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Written by: Greg Ricupero on Sunday, November 8th, 2020
PIAA 1st Round AAAA Playoffs
Juniata Indians (5-1) D6 champs vs Oil City Oilers (8-0) D10 champs
@JvHornetFB @jvhsathletics @homerwildcats
Saturday November 7, 2020
By Greg Ricupero Twitter @Gregory Ricupero
How can a game be sloppy, painful, exciting and entertaining? It happen Saturday at Mansion Park in a first round playoff game between Juniata and Oil City. The game lasted three hours and 15 minutes, which was painful but entertaining. I can’t remember a high school game that was so long, that didn’t go to overtime or have a weather delayed. I don’t think I have ever been to a game where more penalties were called. It might also be a record breaking game for fumbles considering the field was dry and the temperature pushing 80 degrees.
Juniata got the ball first and loss 18 yards on three plays, which included a penalty and a sack. Oil City then ran three plays and came up short of a first down, but a personal foul facemask penalty kept the drive alive. The turnovers now started. On consecutive plays both teams loss fumbles. Oil City fumbled at the Juniata 11 and on the next play the Indians fumbled it back to the Oilers. Defensive end Brandon Eppley picked up the ball and ran into the end zone for the score. The Oilers went for two and made it. Oil City was up 8-0. Juniata drove from their own 27 to the Oilers 20 on their next drive, thanks to a 42 yard run by senior running back Caleb Seeger. Indians head coach Kurt Condo used trick plays all day, some worked and some didn’t. The Indians dialed up a double reverse pass that fall incomplete. Two players later it was fourth and 27 after a holding call and a sack by senior linebacker Zak Kiefer. The Indians went for it but the pass was incomplete and another holding call was declined. The Oilers then drove 63 yards for their second touchdown helped by a defensive penalty. Senior running back Seth Christy scored from 33 yards out. The conversion failed and it was 14-0 Oilers. Juniata’s next drive went from their 35 yard line to the Oil City 35 as the first quarter ended. The first play of the second quarter saw the Indians facing a fourth and three. Junior quarterback Jacob Condo’s pass was incomplete and the Oilers took over on downs. Oil City would again drive the length of the field, going 65 yards, overcoming a holding penalty of their own. Senior running back Sean Stack raced in from 10 yards out and the Oilers led 20-0. At this point it was looking like a blowout and an early trip home. However, the Indians would need just a minute and two seconds to score. After another holding call against Juniata put them behind the chains, Condo hit senior Emmanuel O’Donnell with a beautiful pass over his shoulder O’Donnell would make a great catch and run away from the defense for a 70 yard touchdown. O’Donnell who had a nice game moving back and forth from tight end to split end, ended the day with six catches for 134 yards. Junior Ben Wagner added the point after. Both teams would go three and out and punt. The Indians were called for a personal foul on their punt. Senior quarterback Holden Stahl capped the drive with a short run and the Oilers led 26-7 with 2:45 to go in the half. The Indians drove from their own 42 to deep inside Oilers territory overcoming another penalty for an illegal man downfield. Seeger completed a 20 yard pass to quarterback Condo on a “Juniata Special”. With two plays to go in the half the Oilers defense came up big. On back to back plays they made 1 on 1 tackles in the open field. Check out my Twitter , I have both on there. They will probably be forgotten but if Juniata scores on either the outcome could have been different. On the first play Condo threw back against the grain and Stahl stopped O’Donnell short of the end zone. On the final play of the half senior corner Dakota Cole stopped Seeger on a flat pass short of the goal line. Halftime Oilers 26 Indians 7
All the Momentum at this point was with the Oilers and they got the ball first to start the second half. Oil City took the kick off and fumbled it back to Juniata. But the defense came up big again. Stahl stepped in front of a Condo pass and intercepted the ball.
