Tigers grind Hamburg
BEAVER SPRINGS — Physicality proved to be the factor in Friday night’s East Juniata game against Hamburg.
Both defensively and offensively the Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage en route to a 27-0 nonleague victory over the Hawks.
East Juniata’s offense finished with 344 yards to Hamburg’s 134.
There seemed to be no hangover effect from last week’s loss to Juniata County rival Juniata.
“It was a nice surprise — the last couple games were brutal. Against Juniata it was physical and we had to bring that game from that point on in the season just to have a chance,” East Juniata coach George Miskinis said. “We took it out of them a bit and we were able to do some things we saw on film and hats off to them they kept bouncing up. We thought we had the knockout punch but they bouncing back so we just have to keep working.”
Leading the way on the ground was Logan Pursely with 104 gritty yards. Teammates Owen Zechman and quarterback Marc Piccioni finished with a 55-yard and 52-yard performance, respectively, to complement Pursely.
Piccioni added a 5-for-9 performance through the air for 62 yards.
Offensively, the Tigers collected 21 first downs while the Hawks had only 10.
The East Juniata defense also got into the scoring act, picking up a safety late in the contest.
After a four and out by Hamburg to start the game, the Tigers’ scored on their second possession going on a seven-play drive that ended in a Logan Pursely nine-yard run, making it 6-0 with just 1:24 left in the quarter.
With the ground game working, East Juniata rumbled down the field and took precious time off the clock.
With 8:18 left in the second, the Tigers again put some hard earned points on the scoreboard as Trey Lauver capped a six-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run, upping the Tigers’ lead to 13-0 on a Cole Sauer PAT.
From there, the Tiger defense did the job and kept the Hawks from driving and scoring before the half.
East Juniata clinched the game in the third.
Starting the third quarter with the ball, the Tigers went right back to work on their ground game and marched the ball down the field to the Hawks’ 20.
Facing a fourth down, Piccioni went to the air and found teammate Kameron Kline with a 21-yard TD hook up, making it 19-0 with 8:37 left in the quarter.
Kline also helped defensively as he picked off Hawks quarterback Ryan Moseman.
After holding Hamburg on a fourth down on their own 9 the defense gave that ball back to its offense, which marched 91 yards downfield for its final touchdown.
Piccioni went to the air again hitting Owen Zechman on a 10-yard toss.
Defensively, the Tigers allowed only 85 yards rushing and 49 through the air for a total of 134 yards of offense.
In the final stanza, the East Juniata defense scored late by tackling Hamburg’s punter in the end zone after a bad snap, finishing things up at 27-0.
East Juniata (1-3) and it will look for its second win next Friday when it hosts Halifax.