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Bulldogs hold off Indians ! @JHS_Football @mvillebulldogs

Written by: on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

 

Juniata Indians D6 (10-2) at Meadville Bulldogs D10 (8-3)

PIAA State Playoffs 4A Opening Round

In covering the Juniata Indians for the second straight week, I’ve learned they play very exciting football games. A week after winning a scoreless tie in overtime, they fell short in the final seconds of a shootout! Meadville came into the game averaging over 46 points a game. Juniata came into the game allowing just over 10 points a game. Something had to give.

The Bulldogs game into the game with a high powered offense. They like to run the ball, run the ball and run it some more. They average less than three passes a game and have three runners averaging over ninety yards a game on the ground. Khalon Simmons (148 yds/game 11.6 yds/car), Griffin Buzzell (116 yds/ game 9.3 yds/car) and Brady Walker (90 yds/game 8.3 yds/car) had scored 60 rushing touchdowns this year.

The Indians use a smothering defense.  Juniata had six shutouts this season in addition to holding another team to a field goal and two others to a single touchdown. The defense is led by Waylon Ehrenzeller (83 tackles, 9 sacks , 1 interception) and Jonathan Kauffman (66 tackles, 14 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries).

The Bulldogs let everyone at Bender Field know within the first three minutes it wasn’t going to be a defensive struggle. Meadville scored quickly on their first possession going 66 yards in just over two minutes with Griffin Buzzell going around left end for the last 41 yards. Brighton Anderson who was four of five on the day added the extra point to make it 7-0 Bulldogs. The Indians on the other hand started slowly for the second straight week. They had three penalties on their opening possession and punted. Neither team was able to get a first down on their second drives and punted. The Bulldogs had the ball and were driving as the first quarter ended.

This Bulldogs drive started at their own one after a great punt by Trent Martin. They converted a fourth and one from the Indians 41 as the drive continued. Khalon Simmons who scored four touchdowns on the day raced around the right side for an apparent 30 yard touchdown only to have it called back on a holding call.

Two plays later Zachary Harr picked off a rare Gavin Longstreth pass at the Indians seven.

Juniata managed just one yard on three plays and punted. Martin who almost had his first punt blocked did have this one blocked.

The Bulldogs had it at the Indians three. Two plays later Simmons did get his first touchdown and it was 14-0 Bulldogs.

Juniata again would go three and out and punt. The Bulldogs would score again driving 64 yards in four minutes with Simmons scoring his second touchdown. The extra point was blocked and Meadville lead 20-0.

With less than two minutes to go in the half the feel of the game seemed to change. To this point everything had gone Meadville’s way and the game to be honest wasn’t very good. The last 26 minutes it was a different story. The Indians started to spread the offense giving Jacob Condo a run/pass option. Juniata went right down the field going 61 yards in 58 seconds to make it 20-7. Jordan Dickinson capped the drive with a short run.

Meadville ran out the last minute of the half. Juniata who had gained some momentum seemed to have give it back on their first possession of the second half. The Indians managed just five yards in three plays and were forced to punt. However a too many men on the field penalty on the punt gave the Indians a first down in Bulldog territory and they continued their drive. Condo would finish the drive with back to back runs. The first run was a thirty yard scramble to the one. He scored on the next play and it was game on with the Bulldogs up only six.

The game got real good now with three touchdowns in 44 seconds. It took 12 seconds for Simmons to answer. He took a reverse on the kickoff and ran right up the middle 80 yards for his third touchdown and the Bulldogs with up by 13 again. It took the Indians three plays to answer the Bulldogs. On third and ten Condo hit Yanell Ortiz on a screen pass. Ortiz did the rest going 60 yards for a touchdown. Ben Wagner who made three of four extra points on the day had his kick blocked. It was now 27-20 Bulldogs.

Both teams would punt on their next possessions as they were unable to overcome holding penalties. Simmons and Juniata’s Seth Laub having big runs called back. Meadville would get inside the Indians red zone on their next drive, thanks to a 33 yard run by Buzzell. The Juniata defense then rose up to hold the Bulldogs to just two yards on the next three plays. Longstreth threw incomplete on fourth and eight from the 19.

Juniata would go right down the field, going 81 yards in 1 minute and 41 seconds. Seth Laub scored 15 seconds into the fourth quarter and Wagner tied it at 27-27. Laub ran over about five Bulldogs as he smashed his way down the right sideline. The Juniata defense immediately forced a three and out after a Wagner touchback. The Bulldogs appeared to be on the verge of blowing a game in which they had led by 20. The Indians would self destruct on their next drive however. Juniata got to the Bulldog 32 before a couple of penalties pushed them back. Meadville’s next possession was just a mess. The Bulldogs looked like they were in business, thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty against Juniata which gave them the ball in Indians territory. The next three plays were two false starts and a fumble. Juniata now had the ball at the Meadville 46. Three plays later they were forced to punt on fourth and eight. Martin had a beautiful punt and it was downed at the Bulldog nine with just 2:28 to go. The Bulldogs who had been using Simmons as a decoy most of the second half called his number on the first play. They ran off tackle right and Simmons split the defense and outran everyone for. 91 yard touchdown. Juniata still had over two minutes to response. Starting at their own 33 they drove to the Bulldog 38. On fourth and three with 38 seconds to go, Condo’s pass went incomplete.

The Bulldogs had the victory 34-27. For the second week in a row the Indians delivered a classic, this time they came up short.

J  0- 7-13- 7=27

M  7-13- 7- 7=34

M-Griffin Buzzell 41 run xp Brighton Anderson 9:41 (0-7)

M-Khalon Simmons 3 run xp Anderson 7:53 (0-14)

M-Simmons 1 run xp blocked 1:54 (0-20)

J- Jordan Dickinson 3 run xp Ben Wagner 0:56 (7-20)

J-Jacob Condo 1 run xp Wagner 8:09 (14-20)

M-Simmons 80 kick return xp Anderson 7:57 (14-27)

J- Yanell Ortiz 60 pass from Condo xp blocked 7:25 (20-27)

J- Seth Laub 38 run xp Wagner 11:45 (27-27)

M-Simmons 91 run xp Anderson 2:13 (27-34)

Notes:

-Meadville will play Jersey Shore next weekend.

-It was the last game for some really good Indians-Condo, Harr, Ortiz, Hunt and Martin

-Khalon Simmons is a special player. He reminds me of Sanders. Both Barry and Deion. He is super quick and can score from anywhere. On defense the Indians just would not throw at him. He basically forced them to use half the field. The Bulldogs didn’t have Simmons switched sides very often. Unlike Deion this kid can take and gave a hit. He had two or three great smashing tackles. I was on the Juniata sideline in the second quarter when he was crushed out of bounds. He popped right back up and helped the defender up. He’s a class act. The best thing is he is only a junior.

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