BALTIMORE, Md.- The Juniata football team hung close for a half before Johns Hopkins pulled away to win, 57-26, Saturday afternoon at Homewood Field.
Johns Hopkins struck twice in the first quarter, one a 10-yard touchdown pass and a one-yard run as they led 14-0. Juniata took over at their own 35 with 2:43 to go in the first. Calvin Bembry II (Hagerstown, Md. / North Hagerstown) carried the ball for 15 yards and a few players later on third and nine Tyler Clark (Mifflintown, Pa. / Juniata HS) found Sean Owens (Schwenksville, Pa. / Perkiomen Valley HS) for a seven-yard gain. On fourth and two following an Eagle timeout, Charles Debose (Tonawanda, N.Y. / Cardinal O'Hara HS) broke through with a 13-yard gain to get the first down. He followed with an 11-yard scamper to end the first quarter. After a run for no gain, Clark found Shaheed Ross (Philadelphia, Pa. / Delaware Valley Charter HS) for a 19-yard TD to cut the deficit in half.
The Blue Jays responded with an 11-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in another rushing touchdown to put them back up by two scores.
Starting from the Juniata 38, Fletcher Hart (Mifflintown, Pa. / Juniata HS) carried the ball for a short gain before Clark found Clay Spencer (Hummelstown, Pa. / Lower Dauphin H.S.) for seven yards and a first down. Debose toted the rock for a five-yard gain before Clark found Ross for an additional four yards on third and three for another first down. A holding penalty on Hopkins moved the ball to the hosts to the 38 and Clark found Owens for a 13-yard gain to move the ball into the red zone. Another penalty moved the ball to the nine. Hart ran it down to the one-yard line and Debose broke through on the next play to make it 21-14.
The Blue Jays responded with a six-play 88-yard that ended with a 33-yard rushing touchdown as they continued to find success on the ground. The Eagles couldn't get much going on offense and went into the locker room trailing 28-14 at the half.
The Eagle defense started the second half strong as they forced the Blue Jays to punt. Starting from the Eagle 20. It appeared JC had gone three and out until a roughing the kicker penalty gave Juniata a free first down. The Eagles capitalized on the gift as Bembry and Debose took turns gashing the Blue Jay defense on the ground. They combined for 60 yards to get the ball down to the two and Hart took it across the goal line to make it 27-20. Johns Hopkins blocked the PAT attempted and returned it to make it 28-20.
The Blue Jays responded by going 68 yards in four plays, scoring on a 39-yard touchdown pass to make it 37-20. Juniata went three and out and Hopkins took over at their own 45. In a little over three minutes, they found the end zone again to make it 44-20 with 14:15 to go in the game.
The Blue Jays struck again to make it 51-20. The Eagle offense started from their own 39 with just over eight minutes to go in the game. Hart carried the ball five times for 33 yards to put the Eagles at the Blue Jay 28. Aaron Golberg (Westminster, Md. / Westminster H.S.) found Owens for a seven-yard gain before he found Ross for an 18-yard TD to make it 51-26. The Blue Jays added one more touchdown with 16 seconds to go to complete the scoring.
Juniata will host Susquehanna on Senior Day, next Saturday at 1:00. It will be the 80th overall meeting between the teams and the 59th "Goalpost Game."