NEWPORT - In the Newport-East Juniata match-up you had a classic showdown of a grind-it-out, three-yard-in-a-cloud-of-dust offense taking on an offense that relies on the big play.
On Friday night at Katchmer Field, the grind-it out method proved the more sustainable in Newport's 42-29 Tri-Valley League triumph over the visiting Tigers.
The Tigers had three scoring drives consisting of just a solitary play and a kickoff return for a touchdown to boot. But it wasn't enough to overcome the Buffaloes.
East Juniata coach Simon Cameron acknowledged that fact, stating, "It was great having guys break those big plays, but we have to find ways to sustain drives if we want to win ballgames."
Newport, on the other hand, methodically manufactured four scoring marches of eight plays or longer, including a massive 13-play, 90-yard campaign. Buffalo junior Brian Auxt was the Newport workhorse grinding out 192 yards on 29 carries, including a stretch in the fourth quarter were the Buffaloes gave him the football on 15 straight offense snaps.
Newport skipper Todd Rothermel said that was by design - he said his team found a whole in the East Juniata line and the Tigers did not adjust.
r East Juniata hosts Line Mountain on Oct. 12.
The homecoming crowd did not have to wait long for the fireworks to start as the Tigers threw in some razzle-dazzle on the third play of the game. Quarterback Austin Bennet found David Brantley for 47 yards on a flea flicker play on which the ball changed hands four times in the backfield before the pass was thrown.
The play set the tone for the night and led to the game's first score, a 27-yard Dalton Rowe field goal that gave the visitors a lead.
Another memorable moment came when Newport freshman Dalton Klinger bolted 53 yards on the ensuing kickoff. Not only did it set up Newport's first score - a 29-yard Justin Temple to Jordan Clegg connection - it foreshadowed what would be a special teams coverage coaching nightmare as the two teams racked up 411 kickoff return yards.
East Juniata's Brandon Love picked up 187 of those yards, including 90 on a return for a score that put the Tigers back on top 10-7 midway through the first quarter.
Following a blocked field goal Newport went on its drawn out 90-yard march that consumed much of the second quarter. The drive finished in Temple's second scoring strike, this time to C.J. Frank. Temple only completed three passes, but two were for touchdowns.
East Juniata did get the lead back in the third quarter when Marcus Klinger made a beautiful one-handed interception and Caleb Gehman cashed it in via a 30-yard dash to the end zone.
Newport went back in front, but another strong return from Love and a 50-yard David Brantley charge put the Tigers on top again, 28-22.
Back-to-back Newport scoring drives put the Buffaloes on top for good, but East Juniata proved it still had some fight left as Bennett, who was 9-of-19 for 194 yards, found Kevin Allen for a 63-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter to keep the Tigers in the contest at 34-29.
However, Brian Auxt's third touchdown salted the game away for the Buffaloes. Newport now leads the all-time series 36-8-1.
East Juniata (1-5, 0-5) hosts Line Mountain Oct. 12.