Eagles Fall to Mules 56-17

Joel Reighard returned a first quarter interception 36 yards for a touchdown.
Joel Reighard returned a first quarter interception 36 yards for a touchdown.

ALLENTOWN, Pa.- Juniata took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter but host Muhlenberg was unfazed as the Mules scored 35 unanswered points in the first half on their way to a 56-17 win on Saturday afternoon at a cold and brisk Scotty Wood Stadium. The loss drops the Eagles to 4-3 overall and and 3-3 in the Centennial Conference while Muhlenberg improves to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the Centennial.


Juniata won the coin toss and elected to defer to its hosts. Muhlenberg was able to get into Eagles territory but the drive stalled at JC 35. Anthony Natale's punt only traveled two yards and JC set up shop at its own 33 to begin its first drive.


Matt Lehr (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) was stopped for a two-yard loss and then gained a yard which set up a 3rd and 11 from the 32. Hank Coyne (Royersford, Pa./Spring-Ford) completed a 26-yard pass to Aaron O'Brien (York, Pa./York Catholic) and the Eagles had a first down at the Muhlenberg 42. On second and 10 Coyne hooked up with Kirby Breault (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown) for 17 yards to the Mules' 25. A pair of Lehr runs got JC to the 21 but on third and five, Coyne missed Breault. Kevin Bonalle (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) came on and hit a 37-yard field goal to give JC a 3-0 lead with 8:24 left in the opening quarter.


The Mules began their next drive on their own 17. Nick Palladino passed to Willie Britt for 10 yards and Nick Savant picked up seven yards on a rush. On the following play, Joel Reighard (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area HS) stepped in front of Palladino's pass and raced 34 yards to the endzone for the score. Bonalle's extra point put the Eagles on top 10-0 with 7:21 remaining in the quarter.


Juniata tried to pull an onside quick but did not fool Muhlenberg as the Mules recovered at the Juniata 36 and moved up five yards because of an offsides penalty on the kick. Palladino pushed the Mules quickly downfield and tossed a five-yard score to Ryan Delaney to get Muhlenberg on the board at 4:24.


The Eagles could not muster any offense on the ensuing drive and were forced to punt. James Dougherty's (York, Pa./York Catholic) attempt would be blocked by Muhlenberg's John Feaster and the Mules took over at the JC 25. Five plays later, Savant ran it in from five yards out to give Muhlenberg a 14-10 lead with 1:52 left in the first.


The Mules scored three more times in the half to lead 35-10. Juniata scored its first offensive touchdown with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter as Coyne hit Breault for a 37-yard touchdown.


Coyne was 21-of-37 passing for 211 yards and one touchdown. Breault caught 10 passes for 115 yards and a score. Calvin Bembry (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) was the leading rusher with five carries for 30 yards.


Reighard led the defensive with eight tackles and his team-leading sixth interception. Jake Diviney (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) also had eight tackles.


Muhlenberg totaled 532 yards in total offense to 247 for the Eagles. Juniata outpassed the Mules 211-152


Juniata returns to Knox Stadium next Saturday to host McDaniel for its Pink Game. Kickoff will be at 1:00 p.m.