The Oilers would then drive 55 yards into Juniata territory on the strength of a Christy 48 yard run. But now it was the Oilers turn to start committing penalties. An illegal procedure and a holding penalty pushed them back. Defensive end Austin Derr then recovered the second Oil City fumble of the half. The Indians Condo was then sacked again, but on third and 21 he scrambled for 17. Juniata got the first down when Oil City jumped offsides influenced by Condo’s hard count. But the drive stalled again when Condo was sacked. Juniata punted and a blindside block by Oil City put them back on their own 21. On the first play of the drive Stahl hit Dakota Cole with a quick pass. Stahlman was hit immediately and didn’t appear to have made the catch. However the officials never blew their whistles and junior linebacker Zachary Harr scooped up the ball and raced into the end zone for the score. Juniata was flagged for excessive celebration. But Oil City was called for clipping on the kickoff and then holding, pushing them back inside their own 15 as the fourth quarter got under way. The Oilers loss fumble number four of the half and the Indians had first and goal. Junior running back Yaneil Ortiz would score the first of his two touchdowns to cut the lead to 26-21. Ben Wagner then bounced the kickoff over the Oilers front line players, as everyone chased after the ball Oil City was not able to recover. The Oilers fifth loss fumble of the half gave the Indians the ball at the 13. Ortiz would score again to give the Indians their first lead. The two point conversion failed and with 8:58 left in the game Juniata was up 27-26. Wagner’s next kickoff i
Went thru the end zone. An offensive face mask penalty pushed the Oilers back to their own 13. Stahl under heavy pressure threw the ball deep down the right sideline. Cole made a great catch and broke a couple of tackles as he raced for the go ahead touchdown. Please check out the video on my Twitter. What you can’t see is the official on the left sidelines collision with an Oil City photographer. The game was stopped for at least thirty minutes while both teams went to their locker rooms and both men were taken from the field on stretchers. When the teams return Cole was able to run around and into the end zone for the two point conversion. The Oilers led 34-27. Juniata went three and out, but not before a delay of game penalty. Stahl again would come up with a big third down pass with a perfectly thrown pass to Stahlman from deep inside Oilers territory. (See video my Twitter) Oil City would then fumble again but were able to recover the ball. The Oilers then convert a fourth and eight from the Indians 36 only to have a holding penalty nullify it. Oil City was forced to punt and a good return puts Juniata at their own 38 with 2:03 to go and two timeouts. The Indians final drive started like this:
Play #1 false start
Play#2 sack, fumble but recovered -holding penalty was declined
Play#3 incomplete pass
Play#4 false start
But Juniata never gave up the entire game and once again got a big play. Condo hit O’Donnell for 35 yards and a first down. Condo did a great job managing the clock on the last drive, spiking the ball twice and running out of bounds inside the ten instead of trying to get extra yards. Condo then hit Seeger in the flats for a touchdown with 31 seconds left. It was now 34-33. I applaud coach Condo for going for the win, his kids deserved the chance and had to be spent after the huge comeback. The conversion failed and Oil City will move on. You can see attempt on my Twitter.
Players of the Game
Oil City- Holden Stahl quarterback a nice game. He has a nice deep ball. He plays both ways. He had an interception and may a touchdown saving tackle on back to back drives.
Juniata- Jacob Condo managed the clock very well. He could have easily quit and he took a beating all day. He also had nice touch on a couple of deep balls.
J – 0- 7-7-19=33
OC-Brandon Eppley 8 yard fumble return 2pts JT Stahlman pass from Holden Stahl (8-0)
OC-Seth Christy 33 run 2pts run failed (14-0)
OC-Sean Stack 10 run 2pts run failed (20-0) (Video my Twitter)
J-Emmanuel O’Donnell 70 pass from Jacob Condo xp Ben Wagner (20-7)
OC- Stahl 3 run 2pts run failed (26-7) (Video my Twitter)
J-Zachary Harr 30 fumble return xp Wagner (26-14)
J-Yaneil Ortiz 2 run xp Wagner (26-21) (Video my Twitter)
J- Ortiz 2 run 2pts pass failed (26-27) (Video my Twitter)
OC- Dakota Cole 76 pass from Stahl 2pts Cole run (34-27)
J-Caleb Seeger 5 pass from Condo 2pts run failed (34-33)
Oil City will play Upper Moreland next weekend.
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