Bearcats blow out Juniata
HUNTINGDON — Gary Klingensmith, who has coached at Juniata for 49 years, had a predicament going into Friday night’s District 6 3A semifinal against Huntingdon at War-Vets Field.
His defense had to either focus on the Bearcats’ leading rusher, Ian Border, or their best receiver, Jonathan Price.
“It’s like choosing your poison,” Klingensmith said.
The Indians chose the wrong poison.
While Juniata did hold Border to 81 yards and one touchdown in the first half, Price, a 5-foot-8, 145-pound senior, had a career half, catching nine passes from quarterback Andrew Hudy for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The big first half gave the Bearcats a 28-point lead at halftime, and they rolled to a 53-7 win on a 25-degree night.
“We were just feeling good,” Price said. “They were in zone coverage, and my quarterback trusted me. I kept coming down with it. Our running game was good, so they had to look at both of us. We have weapons all across this field. That’s definitely my best game so far.”
“After the first couple catches, we were all feeling good. Hudy and me were hooking up well. They can’t cover all of us, so they have to choose someone. It looked like they didn’t choose me at all, really.”
“He’s a great receiver,” Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy said, “and they were giving us the passing game, so we took it. We did a good job.”
Klingensmith, who was attempting to earn his 300thwin in his 49thyear in the Juniata program, was befuddled with the outcome of the game.
“We did not play the kind of game we thought we could play against this team,” Klingensmith said. “We especially couldn’t cover that No. 2 (Price) on the pass. He just broke the game open. We sort of had to double team their ace running back, which we did a nice job on him for awhile. But this No. 2 was too much for us to handle man to man.
“In the second half, we tried to double him, and that helped a lot, but then their running game started going real well.”
Huntingdon advanced to the district title game next Friday at Mansion Park against either Central or Forest Hills, who play tonight.
Price finished with 12 catches for 226 yards, while Hudy completed 18 of 25 passes for 287 yards, the three passing TDs and a rushing touchdown. Border, with help from a 96-yard touchdown run late in the game, finished with 237 yards rushing on 24 carries and five touchdowns, including four second-half TDs.
The 10-1 Bearcats rolled up 599 yards in offense while holding the Indians to 157, including 70 on a touchdown pass from Jeremiah Parson to Ben Lauver. Juniata didn’t have a first down until the TD pass came with 7:23 left in the third quarter. The Indians (8-4) finished with three first downs.
“It was just a great effort on their part,” Coach Hudy said of the defense. “That’s what happens when you have two weeks to prepare. The coaches did a great job with game plans.”
“Our offense couldn’t get going in the first half,” Klingensmith said. “They are just a powerful team, probably one of the best Huntingdon teams I’ve ever seen. I think this team is capable of going deep into the state playoffs.”
The Bearcats started slow like in the first meeting this season, when the Indians had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter of a 38-20 Huntingdon win. They didn’t score until Hudy connected with Price on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Huntingdon, however, stepped on the gas pedal in the second quarter. The Bearcats moved 61 yards on their first series of the second quarter on seven plays and found the end zone with a Hudy 27-yard pass to Price. Hudy got hammered by a Juniata defender before throwing the pass, and Price made a nice catch. Border ran for the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0.
Hudy, Price and Border led the Bearcats on a 74-yard drive on 10 plays on the next series, and they scored on a Border 10-yard run with 2:47 left in the half.
Huntingdon’s Jairus Werner intercepted Parson on the next possession, giving the Bearcats the ball at the Juniata 49. After a Hudy incompletion and a Border 26-yard run, Hudy hit Price for a 23-yard scoring strike with 1:41 remaining. It was 28-0 at the half.
“We realized we needed to turn it up and start scoring,” Price said, “and that’s exactly what we did.”
Interestingly enough, the Bearcats had two touchdowns nullified because of penalties at the start of the second half – a Jacob Wagner 76-yard kickoff return and a Price 46-yard TD run. They kept attacking, though, and Border scored on a 15-yard run on the first series of the second half, putting the mercy rule into effect.
“We knew that once we got the mercy clock running that time was on our side,” Coach Hudy said. “Heck, we scored three times on that one drive, and we had two of them called back. It’s very frustrating.”
On the very next offensive play, Parson threw a perfect bomb to Lauver for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
“That was nice,” Klingensmith said. “We had to try something different, and (Lauver) has been our go-to guy with the pass all year.”
Border then reeled off touchdown runs of 5 and 20 yards before making his 96-yard, tackle-breaking run down the Huntingdon sideline to the end zone with 1:44 left in the game.
It was a far more dominating game for the Bearcats than the first time with the Indians.
“I don’t know what we expected,” Coach Hudy said. “I just thought this game was more about us than our opponent. We just needed to have a good game, come out and execute, and we did a good job.”
The Bearcats will now start preparing for the district title game at Mansion Park. What can be expected offensively in that game?
“Hopefully,” Price said, “we’ll do better next week.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata 0 0 7 0 –7
Huntingdon 6 22 19 6 –53
H–Price 17 pass from Hudy (kick failed), :25
H–Price 27 pass from Hudy (Border run), 8:08
H–Border 10 run (Scaccia kick), 2:47
H–Price 23 pass from Hudy (Scaccia kick), 1:41
H–Border 15 run (Scaccia kick), 7:54
J–Lauver 70 pass from Parson (Esh kick), 7:23
H–Border 5 run (kick failed), 1:33
H–Border 20 run (pass failed), :35
H–Border 96 run (kick failed), 1:44
RUSHING: Juniata–Becker 4-20, Parson 4-18, Piper 4-14, Grove 5-8, Clark 6-(-9). Huntingdon–Border 24-237, Hudy 9-33, Weglarz 4-22, Troha 1-16, Wagner 1-4.
PASSING: Juniata–Parson 3-11-1-106, Ranck 0-1-0-0. Huntingdon–Hudy 18-25-0-287, Troha 0-1-0-0, TEAM 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Juniata–Lauver 1-70, Leonard 1-29, Clark 1-7. Huntingdon–Price 12-226, Werner 1-21, Mykut 1-21, Wagner 1-10, Zook 3-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Juniata–none. Huntingdon–Werner.
TEAM STATISTICS J H
First downs 3 22
Yards rushing 23-51 39-312
Passing (comp.-att.-int) 3-12-1 18-27-0
Passing yards 106 287
Total yards 157 599
Fumbles lost 2-2 4-3
Penalties-yards 4-36 6-64
Punts-avg. 8-28.2 1-31