(Posted October 16, 2004)

Albright 48, Juniata 17

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Albright College Lions staked themselves to early lead and withstood a spirited Juniata effort in the fourth quarter to top Juniata 48-17 in Middle Atlantic Conference play at Knox Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The loss dropped Juniata to 0-6 overall, 0-5 in the conference. Albright remained in contention for the conference title as the Lions improved to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in MAC play.

Albright came in as the top-scoring offense in the MAC and continued that trend at the Lions finished with 619 years of total offense, and 47 points. The visitors led by 24 at halftime, and then matched Juniata score for score in the second half.

Both teams looked strong defensively in the first quarter with Juniata punting three times, and the Lions punting twice along Juniata posting a stop on an Albright fourth down.

The scoreless tie was broken with just 1:34 left in the quarter. Darnell Hayes broke free for a 30-yard rush to cap Albright?s scoring drive and put the visitors up 6-0. The point-after attempt failed.

Hayes and Albright?s Adam Hubley each topped the 100-yard mark rushing on the day. Hayes rushed for 107 yards and a score, while Hubley added exactly 100 yards and two touchdowns.

That score seemed to break the ice for Albright which would proceed to score on its next four possessions. The Eagles put together a drive which turned field position, and forced Albright to start a drive at its own 19. The Lions answered with an 11-play drive that ended with Vincent Andrews rushing seven yards for a score. The point after was unsuccessful again, making the score 12-0 Albright.

The Eagles then made a costly mistake as they fumbled the kickoff, giving Albright the ball at the Juniata 19. Six plays later, quarterback John Port found Nick Cushman in the corner of the end zone for a five-yard scoring pass. Cushman ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 20-0.

The Lions continued the momentum in their next time with the ball. Hubley plunged in from three yards out to cap a 14-play 80-yard scoring drive. Dustin Kaplan converted the point after for a 27-0 lead for the visitors.

The Eagles would then get things rolling thanks to a strong kick-off return from Kurht Engle (Spring-Ford/Royersford). The 59-yard return gave Juniata the ball at the Albright 26-yard line. With 20 seconds left in the half, Dan Heinlein (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) knocked in a career-long 42-yard field goal to send the teams into halftime with Juniata trailing 27-3.

The Eagles came out looking to cut into the lead at the start of the second half. Engle continued his strong play returning the opening kick-off 45 yards, starting Juniata?s drive at the Albright 49. The drive continued when Jason Koch (Kutztown/Kutztown) ran a fake punt 29 yards on fourth down to move the chains. But a turnover from Juniata would halt the drive.

Juniata?s defense then forced its first turnover of the game as Matt Garner (Bellwood-Antis/Tyrone) forced a fumble and then recovered it, giving the Eagles the ball again in Albright territory.

The turnovers continued as Juniata back-up QB Corey Doyle (Southern Huntingdon/Orbisonia) led the Eagles to the Albright 25 before a fumble gave the ball back to the Lions.

This time the visitors capitalized a Port led the Lions on a 73-yard scoring drive, capped by Port finding Scott Shepherd for an 11-yard touchdown. The point after pushed the lead to 34-3.

Port ended his day 27-for-39 for 318 yards and a pair of scoring passes. Justin Holland led the team with 124 yards receiving on seven catches, while Cushman caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagle offense began getting into a rhythm with Doyle behind center. The freshman hit John Boyer (Indian Valley/Belleville) for a 30-yard completion to move the ball into Albright territory on the ensuing possession. He completed two more passes to move to the Albright 19, but saw the drive stall when Alfred Ngauja intercepted a pass in the end zone. The third quarter would end with Albright holding a 34-3 edge.

Juniata would find the end zone on its second time with the ball in the fourth. Juniata forced the Lions into a special teams error as a botched punt gave Juniata the ball at the Albright 22. Duane Ehredt Jr. (Bellwood-Antis/Tyrone) broke off a 16-yard run to take the ball to the seven. Three plays later, Doyle tossed his first career touchdown with a seven-yard pass to Koch. Heinlein added the point after, bringing the score to 34-10.

A failed on-side kick attempt by Juniata put Albright in good position to answer the Juniata score. And that?s exactly what the Lions did as Hubley broke free for a 30-yard scamper to extend the lead to 41-10.

It was Engle again setting up the Eagles on the ensuing kickoff as he returned the kick 45 yards to the Albright 40. Doyle rushed for 17 yards on the next play and then hit Koch for a 23-yard scoring pass to answer back in just 41 seconds. The point after was successful, cutting the lead to 41-17.

Albright would answer again for the final time, putting together a nine-play 54-yard drive for the final score of the game. Drew Schiller ran in from two-yards out, and Kaplan added the point after for the final 48-17 margin.

Doyle finished the game with a solid effort off the bench for Juniata. The freshman was nine-for 15 for 86 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 21 yards. Koch led the team with seven catches, 85 yards and two touchdowns, all of which were career highs. The Eagles put together 161 yards of offense in the second half, one of the team?s best halves of offensive football this season.

Engle was a big factor in Juniata?s second-half success as he totaled 191 yards in kick-off return yardage for the game.

Defensively Bryon Latterner (Penn Cambria/Gallitzin) finished with a career-best 19 tackles, one of them for a loss. Garner had 18 stops, nine solo and one for a loss. Peter Thomas was also in double figures with 11 tackles, and Frederick Wall (Big Spring/Newville) had nine tackles, three for a loss and a sack.

Pete Manotti was the leading tackler for Albright with five tackles. Four Albright players finished with four tackles apiece.

The Eagles will return to action next Saturday when they play at Wilkes University.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.