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Solid Effort Not Enough For Football In First Outing

(Posted September 3, 2005)

Josh Gulley posted 11 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss and combined on a sack for the Juniata defense in the season opener.

Dickinson 30, Juniata 13

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Juniata College football team showed a number of promising signs in its season-opening contest against non-conference foe Dickinson, but the Eagles could not overcome Dickinson?s rushing attack and some untimely turnovers as they suffered a 30-13 loss at Knox Stadium in Huntingdon Saturday afternoon.

Juniata falls to 0-1 with the loss while the Red Devils jumped to 1-0.

Jerome Igle rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown for Dickinson, while the Red Devils also forced five Juniata turnovers. The Eagles defense limited Dickinson to 360 total yards, but was put in tough positions as the visitors forced five Juniata turnovers.

The visitors got started early as a Michael D?Amico 52-yard scamper set up two-yard scoring from Matt Torchia to Clay Merris on the opening drive of the game. The Matt Stark point after put Dickinson quickly in front 7-0.

Juniata?s defense made the first big play of the game for the Blue and Gold and set-up the first score of the season. After a Dickinson intercepted a Juniata pass to stall the home team?s first drive, Matt Schmidt (South Western/Spring Grove) nabbed his first interception of the season giving the Eagles the ball at the Dickinson 31. After moving the ball to the visitor?s 24, Dan Heinlein (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) drilled a career-long 42-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

Both defenses stood tall for the remainder of the first quarter and into the second stanza. Juniata foiled several Red Devil drives. Dominick Wytovich (Bentworth/Bentleyville) intercepted a pass in the end zone on the opening drive of the second quarter stalling a Red Devil scoring bid. Later in the quarter, Juniata?s defense held strong after a 12 play 39-yard drive, and forced a missed field goal.

Dickinson got back into the end zone on its next possession when Torchia hit Arwin Gbolie for a 33-yard scoring strike. The point after brought the lead to 14-3.
It was then the Dickinson defense that made the next big play as Mike O?Donnell picked off a Jay Leonard (Big Spring/Newville) pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the point-after attempt back to the 17-yard line, and the attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the lead at 20-3.

On the ensuing possession Juniata began to find its rhythm offensively. Dusty Sier (Smithsburg/Smithsburg, Md.) gained 22 and then 13 yards on back-to-back runs to move the ball into Dickinson territory. Leonard then found John Boyer (Indian Valley/Belleville) for an 11-yard hook up to bring the ball to the 19. After three incompletions Heinlein nailed his second field goal of the day, this time from 38 yards to cut the lead to 20-6 just 21 seconds before halftime.

Both defenses again came out strong to open the second half, as neither team could put points on the board in the first five possessions. Juniata?s special teams made a pair of strong plays to give its offense a good opportunity. The first came when Paul Kozick (Trinity/Dillsburg) sniffed out a fake punt and stopped the runner behind the line of scrimmage. The second came when Kiel G. Knisely (Claysburg-Kimmel/Queen) got a piece of a Dickinson punt, giving Juniata the ball at the Red Devil 34. But both Juniata drives came to an end with Andrew Ackley intercepting Juniata passes. Ackley finished with three interceptions on the day.

After Ackley?s third interception Dickinson?s offense took advantage as the Red Devils went 74 yards on seven plays, culminating in a 35-yard Igle touchdown run. The kick from Matt Stark gave the visitors a 27-6 lead with 3:05 left in the third quarter.

Leonard bounced back nicely from the interception as he completed an 18-yard pass to Tom Kimmel (South Range/Canfield, Ohio) and then a 10-yard pass to Jason Koch (Kutztown/Kutztown) on the first two plays of the following drive. But the drive once again ended in Red Devils territory as the Dickinson secondary claimed its fifth interception of the afternoon.

Torchia then orchestrated its final scoring drive as a 30-yard drive ended with a 25-yard Stark field goal and a 30-6 lead.

Juniata then put together its strongest drive of the game following the field goal. Kozick sparked it with a 14-yard run on the first play. Leonard then connected with Lance Tippett (Altoona/Altoona) for 28 yards, moving the ball to the Dickinson seven-yard line. Two plays later, Leonard found Kimmel in the corner of the end zone for the Eagles? first touchdown of the game. The Heinlein point-after cut the lead to 30-13 in favor of Dickinson with 10:01 remaining in the game. Neither team would threaten for the remainder of the game.

Leonard finished his first collegiate start with nine completions on 28 attempts for 115 yards. Kozick paced the Juniata rushing attack as he gained 42 yards on nine carries. Kimmel was the top target for the Blue and Gold as he caught three passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Torchia was 14-for-20 on the day for 119 yards. Scott Dominick caught a team-best three passes, while Gbolie?s 33 receiving yards led the team.

On defense Juniata?s Justin Bell (Littlestown/Hanover) led all players as he recorded 13 tackles. Josh Gulley (Dubois/Luthersburg) notched 11 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss. Peter Thomas (Mechanicsburg/Mechanicsburg) was also in double figures with 10 stops.

Eric Dube was tops on the Dickinson defense with 10 tackles, while Mike O?Donnell had seven tackles, two for a loss, and an interception.

Juniata returns to action next week when the Eagles open their conference schedule at MAC foe Lycoming. Juniata defeated the Warriors 14-7 in Williamsport last season.

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