Gettysburg rallies to sink Eagles
HUNTINGDON — The Juniata College football team let certain victory slip through its fingers in a heartbreaking 42-35 Centennial Conference loss to Gettysburg Saturday afternoon at Knox Stadium.
The Bullets, down 35-21 in the fourth quarter, scored three touchdowns in the final eight minutes to improve to 2-4 and 2-3 in the conference. The Eagles fell to 2-4 and 1-4 in the Centennial.
“We gave them too many snaps. Our defense was on the field too long. We still have not played that complete game yet,” Juniata coach Tim Launtz said. “It seems like if one side of our ball, offense or defense, is doing something good, the other side isn’t doing it. Until we play a complete game on both sides of the ball, we are going to have situations like this.”
Gettysburg started its comeback when quarterback Justin Davidov connected with Andrew Major for a 7-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 35-28 in favor of the Eagles. The Bullets evened things up at 35-all — marching on an 11-play, 83-yard drive capped by a 34-yard strike from Davidov to Kevin Benavente with 2:05 left in regulation.
Another stalled drive by Juniata gave Gettysburg the ball back with 1:05 left on the clock. With three timeouts in hand, it was more than enough time for the Bullets.
Gettysburg ran seven plays, burned two timeouts, moving the ball 33 yards to the Eagle 47. On fourth-and-1, Reggie Jean-Charles ran off-tackle to the left side, broke through the line of scrimmage and had a wide-open field for a 47-yard run to daylight with just 19 seconds left on the clock — sealing the victory for the Bullets and stunning the home crowd into silence.
Despite the 21-point fourth quarter, Launtz liked the play of his defense. The inconsistent offense was a bigger problem.
“Our defense played a nice game. Gettysburg plays very fast, and our defense wore down. Offensively, we can’t have those long periods of not doing stuff,” Launtz said. “The offense can be really good, and moving forward it will be. Our kids work. We have to get better in how we coach them up.”
Juniata opened up a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to the big-play passing of Austin Montgomery. The Bedford product connected with former Central standout Justin Helsel on a 74-yard touchdown and a 61-yard dart to Daulton Snyder. Snyder scored his second touchdown of the day from 33 yards out giving the Eagles a 21-3 lead with 12:44 left in the half.
The Bullets ran off 18 straight points to tie it at 21-21. A Tanner Morrow 7-yard TD catch from Davidov, a Jean-Charles 24-yard scoring run, a 37-yard Justin Geisel field goal and a two-point conversion gave Gettysburg new life.
The Eagles answered with a Dion Lattanzi 6-yard touchdown catch and a Matt Lehr 5-yard run to give Juniata the two-score cushion at 35-21 in the fourth.
Montgomery, second in total yardage in the conference, threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles. Helsel had six grabs for 174 yards and a touchdown, while Snyder finished with five receptions for 126 yards and a TD. Davidov threw for three touchdowns and 256 yards, and Jean-Charles ran for 171 yards on 18 carries with two scores to lead the Bullets.
Juniata has a bye this week and then hosts Moravian in league action at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“We just didn’t finish, and I’ll have to look and see why we didn’t finish. We are a banged up football team. We need to take advantage of that week off and heal up,” Launtz said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Gettysburg 0 13 8 21 — 42
Juniata 14 7 0 14 — 35
J–Helsel 74 pass from Montgomery (Craig kick), 11:58.
J–Snyder 61 pass from Montgomery (Craig kick), 7:16.
G–Geisel 41 FG, 14:45.
J–Snyder 33 pass from Montgomery (Craig kick), 12:45.
G–Geisel 37 FG, 9:39.
G–Morrow 7 pass from Davidov (Geisel kick), :51.
G–Jean-Charles 24 run (Fee pass from Davidov), :41.
J–Lattanzi 6 pass from Montgomery (Craig kick), 12:46..
J–Lehr 5 run (Craig kick), 10:59.
G–Major 7 pass from Davidov (Geisel kick), 7:47.
G–Benavente 34 pass from Davidov (Geisel kick), 2:05..
G–Jean-Charles 47 run (Geisel kick), :19.
J–Snyder 22 pass from Montgomery (pass failed), 3:38.
RUSHING: Gettysburg–Jean-Charles 18-171, Rella 14-65, Davidov 10-27, Fee 1-9, Thompson 4-2, Brady 1-2, Benavente 1-0. Juniata–Lehr 23-92, Montgomery 10-(-21), Bembry 5-17.
PASSING: Gettysburg–Davidov 21-45-256-3. Juniata–Montgomery 21-38-380-0, Helsel 1-1-4-0.
RECEIVING: Gettysburg–Fee 5-56, Benavente 2-46, Thompson 3-44, Menas 3-35, Abdul-Karim 2-24, Jean-Charles 1-20, Davis 2-12, Morrow 1-7, Major 1-7, Fargnoli 1-5. Juniata–Helsel 6-174, Snyder 5-126, Notestine 3-28, Lattanzi 3-22, Brocato 3-19, Ross 1-19, Lehr 1-(-4).
INTERCEPTIONS: Juniata–Reighard, Wood.
TEAM STATISTICS G J
First downs 29 19
Rushes-yards 49-276 38-88
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 21-45-2 22-39-0
Yards passing 256 384
Total yards 532 472
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 10-65 6-52
Punts-avg. 8-38.8 9-35.6