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CONFERENCE FOOTBALL HONORS DISTRIBUTED

(Posted November 19, 2000)

JUNIATA HAS NINE PLAYERS NAMED TO SQUAD

Huntingdon, PA ? The Juniata College football team had nine representatives on the Middle Atlantic Corporation (MAC) Commonwealth Conference football squads this year, including senior wide receiver Matt Eisenberg (Big Spring/Newvile), senior offensive guard Ray Ghaner (State College/Port Matilda), senior defensive tackle Jeremy Patterson (Danville/Danville), senior inside linebacker Ed Pfursich (Manheim Township/Lititz) and senior punter Brandon Bateman (Laurel Valley/Bolivar), who were all first-team members. In addition, getting nods on the conference?s second unit were senior defensive end Dan Brady (Danville/North Wales), junior quarterback Jamie Campbell (Muncy/Muncy), sophomore cornerback Paul Evans (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) and sophomore wide receiver Nate Leach (Shade/Central City).

Eisenberg, who was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1999, as well as an all-conference first-team pick as a wide receiver in 1998 and 1999 and return specialist in 1998, completed the year ranked first in the MAC in receptions per game (7.0). Eisenberg caught 63 passes this fall for 835 yards and seven touchdowns. He had a season-high 11 snags for 139 yards and two touchdowns during the team?s outing this past Saturday against Widener. Earlier this fall, Eisenberg erupted for 176 yards on nine receptions and a score at Susquehanna, before hauling in eight balls for 109 yards and three touchdowns at Moravian. He ended his career on the College Hill all-time charts first in touchdown receptions (38) (also an MAC record), first in receiving yards (3,500), first in all-purpose yards (5,421) and second in receptions (203).

Ghaner, who was an MAC Commonwealth second-team pick in 1999, provided pass protection for Coach Kevin Burke's offense that finished the year ranked second in the MAC in passing yards per game (269.1). Ghaner started all 40 games that Juniata played during his tenure and also helped the Eagles roll up 347.6 yards an outing this fall. Juniata?s offense produced a season-high 447 yards against Widener and posted 420 yards versus Moravian on October 14.

Patterson picked up first-team laurels from the conference for the second time in his career. He led the Eagle tacklers on the defensive line with 68 total stops, including 33 solo efforts. An amazing number of 19 of his wrap-ups occurred behind the line of scrimmage this fall and he was second on the unit in sacks with 7.5 which resulted in 53 lost yards for Eagle opponents. He had a season-best 12 tackles against Lebanon Valley on September 16. The following week Patterson posted nine stops, including a campaign-best two sacks. Against FDU-Madison, he added two more sacks to his season totals, including a safety when he wrapped up the Devil quarterback in the endzone. For his career, Patterson had 217 total tackles, including 16.5 sacks and 42 for lost yardage.

Pfursich picked up conference recognition for the first time in his four-year tenure at Juniata. He led the Eagles in tackles this fall with 115 and became the first blue and gold performer to record 100-plus stops in three consecutive seasons since Bob Crossey did the same from 1984 through 1986. Pfursich had 53 solo stops in the 2000 campaign and posted 10-or-more wrap-ups in seven of Juniata?s 10 games. He had a season-best 17 tackles against Albright and he closed his career in fine fashion with 15 stops versus Widener this past Saturday, including five of which went for negative Pioneer yardage. Overall, he 341 tackles in his career.

Bateman finished the year ranked second in the MAC in punting average (39.3 yds/punt) and became the first Eagle punter ever to earn all-conference status two times in his career. Last fall, he was tabbed as a second-team selection to the Commonwealth squad. This year he posted Juniata?s best punting average since Dennis DeRenzo registered 39.9 yards an effort in 1987. He had a campaign-best boot of 66 yards in the season-opener at Lycoming on September 9 and averaged no worse than 32.8 yards a punt in any game this fall. Bateman had six punts of 50 yards or better and pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 15 times. His highest single-game average this year was 46.0 on three kicks against Delaware Valley. He ended his career ranked first on the all-time punt average chart at Juniata with 38.52 yards a kick, finishing in front of Tim Reed (1975-78) (38.47).

Brady, who picked up the first all-conference honors of his career, registered 63 tackles from his defensive end spot and did a lot of damage with fellow Danville High teammate and fellow MAC all-star Jeremy Patterson. Brady paced the blue and gold defenders in quarterback sacks with 10 for a total of 76 yards lost for opponents. Twenty-seven of his efforts were solo stops, while 20 of his 63 wrap-ups came behind the line of scrimmage. Brady tallied back-to-back season-high 10-tackle games against Delaware Valley and FDU-Madison. Six stops, including three sacks, versus the Devils of FDU-Madison were for negative yards. He also knocked down a pass in the game. He completed his Eagle tenure with 205 tackles and 18 sacks.

Campbell became the first Juniata quarterback to earn all-conference honors in his initial year as the club?s starter since Dave Pfeifer picked up a first-team nod as a freshman in 1982. Campbell completed 223 of his 409 attempts this fall for 2,599 yards (second on the single-season list at Juniata). He set a program standard with his completion and attempt totals. His total offense output of 2,628 yards ranks second on the College Hill single-campaign chart. Campbell threw 12 touchdown passes in 2000 and set a program single-game record of 29 successful passes against Moravian and Widener, breaking the old mark of 28 held by Don Weiss. He threw three touchdown passes versus Susquehanna and Moravian and was responsible for at least one score (throwing or rushing) in all 10 games this year.

Evans, in his first year as a starter in the Eagle secondary, had 52 tackles, including 35 solo stops. He had a season-high 12 wrap-ups against Waynesburg and he also knocked down two passes in the game with the Yellow Jackets. In addition, Evans had two interceptions, 11 pass break ups and one fumble recovery. He returned one of his two picks 36 yards for a touchdown at Susquehanna. Evans also returned seven kickoffs for an average of 19.7 a try and eight punts for 8.0 yards an effort.

Leach picked up all-conference honors for the first time this fall. He had four 100-yard receiving days this year, including a season-high 140 yards on 10 receptions versus Lebanon Valley on September 16. He also had a touchdown receptions against the Flying Dutchmen. Other 100-yard receiving outings came against Lycoming (104), Moravian (126) and Widener (133). He posted a career-best 11 catches in the game with Widener this past Saturday. Leach?s other touchdown receptions of the 2000 season came against Lycoming. He averaged 12.7 yards a snag and 5.8 grabs a game.

Juniata ended the year with a 1-9 overall record, its worst mark since the 1993 unit went 1-9, but this year?s club lost five games by seven or fewer points.

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