MIFFLINTOWN - It was homecoming night at Juniata, but the man who should be king didn't get a crown.
In fact, he was in the locker room when the ceremony took place.
But there's no doubt who reigned Friday in the Indians' Tri-Valley League contest against Upper Dauphin - Neil Bodley. The junior quarterback, tailback and pretty much any other back the team needed dashed off 245 yards on 20 carries, scoring five touchdowns in the process, added a sack - maybe a sack and a half - and made the key block on the team's only defensive touchdown effort in a 51-21 rout of the Trojans at Dietrick Field.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Juniata quarterback Neil Bodley, left, breaks away from the pack for a touchdown against Upper Dauphin Friday night in Mifflintown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
"(Bodley was) tremendous running the ball - great speed," Juniata coach Gary Klingensmith said.
But it wasn't just the velocity, it was the was he found openings in the Upper Dauphin defense and exploited them for big yardage early in the game. The Indians, who scored on every possession except one in the contest, got the first one barely three minutes in when, on fourth-and-11, Bodley got the first down and the touchdown when he broke to the outside.
The drive also featured Scott Sneath's longest run from scrimmage, a 31-yard scamper that moved the ball across the midfield stripe.
r Juniata hosts Millersburg on Oct. 12
After forcing Upper Dauphin to punt for the first time, the Indians made their only serious mistake of the night, an interception on the first of three passes they attempted. That again proved to be the Achilles heel for the team - the only pass completed, later in the game, was for a loss.
It wasn't long until the home team was on the march again, and again it was Bodley who carried the load. He had back-to-back runs of 18 and 30 yards, the latter another breakout after he bulled through the Trojan line, to make it a 14-0 game in the first.
The second opened the way the first ended. Bodley had his biggest run in that third scoring drive, a 60-yard effort in which he found a gap to get started, then fought and pushed his way at the end. He went the final dozen on the third play of the drive, which suddenly seemed eerily reminiscent of the Tri-Valley game, in which Juniata's offense waltzed into the end zone for a series of quick and easy scores, then saw the other team work its way back.
"I was thinking we were really going to have to tough the game out. That happened with Tri-Valley, too," Bodley said. "But we stuck it out tonight and the line really came through and had great blocking the whole time."
It wasn't a given that the Indians would win this one despite Upper Dauphin's 1-4 record coming in. Klingensmith pointed out that the losses the Trojans sustained were to the league's top shelf.
"They lost some games, but they lost to Tri-Valley, they lost to Line Mountain, they lost to Williams Valley. They lost to tough teams," he said. "We did come into the game thinking they were a team we'd have to execute against. They didn't seem to make the kind of mistakes to give us a lot of freebies."
And in the second quarter, the visitors at least made it a game, trading touchdowns the rest of the way to halftime. Ian Buffington, the Trojans' leading rusher, scored the first one on a 53-yard romp. But despite leading his team on the ground, he got the call less than half the time - a surprise considering the difficulty Juniata had stopping him.
"He's a good ball player. Our defense really shut down what they were doing but he was still getting yardage the whole time," Bodley admitted. "I was surprised he wasn't getting the ball more."
The response to that was Sneath's lone touchdown, a 30-yard dash to end a three-play drive that started in good position after Chad Eberle escaped a deep tackle on the kickoff return, putting 28 yards on the field to his team's favor.
Upper Dauphin's Austin Weaver connected with Trey Campbell for another six to hold the margin. But the half ended with a 10-play, 83-yard Juniata drive; Bodley took it in from a yard with half a minute on the clock.
The Indians got a 29-yard field goal from Eberle in the third - the only score in the period - but Bodley added another offensive score early in the fourth and Blake Ramsey put the mercy clock in effect with a 56-yard pick six two and a half minutes later.
"Our defense came through tonight. We started wrapping up more than we used to, especially in the second half," Bodley said. "We had a lot better tackles than what we've been doing lately."
"I told the boys, 'Be real happy with it, because we've been on the other end of the coin too,'" Klingensmith said.
Juniata (4-2, 3-2) hosts Millersburg Friday.