Juniata holds on, wins first

MANDATA – Not even an extra down at the end could help Line Mountain in a 17-14 Tri-Valley League loss to Juniata Friday night.

More on that later.

It was fitting, however, with the way Juniata dominated the second half after falling behind 14-0 in the second quarter.

In fact, the Indians began their comeback on the final play of the first half when Dakota McNemar cut into the Line Mountain lead with a 37-yard field goal.

With Line Mountain fullback Cory Warford bulling in for a one-yard touchdown, and quarterback Ryan Reed scoring on a 17-yard run minutes later, the Eagles took control in the second quarter.

McNemar’s field goal, a kick that barely cleared the crossbar on a play that began with a half-second showing on the clock, took some of the starch out of that Line Mountain momentum.

Late in the third quarter, an 82-yard hookup from freshman quarterback Tyler Clark to McNemar cut the Indians’ deficit to 14-10, then early in the fourth, a 21-yard scoring toss from Clark to Josh Newcamp on a screen pass put Juniata in front.

Inside the final three minutes is when the fun began.

With one timeout remaining, and 3:10 showing on the game clock, the Eagles started on their own 26 following a short Juniata punt.

They moved down the field – a Reed-to-Cory Paul 47-yard pass was the big play, giving the Eagles a first down at the Indians’ 15 with 51 seconds remaining. A spike, then a 12-yard pass from Reed to Justin Michael gave them a first down at the three.

The remainder of the game played out as follows:

First down – Despite having a timeout, Reed spikes the ball, stopping the clock with 32 seconds left.

Second down – Reed keeps it, gains two yards to the 1-yard line before being tackled.

Line Mountain uses its final timeout.

Third down – Reed tries a quarterback sneak, but fumbles back to the 3-yard line, where Line Mountain recovers.

Fourth down – Reed spikes the ball, stopping the clock with four seconds left.

But instead of giving the ball to the Indians:

Fifth down – Reed’s pass to the right corner of the end zone falls incomplete. Game over.

“We made too many mistakes,” Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock said. “We had opportunities to win. We didn’t make the plays.”

They did have opportunities, even without the extra down at the end. Twice in the third quarter, they were deep in Juniata territory and came away empty.

On their first possession of the second half, they drove to the Juniata 14 before turning the ball over on downs. Later in the third quarter, they drove to the Indians’ 16 with the same end result.

Line Mountain played that final offensive drive without running backs Warford and Damian Hojnacki, who both left the game with injuries.

Juniata (1-2, 1-1) hosts Newport Sept. 20.