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Eagles Football Suffers Tough Loss

(Posted October 28, 2006)

Jay Leonard threw for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Juniata as the Eagles took on Widener.

FOURTH QUARTER SCORES LEAD WIDENER PAST JUNIATA FOOTBALL Widener 35, Juniata 13 HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College football team had itself in position to halt Widener University\'s five-game winning streak, but a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers led to 14-unanswered points for the visitors as the Eagles fell by a 35-13 score in Middle Atlantic Conference action at Knox Stadium on Saturday. Juniata is now 1-7 on the year and 1-6 in the conference, while Widener raised its mark to 6-2 overall and in the conference. Juniata quarterback Jay Leonard (Big Spring/Newville) passed for a season-high 256 yards and had a pair of scoring passes as out-gained Widener through the air. But the Juniata turned the ball over three times, two of which led directly to points for the visitors. Widener finished the game with 376 yards of offense as Khalee Prothro rushed for 123 and Matt Campbell threw for 225 as the Pride got a balanced offensive effort. After both defenses started out strong, Juniata was the first to get on the scoreboard. On its third possession of the contest Leonard found David Nicklaus (Lampeter Strasburg/Lancaster) for 20 yards to move into Widener territory, and then on a fourth-and-eight at the Widener 28, Leonard hooked up with Jason Koch for a scoring pass that put Juniata up 6-0. Pat Buchler (Mount Saint Joseph/Ellicott City, Md.) hit the point after, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Pride would then turn the field position around on the Eagles as Juniata\'s offense struggled to move the ball. A 19-yard punt return from Kevin Fisher gave the visitors the ball at the Juniata 37-yard line. Widener capitalized quickly as Campbell hit Jamie Schild in the end zone on the first play of the drive. The point after was good, tying the score at seven with 9:29 to go in the half. After the Widener defense held again, another big return from Fisher gave the Pride the ball at the Juniata 23. Four rushes from Marc Patricelli took the ball into the end zone, giving Widener the lead. The kick from Tom Laurich was good, moving the score to 14-7 with 6:59 left in the half. Juniata drove the ball successfully on its next drive, as Leonard completed a pair of long passes to Matthew Dunker (Shaler/Glenshaw) to move the ball into Widener territory. But the drive was halted inside the 10, and Buchler\'s 23-yard field goal attempt into the wind was no good, and the teams would go into halftime with Widener leading 14-7. After Juniata was forced to punt on its first drive of the second half Widener looked like it claimed all of the momentum when Campbell found Schild for a 65-yard scoring pass. Another successful point made it 21-7 Widener just minutes into the third quarter. But the Eagles responded as Juniata put together a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive to cut into the lead. Leonard found Dunker and Nicklaus again for big plays, as the drive was capped with a 19-yard completion to Nicklaus. Buchler\'s point after was blocked, leaving the lead at 21-13 in favor of Widener. Dunker finished the day with 103 yards receiving, while Nicklaus caught six passes for 87 yards. On the ensuing possession, the Eagles got a big play on defense as after Prothro had gained first-down yardage on a fourth-down rush deep in Juniata territory, Tyler Hall (Juniata Valley/Alexandria) forced a fumble that was recovered by the Eagles. After Widener held defensively, Juniata\'s defense again got the ball back as Widener was unable to convert on a fourth-down attempt, giving Juniata the ball back at its own 35. The Eagles moved into Widener territory again, but on a fourth-and-eight, Leonard was picked off by Orlando Brown to halt Juniata\'s attempts at a game-tying drive. Widener seized the momentum after that play, as a 41-yard completion from Campbell to Mike Schmidt took the ball to the Juniata 11. Two Prothro runs moved it into the end zone, and the point after was good, making the score 28-13 Widener with 10:16 left in the game. Juniata fumbled on its next possession, giving the Pride the ball at Juniata\'s nine. But Brandon Spayd (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) came up with a play, picking off a Campbell pass and then stepping out of bounds at the 11. However, Widener returned the favor and put the game away five plays later when Brown claimed his second interception of the game, and took it back 38 yards for a touchdown. The final point after made the final score 35-13 in favor of the Pride. Leonard\'s 256-yard effort was his third 200-yard passing game of the seasons as he completed 17-41 passes. Five different receivers came away with catches on the day for the Blue and Gold. Defensively for Juniata Josh Roy (Northern Lebanon/Fredericksburg) finished with seven tackles, and had a pass breakup. Spayd had six stops to go with his interception and four Eagles finished with five tackles, including Hall who forced a fumble, and Andrew Knittle (Hamburg/Hamburg) who notched a sack. Campbell was 10-22 passing on the day for his 225 yards. Schild finished with five grabs for 159 yards and two scores. Defensively for the Pride, Mike McFadden led all players with 11 tackles. Mo Kabba played a big role in controlling Juniata\'s running game as he had seven tackles, four for a loss and a sack. Juniata will be back in action next Saturday as the Eagles travel to take on Delaware Valley. Widener will be at home, hosting Salisbury in a non-conference game. ###

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