Shore downs East Juniata 54-25; moves on to face Selinsgrove
The lengthy wide receiver took off from scrimmage and waited for the pigskin to find his hands.
That sequence happened more often that East Juniata would have liked.
Shore quarterback Taylor English hooked up with Skinner for three touchdowns, and the Bulldogs pounded the ball into the end zone a total of seven times for a 54-25 win over the Tigers in the District IV Triple-A semifinals at Jersey Shore.
“Eli is just a fantastic athlete,” Shore head coach Steve Eck said. “We threw it out to him and he makes things happen. We figured that he could beat anyone of their tacklers, being tall and athletic like he is.
“(Skinner and English) have got better. Early in the season, they struggled a little bit ä particularly at Central Mountain. Since then, they have picked it up a little bit. They do the things that receivers and quarterbacks should do.”
The win advances the Bulldogs to the district final against Selinsgrove, which blanked Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 35-0 last night.
Although East Juniata (3-8) started its first series off with a sensational, 76-yard pass from EJ’s J.J. Wert to Dexter Herman for the game’s first points, Shore came back and scored four unanswered touchdowns – shaking off the cobwebs that were apparent in the Bulldogs’ first two series. Shore (5-6) went three-and-out on its first drive, and fumbled the ball on the third play after East Juniata’s kick off.
“We started off slow,” said Skinner, who had 81 yards receiving. “It took us a while to get going, but we just stepped up – especially Logan Mariano and Logan Shay. They got the running game going. We just started playing good.
“We just called the right plays at the right time, and Taylor threw three awesome passes right to me. I think we underestimated them and didn’t come out as serious as we should have.”
Herman was the star for his team – catching three TD strikes in the game. Two came from Wert – one being the 76 yarder in the first while the other was a 22-yard pass in the second. The third was an 18-yard strike from Cody Cutler with 6:20 left in the game.
Cutler was on the receiving end of a 25-yard pass with 4.8 seconds left in the game that gave the Tigers its final points of the contest. On the ground, Cutler had 14 rushes for 57 yards. Wert was 9-for-19 with 229 yards passing and two interceptions. Herman ended the game with 200 yards receiving.
“It was fun. Actually, we told the guys at halftime that it was probably the first time ever that Tiger football had ever been ahead in a game,” assistant coach Joel Snyder said. “You can call it lucky, but we kicked off, stopped them and they punted. Then, we scored. That’s part of football. Whether it’s luck or not, it’s part of football.
“Dexter Herman had a heck of a game. It was great to watch him. He was hurt all year, and he was hurt (tonight), but he played really hard. It was 28-6, and we moved the ball and threw it down the field. We scored and that made it 28-13. What more could we ask from the team. Coming from where we are at, being 3-7, I thought that was a pretty good deal. Defensively, we had some pretty good things happening. We got beat a number of times, and the coaches have talked about that in the past. Overall, I think we should be pleased. We were outmanded quite a bit, but we’ll be back next year and see what we can do.”
Unfortunately, East Juniata couldn’t enjoy its final touchdown. Shore’s Ethan Robbins ran back the ensuing kickoff 84 yards, capping the scoring on the evening.
The Bulldogs (5-6) had a knack for finding the end zone, especially in the first half. Shore took a 42-13 lead into the locker room, giving the starters a chance to rest in the second half.
Signal-caller English completed 5-of-8 passes for 110 yards and three TDs – the third time this year the junior has had a three-touchdown game. The other came against Central Mountain at the beginning of the season. English also had a 1-yard scamper into the end zone.
Skinner was his main target on the night, as the senior caught four of those passes. Logan Shay had the other completed pass.
On the ground, three other Bulldog players found paydirt. Jake Potter, Ethan Robbins and Mariano each found the end zone from 1 yard out.
“It really wasn’t that tough,” Eck said in reference to preparing for the game. “We took a look at them. You never want to look ahead too far. I thought our kids responded well and came out and played. Our offensive line is quite a bit bigger than theirs, and we’re very athletic. We just got up in there and ran at them. We did that and pushed them around.”
Mariano ended the night with 53 yards on six touches, while Potter had eight carries for 52 yards. Shawn Ulmer touched the ball six times in the first half for 44 yards.
District IV Class AAA Semifinals
JERSEY SHORE 54, EAST JUNIATA 25
EJ – Dexter Herman 76 pass from J.J. Wert (kick blocked), 10:22
JS – Jake Potter 1 run (Eli Skinner kick), 5:25
JS – Skinner 31 pass from Taylor English (Skinner kick), 2:46
JS – English 1 run (Skinner kick), 11:37
JS – Skinner 22 pass from English (Skinner kick), 8:22
EJ – Herman 22 pass from Wert (Tyler Erhard kick), 5:39
JS – Skinner 17 pass from English (Skinner kick), 1:52
JS – Logan Mariano 1 run (Skinner kick), 31.6
JS – Ethan Robbins 1 run (kick failed), 41.0
EJ – Herman 18 pass from Cody Cutler (kick failed), 6:20
EJ – Cutler 25 pass from Wert (kick failed), 4.8
JS – Robbins 84-yard kickoff return (no kick), 0.0
First Downs 18 7
Rushes-Yards 43-274 20-56
Yards Passing 110 247
Total Offense 384 303
Passing 5-9-110 10-22-222
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-1
RUSHING: EJ, Cutler 14-57; Chris Swanger 2-6; Dominic Trader 3-(-6), Jake Wenrich 1-(-1). JS, Kasey Kemmerer 6-29; Mariano 6-53 TD; Potter 8-52 TD; Logan Shay 2-33; English 1-1 TD; Ian Berry 1-13; Logan Enders 5-23; Robbins 7-17 TD; Shawn Ulmer 6-44; Casey Rishel 1-9.
PASSING: EJ, Wert 8-17-2, 204 yards 2 TD; Sam Wray 0-1; Herman 0-1; Cutler 1-1-0 18 yards TD. JS, English 5-8-0, 110 yards 3 TD; Rishel 0-1.
RECEIVING: EJ, Herman 7-200; Cutler 1-(21); Wray 1-26. JS, Logan Shay 1-29; Skinner 4-81.
INTERCEPTIONS: EJ, none. JS, Logan Welshans, Jake Rogers.
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