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Wildcats lose to Juniata by inches! @usofootball @PGHCityLeague @JHS_Football

Written by: on Sunday, November 14th, 2021

 

Wildcats lose to Juniata by inches!

@usofootball @PGHCityLeague @JHS_Football

USO WildcatsWildcat (3-6) District 8 vs Juniata Indians (9-2) District 6 at Mansion Park

PIAA 4A  Playoffs

My Twitter @GregoryRicupero

If you like good defense, Mansion Park was the place to be Saturday. The USO Wildcats and the Juniata Indians battled to a scoreless tie after 48 minutes. Juniata would finally put the ball in the end zone in overtime and then hold on for the victory.

It was a cold and windy afternoon and the weather would effect the outcome. The strong winds limited the passing games. They also reduced or increased the punting yardage depending on if you were kicking with or against the wind. The Wildcats got the ball first and drove from their own 32 to the Indians 12, before turning it over on downs on fourth and 10. Quarterback Keon Smalls put a little too much on the ball throwing with the wind and the ball sailed out of the end zone.

The Wildcats were able to mix the run and pass all day. Juniata would struggle with field position all day starting six of their nine drives inside their own 20.The Indians managed one first down before punting it back to the Wildcats. The punt was batted down by the wind and only went nine yards.

Starting at the Indians 29, the Wildcats were able to convert a fourth and seven and drove inside the ten before facing a fourth and goal from the eight. This pass from Smalls was caught at the goal line by senior Rashan Murray with his back to the end zone. As he was being tackled he spun around and reached the ball out towards the end zone. When I saw it live I thought he was short and looking at it a dozen times after the game on video, I’m not sure. It was real close. I give the official credit he was it the right position and make the call right away.

 

The Indians starting at their own inch line were able to run out the first quarter and pick up one first down before punting again. The Wildcats started their third possession at midfield. Sophomore Daniel Cain made a great run on the first play gaining 21 yards. However a holding call and a sack on the next two plays killed the drive. Juniata’s next drive started at their own eleven. The Indians would go on their only sustained drive of the half. They drove to the Wildcat 16. On third and four quarterback Jacob Condo just missed hitting Makih Hunt for a touchdown.

On fourth down, the Indians were stuffed on a running play by junior linebacker Tarell Allen-Tooks. The Wildcats with just over two minutes to go in the half abandoned the running game. They completed three straight passes before being sacked twice and being forced to give the ball back to Juniata. They punted the ball back to the Indians, who would start the drive in Wildcat territory for the only time in the game. The Indians turned the ball over on downs four plays later with five seconds to go in the half. Condo missed twice deep throwing into heavy coverage. The Wildcats took a knee and we went to half scoreless.

Juniata started the second half at their own 33 and managed to get the ball to  midfield before a holding call ended the drive. Punter Trent Martin who had a very good day booted this one through the end zone. The Wildcats came out running the ball in a different formation setting up a trick play. Keon Smalls lateraled the ball to Allen-Tooks who threw deep. The Indians didn’t bite on the play and nearly picked it off. The Wildcats converted a fourth and a foot from their own 29 to keep the drive going. Smalls  would then scramble to his right and hit Malik McDougald for a 38 yard catch and run. McDougald was the main target all day and made some really nice catches. But the Wildcats turned it over on downs again. This time throwing incomplete on fourth and nine from the Indians 14.  The wind clearly effecting this pass.

The Indians tried to go to the air on their next possession and Condo was intercepted by sophomore Amare Gee. The Wildcats were back in business at the Indians 32. Once again penalties bit the Wildcats. An illegal formation and too many men on the field forced a punt. The Indians ran three plays and faced a fourth and one from their own 23 as the third quarter ended. The first play of the fourth quarter was a fake punt which netted Juniata a first down. But four plays later they would punt for real. Martin hit another 50 yard punt. USO starting at its own 21 immediately went to the air with McDougald making a beautiful toe tap catch on the right sideline. The 26 yard pass play got them up to midfield. A holding call and delay of game penalty would end the drive four plays later. The Wildcats punted and Juniata was pinned deep again.  The Indians starting at their own 15, once again went for it on fourth and one from their own 24 and made it again. However four plays later they punted again.  The Wildcats punted it back four plays after that. Juniata got the ball back one final time at their own 23 with 3:28 to go. Condo made two big runs on the read option including a bruising run into Wildcat territory. The Indians move the ball to the USO 19 with 18 seconds left when Condo tried to throw an out at the five to Makih Hunt. Rashan Murray made a nice play on the ball and intercepted it.

The Wildcats took a knee and we were headed to overtime tied 0-0.

Overtime 4 plays for the ten.

Juniata Possession

Play#1 Fumbled snap minus one yard.

Play#2 Condo’s pass deflected and almost intercepted.

Play#3 Double reverse Seth Laub 11 yard touchdown run. It was a great call fooled me!

 

After two defensive offside penalties on extra point attempt, the Indians decide to go for two and Condo sneaks it in.

USO Possession

Play#1 Khalil Byrd tackled for a one yard loss by Jonathan Kauffman who beat his block.

Play#2 Makih Hunt sacks  Smalls for a five yard loss.

Play#3 Wildcats go trips right and throw left. Rashan Murray just unable to scoop ball off the turf.

Play#4  Keon Smalls scrambles left and is forced out at the one.

 

Game Over -Juniata 8 USO 0

USO  0- 0- 0- 0- 0=0

Jun   0- 0- 0- 0- 8=8

J- Seth Laub 11 run 2pt Jacob Condo run (0-8) 1st OT

Notes-The Indians came into the game with three shutouts and the Wildcats came into the game having been shutout three times.

-Juniata starting field position-12,1,11,(44 USO),33,14,14,15,23

-Juniata will play Meadville next week.

-This was one of the best high school football games I have ever watched. It just goes to show you that you can throw records out when it comes to the playoffs.

-Their we’re no losers today, just winners, congratulations to both teams .

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