ALEXANDRIA - Two of the premier offenses in the Mirror coverage area met Friday night in Tussey Mountain and Juniata Valley.
And just as you would expect, there were fireworks aplenty.
The Hornets were able to get the best of Tussey Mountain, 49-35, in an Inter-County Conference Silver Division battle at A.R. Simpkins Field.
"Tussey's a very, very good 3-3 team," Juniata Valley coach Mike Smith said. "They played hard. It was a great battle."
Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter, combining for 27 points. During the Hornets' first possession of the game, Brett Grissinger, a senior running back, took a pass from QB Caleb Taylor 50 yards to paydirt. Juniata Valley's second possession ended when Taylor had his pass intercepted by Stephen Carroll, who returned it 40 yards for the Titans' first score of the game. But the Hornets answered back with another score - this one a 37-yard run by Grissinger for his second score. The Titans got one more before time expired in the first quarter, thanks to a 65-yard run by Darrin Sipes. The Titans PAT failed though and the Hornets led 14-13.
The teams combined for 20 more points in the second quarter. Juniata Valley began the second with one of its best drives of the game, a 12-play drive that started on its own 18 yard line, and consumed over 6 minutes. Jesse Claar scored his first of two touchdowns, a 5-yard touchdown run.
Just like the Titans did in the first quarter, they answered with a score of their own. Daniel Taylor took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Juniata Valley responded with another nice drive. The Hornets put together a nine-play drive that chewed up 83 yards, and finished off by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Taylor to Sam Gildea.
The Hornets had another one of those long, time consuming drive to begin the third quarter, with the Hornets holding the ball for 14 plays and 77 yards. The drive was consummated by a one-yard run by Taylor. The Hornets added one more third quarter touchdown and all of a sudden the Titans trailed by a 42-19 margin with just 12 minutes remaining.
The Titans showed a lot of heart and determination by battling and battling until the absolute end of the game, outscoring the Hornets 16-7 in the final frame. But it proved to be too little, too late.
Tussey Mountain coach Joshua Smith loved the way his team battled until the game clock read zero.
"It was a good game," Smith said. "They have one of the best teams in District 6."
The Hornets gained 523 yards of total offense, gaining 364 yards on the ground and 159 through the air. Claar led the ground attack with 174 yards, while Grissinger added 100 on the button.
"They have the best offensive line I've seen this year," Joshua Smith said. "They're just a tough offensive team."
Score By Quarters
Tussey Mountain13 6 0 16 35
Juniata Valley 14 14 14 7 49
JV Grissinger 50 pass from Taylor (Staber kick), 9:41.
TM Carroll 40 interception return (Wentz kick), 5:27.
JV Grissinger 37 run (Staber kick), 4:21.
TM Sipes 65 run (kick failed), 0:01.
JV Claar 5 run (Staber kick), 5:47.
TM Taylor 80 kickoff return (run failed), 5:32.
JV Gildea 10 pass from Taylor (Staber kick), 1:54.
JV Taylor 1 run (Staber kick), 2:47.
JV Gable 12 run (Staber kick), 1:51.
TM Sipes 35 run (T. Runk pass from E. Husick), 10:57.
TM Sipes 15 pass from E. Husick (E. Husick run), 5:42.
JV Claar 3 run (Staber kick), 1:19.
Rushing: Tussey Mountain Sipes 9-122, T. Husick 4-3, Corbin 5-26, E. Husick 2-3. Juniata Valley Taylor 9-54, Grissinger 12-100, Claar 33-174, Maysonet 3-3, Wagner 3-23, Gable 1-12, TEAM 2-(-2).
Passing: Tussey Mountain - E. Husick 2-8-2-46. Juniata Valley -Taylor 6-12-2-159.
Receiving: Tussey Mountain Barnett 1-31, Sipes 1-15. Juniata Valley Grissinger 2-57, Claar 1-29, Leri 1-12, Gardner 1-51, Gildea 1-10.
Interceptions: Tussey Mountain Sipes, Carroll. Juniata Valley Grissinger, Low.