Line Mountain over Juniata
On a chilly senior night at Line Mountain, Kenny Boyer and a steady defense propelled the Eagles to a 28-17 TVL victory. Boyer scored three times and the Line Mountain defense created two second half turnovers as the hosts came away victorious in a see-saw game on Friday night.
After an uneventful first quarter of play which saw a short Juniata (6-3) field goal as the only scoring, Kenny Boyer took the reins of the Eagles offense. The senior quarterback plunged into the end zone from two yards out capping off an 11 play drive. Following a three and out on the Indians next possession, Boyer once again lead a Line Mountain (6-3) scoring drive, this time lasting only five plays, the last of which was an explosive 41 yard run for Boyer’s second score of the night.
Not to be outdone by their hosts, quarterback Tyler Clark and Juniata ran a quick six play drive on their last series of the first half ending with a 33 yard touchdown strike from Clark to running back Fletcher Hart to pull Juniata to within four.
The Indians offense picked up right where it left off on their opening drive of the second half. After a short Line Mountain punt, Juniata took over at its own 45 yard line. Clark proceeded to march his team 55 yards, hitting Zach Piper with a ten yard scoring strike and giving his team the lead.
Unfortunately for Juniata, Piper would be the last Indian to cross the goal line.
On the Eagles very next drive Boyer and the Line Mountain offense covered 80 yards, finishing with the Eagles quarterback once again calling his own number on a one yard dive into the end zone. The big play on the drive for Line Mountain was a 29 yard reception by sophomore receiver Breven Derk.
Boyer would total 179 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the night. He also threw for 75 yards and one score.
“I didn’t feel like there was any pressure on us because nobody expected us to win so that probably helped us a lot,” reflected Boyer.
It was at that point in the game Line Mountain’s opportunistic defense came to life.
Juniata began their next possession at their own 35 yard line. They were greeted by an Eagles defense eager close out a win. Indians running back Spencer Page was stuffed for no gain on first down. D.J. Quinn then sacked Tyler Clark for a seven yard loss on second down. Clark then made his first major mistake of the night, forcing a third and long pass into tight coverage and into the hands of defensive back Cole Hauck.
Juniata would eventually block Brent Osman’s field goal attempt to end the scoring threat.
Then, on what would prove to be Juniata’s last realistic chance to win the game, Hauck was once again able to pick off Clark and return the interception 48 yards deep into Juniata territory.
Minutes later it was Hauck again making a huge play, this time on offense, snagging a Kenny Boyer pass in the end zone. The late score, with 1:37 remaining to in the game, effectively salted the contest away for the home team.
Not only did Hauck and the Eagles defense create two second half turnovers, they limited a Juniata rushing attack averaging nearly 200 yards per game to just 37.
“This is huge for the team. Now we’re six and three. We’ve got a big game next week too. It’ll give us a good seed if we get our next win and we’ll end up going to districts at seven and three,” commented Hauck on what Friday’s win meant for his team.
For Line Mountain coach Brandon Carson, this has been the most meaningful win of the season. Carson praised the resiliency of his team after last week’s loss at Newport.
“I was a little worried about how we would respond after losing last week, so for us to respond and play the game we did is just a testament to these kids and how much they care and how far they’ve come personally. Just to keep fighting and believe in themselves is unbelievable,” said Carson.
Tyler Clark was Juniata’s most important offensive contributor completing 15 of 34 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Fletcher Hart and Spencer Page chipped in 27 yards each on the ground for the Indians.
Brent Osman added 68 rushing yards and Breven Derk hauled in 46 receiving yards for Line Mountain.
Line Mountain will travel to South Williamsport next Friday for its regular season finale. Juniata returns home to face Upper Dauphin.
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