WILLIAMSBURG - On the stat sheet, John Leri's one reception for seven yards doesn't look like much, but it's what he did after the catch that helped propel Juniata Valley to victory Friday night.
Leri's perfect execution of a hook-and-lateral pitch to Brett Grissinger on the opening possession of the second half went for a 55-yard touchdown and helped turn back an upset-minded Williamsburg team, 28-6, on homecoming at War Memorial Field.
Up to that point, Williamsburg had held the explosive Grissinger to just 13 yards. The senior back ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run through the heart of the Williamsburg defense in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Juniata Valley improved to 5-1, 3-0 in the Inter-County Conference Silver Division. Williamsburg fell to 1-5, 0-3 in ICC Silver play.
Grissinger finished with 102 yards rushing and another 58 receiving.
"We knew coming in that Grissinger and [Jesse] Claar are their two big weapons. They've run well all season," Williamsburg coach Bob Hearn said. "Our kids did a good job containing them, but you're not going to stop them all the time."
Claar left the game with a knee injury early in the second quarter and did not return.
Juniata Valley entered the game as the top scoring offense in the area, averaging more than 43 points a game. The Hornets struggled to move the ball at times, which had as much to do with a lack of execution as it did Williamsburg's defense, Smith said.
"We weren't blocking well at all. It was terrible as a matter of fact," Smith said. "I understand there are going to be games like this, and Williamsburg always plays us tough, but we need to play more consistently."
On defense, the Hornets continued their ball-hawking ways, forcing multiple turnovers for the seventh straight regular-season game.
"The defense did a real nice job on their receivers, and we were able to get a couple interceptions," Smith said.
Devin Low's interception and subsequent return set up the first score of the game. The senior linebacker picked off an Austin McMonagle pass and rumbled 38 yards to the Williamsburg 33. A horse collar penalty at the end of the run gave Juniata Valley a first down at the Blue Pirates' 18.
Four plays later, Claar scored on a 4-yard run to put Valley up, 7-0. After Gordan Gable's 2-yard touchdown run gave the Hornets a 14-0 lead, Williamsburg scored right before halftime to pull within one score.
Austin McMonagle found Jed Dishong open in the corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left on the clock.
"The game was closer than the final score. Our kids fought hard. I'm proud of the way they played," Hearn said.
Notes: Madelyn Kajacic was named homecoming queen before the game, and lineman Sean McCauley was homecoming king. He was injured, though, and did not play. ... Jed Dishong led Williamsburg with 111 yards rushing on 15 carries.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley7 7 7 7 - 28
Williamsburg0 6 0 0 - 6
JV-Claar 4 run (Staber kick), 7:45.
JV-Gable 2 run (Staber kick), 4::21.
W-Dishong 7 pass from McMonagle (kick failed), :16.
JV-Grissinger 55 pass from Taylor (Staber kick), 10:49.
JV-Grissinger 58 run (Staber kick), 6:21.
RUSHING: Juniata Valley-Grissinger 11-102, Claar 4-19, Wagner 6-31, Taylor 8-30, Gable 8-27, Maysonet 1-3. Williamsburg-Dishong 15-111, Shanholtz 5-17, Bookhammer 5-34, McMonagle 8-(-9), Biddle 5-17, Morrissey 2-12.
PASSING: Juniata Valley-Taylor 6-9-0-121. Williamsburg-McMonagle 7-22-2-89.
RECEIVING: Juniata Valley-Gardner 3-56, Grissinger 2-58, Leri 1-7. Williamsburg-Dishong 3-36, Morrissey 4-53.
INTERCEPTIONS: Juniata Valley-Low, Gable.