Indians take advantage of 8 turnovers
MIFFLINTOWN — Juniata rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns while capitalizing on eight Bald Eagle Area turnovers to advance to the District 6 Class 3A semifinals with a 41-19 win over the Eagles night at Dietrick Field.
The Indians (8-3) advance to meet top-seeded Huntingdon Friday at 7 p.m. The Bearcats defeated Juniata 38-20 in the regular season.
“Our offense — they couldn’t stop us,” Klingensmith said. “They played their ends wide. We couldn’t get outside, but we could get underneath them. They tried to blitz and all, but we were able to pound them underneath the ends on either side. If we hadn’t dropped some of our snaps, we could have made it (the score) really big. “
Quarterback Jeremiah Parson and running back R.J. Becker each scored two touchdowns for the Indians, while tight end Ben Lauver caught both of Parson’s passing touchdowns, scoring on two of his three receptions.
For the senior Lauver the objective is simple — live to fight another day and prepare for the multi-faceted attack of the Bearcats.
“In the playoffs, everyone is good from here on out,” Lauver said. “We get to play another week instead of going home, especially for the seniors, we get to keep playing.”
The name of the game for Juniata was forcing and then making the most of the eight turnovers the Eagles gifted to them. The Indians scored all six of their touchdowns off Bald Eagle’s miscues.
“Unfortunately, we cut ourselves short,” Bald Eagle coach Jesse Nagle said. “We could have played a lot better against them, especially in that first half. Turnovers hurt us all season.”
Juniata opened up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Parson scored from a yard out at the 6:48 mark and then threw a 15-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone to Lauver with three seconds left in the quarter.
The Eagles made it 14-7 when running back Blake Roberts scored his first of two touchdowns on the night with a four-yard blast up the middle. Roberts keyed the drive with a 40-yard reception from quarterback Jaden Jones that put the ball on the Indians 11.
That was a close as Bald Eagle would get the rest of the game as Juniata countered with 21 unanswered second-quarter points to make it 35-7.
Becker scored on a 22-yard run, Parson ran 25-yards to daylight, and Lauver caught a six-yard TD with 1:02 left in the half. The offensive line pounded the Eagles front four all game long — gashing them for 192 yards rushing in the first half.
“My offensive line did a great job; give them a lot of credit. They busted them and kept coming after them. They don’t get enough credit. They did a nice job tonight,” Klingensmith said.
Bald Eagle (4-7) staved off the bleeding to some extent with a late touchdown right before half. Roberts capped off a 6-play, 42-yard drive that took just 49 seconds by scoring from a yard out. Jones keyed the drive with a 22-yard pass to Derek Henry and a 27-yard strike to Gage McClenahan.
“Defense was a problem tonight. In particular, we need a better pass defense. We did a good job against their rush, but our pass coverage was a little too loose,” Klingensmith said. “I think some of our kids get too worried they’re going to give up a big play, but you have to be a little reckless and take a chance sometimes. On the bright side, our kids got after them and forced those turnovers. I’m proud of our defense for playing as well as they did.”
Juniata made a big stop on the Eagles’ opening drive of the second half. BEA drove to the Indians five-yard line but came up empty. Two runs netted negative five yards and on fourth-and-goal from the 10, Jones’ pass sailed incomplete.
“Second half we’re fighting a pretty good deficit,” Nagle said. “But you still believe and you keep on fighting. If we score that opening drive of the second half, it could have been a different ballgame. Again, it’s a missed opportunity.”
After a Bald Eagle fumble gave the Indians the ball on the one, Becker fell on his fumble to get the one-yard touchdown and end the third quarter with Juniata on top 41-13.
The Eagles added a late touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Jones to Nick Turner, who caught five passes for 64 yards. Jones was 18-of-36 for Bald Eagle with 255 yards and a touchdown, but also threw five interceptions. Becker (79 yards), Bryson Clark (68 yards), and Parson (56 yards) paced the Juniata ground game.
With Bald Eagle in the rearview next up is Huntingdon (9-1), the top dog in District 6 Class 3A and the anticipated rematch.
“It’s going to be tough. Huntingdon is loaded and they have no weaknesses,” Klingensmith said. “We gave them a good game last time and we have to learn from our mistakes. We have to play a perfect game to beat them.”
Juniata 41, Bald Eagle 19
Bald Eagle 0 13 0 6–19
Juniata 14 21 6 0–41
Order of scoring
J — Parson 1 run (Esh kick), 6:48
J — Lauver 15 pass from Parson (Esh kick), 0:03
BEA — Roberts 4 run (Harris kick), 9:35
J — Becker 22 (Esh kick), 7:03
J — Parson 25 run (Esh kick), 1:02
J — Lauver 6 pass from Parson (Esh kick), 1:02
J — Becker 1 run (pass failed), 1:07
BEA — Turner 10 pass from Jones (pass failed), 7:45
First downs 13 20
Rushes-yards 22-72 58-278
Comp-Att-Int 18-36-5 5-10-0
Passing 255 50
Total yards 327 328
Punts-Avg. 2-20.5 4-33.5
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 4-2
Penalties-Yards 8-79 6-63
RUSHING: Bald Eagle–Robers, 14-73, 2 TDs; McClenahan, 2-6; Jones, 5-(-8); Bisel, 1-1. Juniata– Clark, 11-68; Grove, 15-47; Parson 12-56, 2 TDs; Piper, 6-28; Becker, 14-79, 2TDs.
PASSING: Bald Eagle — Jones, 18-36-5, 255 yds. Juniata– Parson, 5-10-0, 50 yds.
RECEIVING: Bald Eagle– Turner, 5-64, TD; Gardner, 4-37; Roberts, 3-66; McClenahan, 3-33, Henry, 2-38; Bechdel, 1-17; Juniata– Lauver, 3-46, 2 TDs; Piper, 1-6; Grove, 1-(-2).
INTERCEPTIONS: Bald Eagle– none. Juniata–Leonard 2, Becker, Lauver, O’Donnell.