ALEXANDRIA - Through four weeks this season, Juniata Valley has been a slow starting football team. That changed in a big way Friday.
The Green Hornets jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and never slowed down, overpowering Moshannon Valley 56-7 at A.R. Simkins Memorial Field.
"For whatever reason, we've been flat at the start of every game this year. It takes us a while to get going," Juniata Valley coach Mike Smith said. "We came out and played some very nice football from the first quarter on."
Juniata Valley improved to 4-1, 2-0 in the Inter-County Conference Silver Division. Moshannon Valley fell to 3-2, 1-1 in ICC Silver play.
Brett Grissinger played a big role in the fast start, scoring all three first quarter touchdowns.
Grissinger burned the Moshannon Valley defense with cutback runs throughout the first quarter.
The first went for a 31-yard touchdown on the opening possession of the game.
"We put that in just for Mo Valley," Grissinger said. "Their ends flow to the ball pretty aggressively. The line blasted them out of there, and I cut it up in there."
The second came on a 63-yard run that set up the Hornets second score, which Grissinger scored on another cutback play.
"Brett knows where the cutback is. He's so good at reading the blocks and cutting back against the grain," Smith said. "He's not only fast, but he can read things as he's moving. That kind of ability doesn't come along too often."
Grissinger finished off the first quarter with a 51-yard interception return for a touchdown. His 60-yard catch and run midway through the third quarter gave him four touchdowns and put the mercy-rule into effect.
"We got our butts kicked for four quarters. They punched us in the mouth, and we never punched back," Moshannon Valley coach Mike Keith said. "They got some big plays, and it just snowballed from there."
Grissinger finished with 150 yards rushing on 11 carries, two receptions for 85 yards, and a pair of interceptions, his first two of the season.
Juniata Valley got two other defensive scores. Kyle Smithmyer returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Ian Hawn stepped in front of a receiver and raced 23 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
"Getting three defensive touchdowns against a good passing team like Mo Valley was huge for us," Smith said. "We were able to put one less guy in the box and play man underneath. Kyle read the wide receiver hitch and screen perfectly, and Ian made a nice pick as well."
With Grissinger blazing a trail on the outside, Jesse Claar picked up another 70 yards on 14 carries between the tackles.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Moshannon Valley0 7 0 0 - 7
Juniata Valley21 14 14 7 - 56
JV-Grissinger 31 run (Staber kick), 7:55.
JV-Grissinger 4 run (Staber kick), 2:30.
JV-Grissinger 51 interception return (Staber kick), 1:25.
MV-Stodart 5 pass from Dipko (Stodart kick), 10:18.
JV-Taylor 1 run (Staber kick), 5:16.
JV-Smithmyer 66 interception return (Staber kick), 2:33.
JV-Grissinger 60 pass from Taylor (Staber kick), 8:16.
JV-Hawn 23 interception returen (Staber kick), 6:24.
JV-Gable 11 run (Staber kick), 5:11.
RUSHING: Moshannon Valley-Ludwig 8-12, Campbell 11-41, Dipko 2-(-6), TEAM 2-(-17). Juniata Valley-Grissinger 11-150, Claar 14-70, Taylor 3-7, Wagner 5-18, Gable 3-18, Maysonet 1-4, Singer 1-0, TEAM 1-(2).
PASSING: Moshannon Valley-Dipko 15-30-4-145. Juniata Valley-Taylor 2-2-0-85.
RECEIVING: Moshannon Valley-Stewart 3-18, Ludwig 5-56, Stodart 6-50, Bailey 1-21. Juniata Valley-Grissinger 2-85.
INTERCEPTIONS: Juniata Valley-Grissinger 2, Smithmyer, Hawn.