Tri-Valley overcomes ‘weird plays’
HEGINS — Tri-Valley dominated every statistical category in its Tri-Valley League opener with Juniata.
But with 4:23 left in the game the Dawgs were losing the most important stat: the scoreboard.
Down a point, quarterback Daulton Leedy and the offense changed that very quickly. Leedy ran the option and kept it for a 21-yard touchdown to propel the Dawgs to a 20-13 victory over the visiting Indians.
Tri-Valley came out of the gate fast and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Indians. On their first possession of the night, the Dawgs found the end zone. The drive went six plays and covered 45 yards. It ended when Ike Lucas scored from 4 yards out as the Dawgs quickly led 6-0. Lucas led the Dawgs in rushing on the night with 107 yards on 22 carries.
The rest of the first quarter and the next two quarters saw the Tri-Valley offense sputter, and it had a couple weird plays happen eventually the visiting team took the lead.
Juniata tied the game on one of those weird plays later in the first quarter. It happened when, on 1st-and-10 from the Juniata 49-yard line, quarterback Jeremiah Parson ran a quarterback sneak.
What looked like a simple sneak right behind the center turned into a 51-yard touchdown run.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Tri-Valley head coach Jeff Sampson said. “That’s one of those football things that you don’t really have an answer for. My hat’s off to Juniata as they played four quarters but as to why that happened I really don’t have an answer.”
The second quarter started for Tri-Valley with a nine-play drive that took five minutes off the clock. The drive came up empty when Lucas was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the Juniata 21-yard line. Lucas had a big run to the Indians’ 9-yard line on the drive that would have set up a first-and-goal — but it was negated by a penalty.
After the Tri-Valley defense forced a three-and-out, the Dawgs hit paydirt to take the lead. It was another long drive for the offense that went 61 yards and lasted 11 plays.
On fourth-and-goal from the Juniata 3-yard line, Leedy rolled to his right and kept it, hitting the pylon for the score. The two-point conversion attempt was no good and the Dawgs settled for a 12-6 lead going into the locker room.
Tri-Valley dominated the first half on the stat sheet, out gaining Juniata by 100 yards. They ran 20 more plays and had 10 first downs to Juniata’s three, but could only show a six-point lead.
The second half started with the Dawgs receiving the kick and another weird play struck. After the Dawgs were forced to punt, Leedy hit the ball off the side of his foot and Juniata lineman Christian Benner tried to pick it up — but couldn’t as the ball bounced around. Juniata eventually recovered at the Dawgs’ 25-yard line and the punt netted minus-11 yards.
Juniata capitalized on the field position and took the lead when Parson plunged from three yards out. Chris Esh’s conversion kick gave Juniata a 13-12 lead.
Tri-Valley would not let its effort go to waste though. After a Leedy punt pinned Juniata at its own 10-yard line, the defense went to work again. The Dawgs stopped Juniata on three consecutive runs and got the ball back for the offense. The defense on the night limited the Indians to 175 total yards, 84 of them came on two plays, and held them to seven first downs.
“They are very good at screens and getting the back out of the backfield,” Sampson said. “We drilled defense to these guys all week and I thought they did a terrific job tonight.”
With 4:23 left the Dawgs took over on the Indians’ 39-yard line. It ended with the deciding score.
Tri-Valley improved to 2-0 while Juniata is 0-2, 0-1 in the league.
Tri-Valley 20, Juniata 13
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata 6 0 7 0–13
Tri-Valley 6 6 0 8–20
TV–Lucas 4 run (Kick failed).
J–Parson 51 run (Kick failed).
TV– Leedy 3 run (Pass failed).
J– Parson 2 run (Esh kick).
TV– Leedy 21 run (Leedy run).
First downs 7 14
Total yards 175 262
Rushes-yards 29-138 41-196
Yards passing 37 66
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 3-9-1 9-15-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 2-10 4-35
RUSHING: J– Parson 12-102, Tr.Martin 7-19, Grove 8-16, Ty.Martin 2-1; TV– Lucas 22-107, Leedy 17-80, Herb 2-9.
PASSING: J– Parson 3-9-1-37; TV– Leedy 9-15-0-66.
RECEIVING: J– Ranck 2-32, Tr.Martin 1-5; TV– Stiely 3-25, T.McGrath 2-9, O’Prey 1-15 Snyder 1-9, Lucas 1-7. Herb 1-1.