Juniata’s first win on the gridiron is Klingensmith’s 300th
MIFFLINTOWN — It was a day of mixed emotions for Juniata quarterback Jacob Condo.
It started tragically, but he made sure the day ended triumphantly.
After losing his grandfather Friday morning, Condo went out and delivered a four-touchdown performance in his first varsity start for the Indians.
It was enough to help Juniata defeat Pine Grove, 28-20, for its first win of the season and give coach Gary Klingensmith his 300th career victory.
Klingensmith became the 17th coach in PIAA football history to reach the mark.
“It’s more than you can imagine,” Condo said. “My dad’s been coaching since I was little and I’ve been a waterboy since I was in seventh grade. I looked up to Gary my whole life and to finally play for him, it’s a dream.”
Condo, a freshman, came off the bench against Williams Valley a week ago, leaving Klingensmith feeling good about the talent he had behind center.
He didn’t disappoint Friday, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another.
His first score occurred on the Indians’ second possession of the game. Condo helped lead the Indians 85 yards, accounting for 31 of those himself both in the air and on the ground. He capped it off by finding running back Bryson Clark for a five-yard score.
The drive was highlighted by Ty Martin’s 22-yard run on a misdirection play to the right that fooled every single Cardinal defender.
Martin finished with a team-high 97 yards rushing on 12 carries.
It’s safe to say the Indians missed Clark’s production on the offensive side as he and Condo later found each other on a beautifully set up 15-yard screen pass in the final seconds of the first half. Clark wasn’t going to be denied the scoring chance with the Cardinals closing in quickly, diving for the score.
The drive — following a Cardinal fumble that seemingly went 10 feet in the air out of Colin Luckenbill’s hands — tied the game at 14 before the team’s headed to the locker rooms.
The scoring play wouldn’t have been possible without Condo finding Jamie Bailer for 39 yards, setting the Indians up in the red zone with fewer than 30 seconds left in the first half.
The leg looked as if it were still a tad sore for Clark, who twice was stretched out on the field, once having to be helped to the sideline.
“The hamstring felt great, it just started to cramp,” Clark said. “I don’t know if it was the wet field and just not being able to get great footing. I don’t know. I tried everything I could to hydrate myself. I mean, I was taking shots of pickle juice on the sidelines. I was trying to do everything. It was just one of those freak things that I couldn’t help, but I didn’t quit.”
Clark ran for 36 yards on 11 carries and added 19 yards on three catches for the Indians.
“It’s great to have Bryson back. He made a big difference having him,” Klingensmith said. “In so many ways, he helps us. Not only on defense, but he’s blocking too.”
After the Indians had a three-and-out on defense, Condo and the offense went right back to work in the second half. He had just one completion on the Indians’ 14-play drive that included nine straight running plays. That completion happened to be a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jamie Bailer. The throw was so quick and well placed that the front defender had no shot on making a play.
Bailer finished with a team-high 51 receiving yards for the Indians.
Condo then scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, following the lead of his offensive line for the score up the gut.
“I can’t say enough for a ninth-grade boy,” Klingensmith said excitedly. “His grandfather just passed away this morning and he came out, threw three touchdown passes and scored one himself. Then at the end, when we have to hold onto the ball, he sneaks for that first down with a fourth, fifth effort. He has a great future ahead of him. … He’s just a young boy. It’s nice to know you’re going to have him for three more years.”
Condo finished 10-of-16 throwing for 109 yards. He also had two interceptions, but the Cardinals didn’t score on either takeaway.
The game started as if it would be all Cardinals (4-2, 4-1). Following a three-and-out by the defense, the Cardinals’ offense drove 90 yards down the field — 65 of which came from 10 straight rushes and a 15-yard penalty for facemask by the Indians. It was capped off by Josh Leininger connected with Dawson Ibarra on a 35-yard slant route.
The Cardinals forced three turnovers in the game and came away with a late score following a fumble by the Indians on a snap.
The drive already put the Cardinals in great field position, needing five plays to drive 31 yards. Luckenbill ran it in from one yard out to score his second touchdown of the game.
His other happened in the second quarter, finding a gap in the line and run as far right as he could, diving into the pylon after 35 yards.
Luckenbill ran for a game-high 108 yards on 13 carries for the Cardinals.
As for Klingensmith, he was humbled and gave all the credit to his team without losing an ounce of focus for an Oct. 5 contest at Upper Dauphin.
“The way it makes me feel is I’m glad it’s over with if I had to be real with you because I never gave any thought to it,” he said. “I wanted these kids to win because they fought so hard for it — 300 wins is like icing on the cake.
“We can now not worry about 301 and just go play football.”
Juniata 28, Pine Grove 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Pine Grove 6 14 0 6–20
Home 0 7 14 7–28
PG — Dawson Ibarra 34 pass from Josh Leininger (run failed), 5:21
J — Bryson Clark 5 pass from Jacob Condo (Chris Esh kick), 7:04
PG — Colin Luckenbill 35 run (Dalton Kintzel run), 1:36
J — Clark 15 pass from Condo (Esh kick), 0:05.1
J — Jamie Bailer 9 pass from Condo (Esh kick), 2:52
J– Condo 2 run (Esh kick), 7:34
PG — Luckenbill 1 run (run failed), 1:50
First downs 12 16
Total yards 261 271
Rushes-yards 38-191 40-162
Yards passing 70 109
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-9-0 10-16-2
Punts-avg. 2-31.5 1-34
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-25
RUSHING: PG — Josh Leininger 10-21; Dawson Ibarra 1-1; Dalton Kintzel 13-63; Colin Luckenbill 13-108, TD, Team 1-(-2). J– Jacob Condo 8-8, TD; Bryson Clark 11-36; Ethan Grove 7-20; Ty Martin 12-97; Jim McLaughlin 1-3, Team 1-(-2).
PASSING: PG– Josh Leininger 4-9-0, 70 yds., TD. J– Jacob Condo 10-16-2, 109 yds., 3 TDs.
RECEIVING: PG– Dawson Ibarra 3-64, TD; Andrew Griffins 1-6. J– Steven Ranck 1-6, Jim McLaughlin 2-25; Ethan Grove 2-8; Bryson Clark 3-19, 2 TDs; Jamie Bailer 2-51, TD.