quarter and returned it to the Delaware Valley 40. Then after another three and out, the Eagle defense forced a fumble to stall a drive and give its offense another chance, but the Aggie defense was up to the task and stifled the Juniata offense again.

For the game the Aggies held Juniata to 72 yards of total offense, while the Eagle defense limited one of the top offenses in the MAC to 271 yards of offense.

Hayes finished the game 10-of-34 for 63 yards. Jason Koch (Kutztown/Kutztown) caught three passes for 34 yards to lead Eagle receivers.

Matt Garner (Bellwood-Antis/Tyrone) paced the solid Eagle defensive effort with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Peter Thomas (Mechanicsburg/Mechanicsburg) added eight tackles and a sack, while Evans and Shatto each posted interceptions.

Andrew Erby was tops on the Aggies with 11 tackles. Clint LaStella made six stops, while Wilkins finished with three tackles and two sacks. Kevin Bliss intercepted his first pass of the season.

Juniata will have a week off as the team will make use of its bye week. Delaware Valley will play at MAC foe Susquehanna.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.