Eagles Football Falls To Second-Half Rally
(Posted October 1, 2005)
Albright 42, Juniata 23
Huntingdon, Pa. ? Despite jumping out to a 16-point first-half lead and getting another solid rushing performance from junior running back Duane J. Ehredt Jr., (Bellwood-Antis/Tyron) the Juniata College football team could not hold off visiting Albright College as the Eagles suffered a 42-23 loss in Middle Atlantic Conference play at Knox Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped Juniata to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in conference action, while the Lions remained unbeaten with a record of 4-0 overall and 3-0 in conference action.
The first 28 minutes of the contest completely belonged to Juniata as the Eagles executed their game plan nearly to perfection. Ehredt Jr. rushed for 134 yards in the first half, as the Eagles held possession for nearly 20 minutes to keep Albright?s offense off the field. Juniata held the Lions to 29 yards in the first quarter, and only 182 for the half. But in the final 30 minutes the visitors were able to score 35 points and piled up 427 yards of offense, and then held off a late Juniata rally.
It was a Juniata special teams play that gave the Blue and Gold an early lead. After a fumble by Albright quarterback John Port left the Lions pinned back near their own goal line, Troy Beaver (Bellwood-Antis/Bellwood) burst through and blocked the Albright punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Juniata then took the ball after the free kick following the safety and marched downfield on six plays for its first touchdown of the game. Ehredt Jr. broke off a 33-yard run to move to the two-yard line, and then Jay Leonard (Big Spring/Newville) found Tom Kimmel (South Range/Canfield, Ohio) in the corner of the end zone to put the Eagles up 8-0. Dan Heinlein?s (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) point after gave the Eagles a 9-0 edge.
A Juniata fumble deep in its own territory gave Albright its? best scoring chance of the game, as the Lions took over first-and-goal at the seven. But Juniata?s defense held, helped by several offensive penalties on the Lions, and forced a turnover on downs.
Juniata took that momentum and marched down the field on a 15-play 90-yard drive to add to the lead. The drive featured a 32-yard connection between Leonard and Lance Tippett and a 22-yard pass to Jason Koch (Kutztown/Kutztown). Finally, Ehredt Jr. powered the ball in from the 1-yard line to cap the drive. The Heinlein point made it 16-0 Eagles.
Juniata again forced a turnover on downs on Albright?s next possession, but couldn?t capitalize. Albright then began to find the offensive rhythm that made it dangerous in the second half as Port drove the visitors 74 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive with a 13-yard scoring pass to Bryon Haupt to put the Lions on the board. Dustin Kaplan?s kick made the score 16-7 Juniata just 33 seconds before halftime.
The teams traded punts on the first two possessions of the second half, and then Juniata forced a turnover on Albright?s second time with the ball as Matt Schmidt (South Western/Hanover) nabbed his fifth interception of the season.
The Lions forced a Juniata punt after the interception, and then seemed to find the rhythm on the offense. Port found Andy Sorice for a 57-yard completion, which was followed by an 11-yard scoring run for Vincent Andrew to cap a three-play 80-yard drive. The extra point cut Juniata?s lead to 16-14.
The drive started a run in which Albright scored on five-consecutive possessions to surge in front. The next drive came late in the third quarter and ended with Raymond Keshel plunging in from the one to give the Lions a lead. The point after put the visitors in front 21-16.
Port stayed hot on the next drive, hitting five passes to move to help move the Lions 83 yards in 13 plays. The drive ended with Drew Schiller going in from the one, and with Kaplan?s point after, the visitors took a 28-16 lead with 10:23 left in the game.
Juniata then mounted a comeback as they took the ball on the ensuing possession. Leonard hit a pair of long completions to Tippett to move into Albright territory, and then threw his second scoring pass of the game, this one to David Nicklaus (Lampeter Stasburg/Lancaster) to cut into the Albright lead. The extra point pulled Juniata to within five with 7:34 to go.
But that was as close as the Eagles would get. The Juniata defense forced a third-and-10 on Albright?s next possession but Port hit Jordan McCauley for 26 yards to get the first down, and the Lions scored two plays later on a 33-yard rush from Keshel to take a commanding lead.
Albright added one more score after a poor Juniata punt gave the visitors the ball at the Eagles? 29. Drew Schiller went in from five yards out for the final touchdown.
Ehredt Jr. finished the game with 164 rushing yards on 41 carries. Leonard had the best game of his young Juniata career as he went 13-for-25 for 180 yards and two scores.
Port finished 32-of-40 in passing for 385 yards and a touchdown. Keshel gained 136 yards rushing for the Albright attack and had a pair of touchdowns.
Tippett was Juniata?s top receiver as he caught three passes for a career-high 102 yards. Koch and Jon Ruch (Quakertown/Quakertown) each also had three receptions.
Haupt led all players with seven receptions in the game. Sorice had a team-high 83 yards receiving for the Lions who had eight different players with at least one reception.
Jesse Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) had an outstanding day punting for Juniata as he averaged 39.5 yards on eight punts, including a 57-yard effort.
Juniata?s defense was led by Peter Thomas (Mechanicsburg/Mechanicsburg) who had a season-high 16 tackles. Justin Armbruster (Conrad Weiser/Stouchsburg) had 13 stops, while Schmidt finished with 10 tackles, one for a loss, and an interception. Josh Roy (Northern Lebanon/Fredericksburg) had 10 tackles, including half a sack, along with three pass breakups.
Albright had Pete Manotti and Muhammed Siddiq each post a team-best seven tackles, while Manotti also had an interception.
Juniata looks to earn its first win of the season next Saturday as the Eagles take on Susquehanna in Selinsgrove. Albright will welcome Widener to Reading as the Lions look to stay unbeaten.
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