HUNTINGDON, Pa.- Opposing running back Reggie JeanCharles sprinted up the middle before he cut to the left and outran everyone to the end zone on fourth and one with 19 remaining as Juniata fell to Gettysburg on Homecoming, 42-35, on a warm and sunny afternoon at Knox Stadium.
The game started with Gettysburg winning the toss and deferring. Juniata started with the ball but went three and out. Gettysburg responded with a three and out drive of their own. The next drive for Juniata would break this trend, although it was a one play drive as oppose to three.
One the first play from scrimmage Austin Montgomery (Bedford, Pa./Bedford Area) hit Justin Helsel (Martinsburg, Pa./Central) streaking up the middle of the field for 74-yard touchdown as Juniata went up 7-0. The defense forced another stop and the Eagle offense got back to work. On the seventh play of the drive, facing third and 14, Daulton Snyder (New Oxford, Pa./New Oxford) broke free in the secondary and Montgomery hit him in stride for a 61-yard touchdown.
The teams traded punts over the next several possessions. Gettysburg opened the second quarter with their drive stalling out at the Juniata 22. Their kicker booted a 41-yard field goal to get them on the board and make it 14-3. Shaheed Ross (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter), took the kickoff back 37 yards into Gettysburg territory. Montgomery ran for seven yards, Calvin Bembry II (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) ran for six. Jake Notestine (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) caught a pass for a short gain. Facing second and eight, Snyder broke open on a post from the right side and Montgomery found him for a 33-yard touchdown as the Eagles went up 21-3.
The Bullets came back with an eight play, 3:00 minute drive but the Juniata defense managed to again force them to kick a field goal, so the Juniata lead was cut to 21-6. Following the field goal, Juniata ate up five minutes on the clock but only managed 19 yards and had to punt. Gettysburg took full advantage as they drove down and hit on seven-yard touchdown pass to narrow the gap to 21-13. Juniata went into the half with eight-point lead.
Gettysburg scored the only touchdown of the third quarter on a 24-yard rushing touchdown and converted the two-point conversion to tie things at 21-21 heading into the fourth.
Facing second and eight from the Gettysburg 40, Montgomery lobbed a ball up to Helsel who was running down the field in single coverage. He leapt up and snagged the ball away from the defensive back to move Juniata down to the 13. Montgomery ran for seven yards on first down and on second down tricked the defense with some play action that freed up Dion Lattanzi (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) for six as the Eagles retook the lead at 28-21. Four plays into the following Bullets drive, Cameron Wood picked off a pass and took it 41 yards the other way to the Gettysburg 15. Matt Lehr (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) ran the ball down to the five on first down and on second down he ran up the middle to push the Juniata lead to 14.
Each team punted, with the Juniata punt being returned all the way to the Eagle 18, setting up Gettysburg seven-yard touchdown as they pulled within seven.
Juniata managed a first down on their next drive through a short pass to Notestine but had to punt four plays later. The Bullets took over at their own 17, and would not be denied. They went 11 plays in 83 yards as they hit on a 34-yard touchdown to tie the score.
Ross returned the proceeding kickoff 38 yards to the Juniata 45. Montgomery went to AJ Brocato (Abingdon, Md./Patterson Mills) for completions of seven and five yards to get a first down. After the first down pass fell incomplete, Helsel had to break up a wayward pass that looked to be an interception. On third down a nice play call freed up Notestine on the right sideline, but the pass sailed. Juniata had to punt, and with 1:06 on the clock the Bullets looked to find a winner. Runs of six and seven yards along with a seven-yard completion moved them to the Gettysburg 40 and they called timeout with 48 seconds left. Two more runs moved the ball to the Gettysburg 44 as they called another timeout with 37 seconds left. A seven-yard completion made it third and one from the JC 47. The following pass fell to the turf incomplete to set up JeanCharles game-winning run.
Juniata gets a bye next week before hosting Moravian, October 21st at 12:00.