Green Hornets close strong, rally past MU
ALEXANDRIA — Juniata Valley experimented with playing quarterback Quinn Zinobile at wingback and backup Caden Rupert at QB to start Friday night’s game against Mount Union.
JV coach Bill Musser, though, ended the experiment in the final minutes of the second quarter, and Zinobile returned to quarterback.
The move made an immediate impact as Zinobile threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Grant Musser with 1:55 left in the half. Zinobile threw one more TD pass and ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Green Hornets beat the Trojans, 38-20, at A.R. Simkins Field.
“It felt very good, because I think we became a team tonight,” Coach Musser said. “We just needed to get some confidence built. I don’t think we gained as much yardage with Quinn not at quarterback, but I think it settled us down. When we had to make some adjustments, I’m really proud of my assistant coaches. They made the appropriate adjustments.”
“I think they were trying to find themselves in the first quarter,” Mount Union coach Jamie Brumbaugh said. “You’ve got to take your hat off to Juniata Valley. They have some great athletes on their team, great speed, great skill. We struggled a little bit on defense then.”
Zinobile completed 7 of 11 passes, including 4-for-4 in the second half, and he threw for 151 yards. He also ran for 107 yards on 12 carries.
“I thought Quinn really stepped up,” Coach Musser said. “The thing I was really most proud of was his play was really within the confines of our offense and defense. He did what we were asking him to do.”
Mount Union (0-2) looked like it might run away with the win as it found the end zone twice in the first quarter as QB Quinton Posey scored on a 12-yard run with 2:41 left and he threw a 30-yard scoring strike to Vincent Lear with 31 seconds remaining.
The Hornets (1-1) sputtered until linebacker Jakob Simmet caused and recovered a fumble with less than 5 minutes left in the first half. That’s when Zinobile stepped in at QB for the Hornets, who were without the services of injured receiver
Cameron Collins (shoulder). Coach Musser said the loss of Collins was one of the reasons for playing Zinobile at wingback.
“Our game plan was to spread their defense out,” Zinobile said, “Caden did exactly what he needed to do. We struggled a little bit, but they put me at running back because they thought if they give me the ball on the outside, I would be able to make a lot of moves.”
The Hornets went on a seven-play, 61-yard drive that ended with Zinobile’s TD pass to Musser. JV kicker Jefferson Hill got his team closer with a 30-yard field goal with 15 seconds left to make the score 14-9 at halftime.
Mount Union’s only second-half touchdown came when Ethan Carbaugh returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score.
But it was all Hornets after that.
Zinobile directed the Hornets 71 yards on the ensuing possession on 10 plays, and he finished it off with a 16-yard TD pass to Musser. The tandem connected again for two points to draw within three points, 20-17.
“Grant Musser had a couple good catches for touchdowns,” Zinobile said.
“When you have a quarterback who is able to scramble the way he’s able to scramble, it’s hard to defend,” Brumbaugh said.
The Hornets took the lead for good with 9:34 left in the fourth quarter when Zinobile ran 34 yards for a touchdown, carrying Carbaugh with him into the end zone.
“Our line made a huge hole, and I just hit it,” Zinobile said. “Jaxson (Rand) and Caden led up the field, made a couple good blocks and I just finished the run.”
Zinobile ran for a 1-yard score, and Gabe Brower intercepted Posey and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to finish off the scoring.
“On Gabe Brower’s interceptions, it was tipped at least three times,” Coach Musser said. “Kids were just making plays.”
“We played really well as a team,” Zinobile said, “and it was a lot of fun tonight.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mount Union 14 0 6 0 –20
Juniata Valley 0 9 8 21 –38
MU–Posey 12 run (kick failed), 2:41
MU–Lear 30 pass from Posey (Posey run), :31
JV–Musser 29 pass from Zinobile (pass failed), 1:55
JV–Hill 30 FG, :15
MU–Carbaugh 85 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:47
JV–Musser 16 pass from Zinobile (Musser pass from Zinobile), 6:46
JV–Zinobile 34 run (kick failed), 9:34
JV–Zinobile 1 run (Hill kick), 5:34
JV–Brower 53 interception return (Johnson pass from Zinobile), 4:20
TEAM STATISTICS MU JV
First downs 12 16
Total yards 189 313
Rushes-yards 35-96 39-144
Yards passing 93 169
Passing (comp.-att.-int) 7-20-2 8-14-0
Punts-avg. 2-33.5 4-21.5
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-40 6-50
RUSHING: Mount Union–Posey 18-49, Carbaugh 8-35, Willoughby 7-34, TEAM 2-(-22). Juniata Valley–Zinobile 12-107, Jax. Rand 19-66, Betres 2-4, Jay. Rand 1-0, Brower 2-(-1), TEAM 1-(-1), Rupert 2-(-31).
PASSING: Mount Union–Posey 7-20-2-93. Juniata Valley–Zinobile 7-11-0-151, Rupert 1-2-0-18, TEAM 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Mount Union–Lear 4-61, Woodward 1-12, Brumbaugh 1-11, Carbaugh 1-9. Juniata Valley–Derugen 4-70, Musser 2-45, Jax. Rand 1-36, Betres 1-18.