Gorman, Juniata edge Miller and Susquehanna
Saturday's annual Goal Post Trophy Game between Susquehanna and Juniata turned out to be a defensive battle and unfortunately for the Crusaders, the Eagles reclaimed the rivalry trophy, winning 17-10 in Huntingdon.
SU (1-9, 1-8) was outgained by the Eagles (7-3, 6-3) by nearly 200 yards as Juniata accumulated 355 yards of total offense compared to 159 for the Crusaders.
The Eagles finished off their most successful season since 1990 (7-3) as the Crusaders suffered their worst campaign since 1978 (1-8).
Each of the defenses featured a local player as Waverly graduate Kevin Gorman had four tackles, two solo, and a tackle for a loss in the win for Juniata and Towanda grad Cody Miller had five tackles, one solo, and a tackle for a loss for Susquehanna in the loss.
Sophomore running back Tim Wade (Doylestown, Pa. / La Salle College HS) had 14 carries for 56 yards and junior quarterback Mark Rosenbaum (Long Valley, N.J. / West Morris Central) completed 10 of 20 passes with one touchdown but threw three interceptions.
Junior Denzell Walker (Baltimore, Md. / McDonogh School) led the team with four receptions for 58 yards, all coming in the second half, and Will Howell (Philadelphia, Pa. / Roman Catholic) caught two passes including a 29-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, junior linebacker Adrian Bernard (East Stroudsburg, Pa. / Pius X) recorded a game-high 10.5 tackles and also forced a fumble. Safety Steven Viegas (Sparta, N.J. / Sparta) registered 9.5 tackles and defensive back Pat Cutillo (Glenmoore, Pa. / Downingtown West) had nine tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.
For Juniata, quarterback Ward Udinski ran for 118 yards on 20 carries and accumulated 155 yards through the air on 11 completions.
Trailing 10-3 with 10:15 left the third quarter, the Eagles were knocking on the door to jump out to a 17-3 lead but a crucial goal line stand by SU kept the contest a one-possession game.
But the momentum that the Crusaders had found quickly disappeared as the Eagles' Charles Sweigert picked off Rosenbaum and returned the interception 34 yards for a touchdown to put SU in a 14-point deficit.
At 11:41 in the fourth, Rosenbaum found Howell on a fade route in the endzone to cut the Juniata lead to 17-10. The Crusaders had a pair of possessions in the remaining minutes of the final period, but the Eagles remained stout and held on for the rivalry victory.
SU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as junior Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa. / Selinsgrove Area) nailed a 28-yard field goal with 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
But the Eagles countered with a 25-yard field goal in the beginning of the second period to knot the contest at 3-3. Juniata claimed their first lead of the afternoon on an Udinski 14-yard quarterback scramble with 9:04 remaining in the opening half.
The Crusaders looked to dial up a gadget-play at 3:45 in the second quarter as Howell threw a deep-ball to Casey Tosches (Princeton Junction, N.J. / West Windsor Plainsboro South) but the pass was incomplete and SU was forced to punt.
At the end of the first half, Juniata lined up for a 36-yard field goal, but head coach Steve Briggs called consecutive timeouts and effectively "iced the kicker" as Ken Kysor's boot sailed wide left and the Crusaders went into the locker room trailing 10-3.