By 4th Down Staff:
On the field, it's been a good week for Jacob Condo.
By Michael Bullock:
1. No. 300 … finally
For five weeks, the anticipation swelled among those gathered in Mifflintown and elsewhere, and then plummeted when hopes of a positive result disappeared. Yet when Juniata (1-5, 1-4) bounced off Dietrick Field Friday night with a 28-20 victory over Pine Grove, Indians chief Gary Klingensmith finally was part of a distinguished group — the 300-win club. What’s made Klingensmith’s sparkling achievement even more astounding is all 300 of his victories have been piled up at Juniata, where he’s patrolled the sidelines for 50 seasons. He’s the 17th coach in Pennsylvania history to reach 300 victories. “I’ve never given it a lot of thought,”Klingensmith told the Lewistown Sentinel. “To get 300 wins is nice, but I figured a coach who has stayed around as long as I did should have 300 wins. Like I said, it was never one of my goals. But there are some great coaches out there who have won 300 in less time than I have. I’m honored to be up there with that group.” Klingensmith, a southwestern Pennsylvania native who played at Penn State and led the Nittany Lions in rushing as a junior in 1963, arrived in Mifflintown prior to the 1969 season after spending three years as head coach at Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. He’s never left. And the former Nittany Lions standout, whose PSU teammates included Glenn Ressler, NFL Hall of Famer Dave Robinson and former Juniata assistant coach Ralph Baker and whose PSU coaches were the late Rip Engle and the late Joe Paterno, will chase No. 301 on Friday night when he takes his Indians to Upper Dauphin.
2. Defending champs trying to keep pace
Fully engaged in a four-game stretch that will determine whether they will repeat as Tri-Valley League champions, Williams Valley (5-1, 4-1) will try to keep its hopes of repeating very much alive when Tim Savage’s Vikings pay a visit to neighboring Pine Grove (4-2, 3-2). Williams Valley last weekend sidestepped a valiant effort from Line Mountain, eventually emerging with a 13-7 verdict. Quarterback Levi Engle (11-for-21, 176 yards, INT) passed for one touchdown and ran for the eventual game-winning score as the Vikings erased the deficit (7-0) that stood at the break. Jayden Cruz also had a big night for the Vikes, as he caught eight passes for 123 yards. While Cruz’s 25-yard TD catch early in the third quarter pulled Williams Valley even, Engle’s 9-yard burst early in the fourth put Savage’s club ahead to stay. While the Vikings also had a 61-yard touchdown run by Brady Miller wiped out by one of their 10 penalties, they did force two turnovers (Engle recorded his fifth pick of the season and 14th of his career) while yielding a mere 140 total yards. As for Pine Grove, Frank Gaffney’s Cardinals were victimized 28-20 at Juniata despite 108 rushing yards (13 carries) and two scores from back Colin Luckenbill. QB Josh Leininger tossed a 34-yard TD pass to Dawson Ibarra in the opening quarter that gave Gaffney’s bunch the early lead. The Cards also forced three turnovers. For Pine Grove to knock the Vikings down a peg, the Cardinals must put a lid on Engle. Whether the Cardinals can run effectively against a capable Williams Valley defense — inside linebacker Bryce Lucas piled up 11 stops and D-tackle Spencer Dimon had eight — is another key.
3. Halifax aiming to keep its slate clean
Trailing last weekend at the halftime break, Earl Mosley’s Halifax Wildcats (6-0, 5-0) pitched a second-half shutout and rallied to knock off Tri-Valley 28-12 at home. While the victory kept an undefeated Halifax side atop the TVL standings, Mosley & Co. now must face a Susquenita squad (2-4, 2-3) that’s battling for its District 3 Class 3A playoff life. Halifax played last weekend without breakaway back Jay Zerby, so whether or not he’s available remains a sizable question mark. The Wildcats, however, can get it done offensively behind quarterback London Johnson, running back Evan Billow and wideout Broc Grosser. Susquenita, which fell to ninth in the District 3 power rankings with its 30-22 loss to Upper Dauphin, probably must win out to be part of Class 3A’s six-team bracket. Scott Acri’s club was tied (22-22) with the Trojans heading into the final quarter, but the Blackhawks were unable to rally after UD punched one in. John Stump rushed for 164 yards and two scores to lead Susquenita, while Austin Kenny added 83 rushing yards and a 1-yard TD plunge that pulled Acri’s bunch even late in the third quarter. Even if Susquenita can control the ball against Halifax, the Wildcats have enough home-run hitters that a quick strike can erase plenty of problems while demoralizing opponents. Loss of leading tackler Conner McGuire for the season is another downer for the ‘Hawks.
4. Line Mountain hoping to rebound … again
Back on the TVL road for the second straight week following a frustrating 13-7 loss at Williams Valley, Line Mountain (3-3, 3-2) will be facing a Newport side (1-5, 1-4) that will have a short week to prepare. While Brandon Carson’s Eagles were unable to cash in offensively despite 100 yards from Colby Scott and several trips inside the red zone, they were terrific defensively against a high-powered Williams Valley attack — especially up front. Down linemen Dillon Bohner, Jacob Feese, Noah Shaffer and Dominick Bridi combined for 20 stops and two sacks, while Feese covered a fumble in the end zone for Line Mountain’s lone score. Outside 'backers Cameron Gaw and Chance Hackenburg shared 12 tackles, with Gaw sacking QB Levi Engle three times. Inside '5backer Ki Phillips added eight stops. Newport rolled up nearly 300 rushing yards in its 47-0 whitewash Monday night at Millersburg, with junior Ethan Rode piling up 179 yards on just 15 attempts. Rode has cracked 100 yards five times thus far for Todd Rothermel’s Buffaloes. Defensively, the ‘Port limited Millersburg to just 183 yards and picked off four Caden Feaster passes — including Mason Huggins’ 35-yard pick-six in the third quarter. Whether Newport can run on Line Mountain is a huge key since the Eagles will put heat on QB Elijah York. Junior QB Evan Herb is bound to break out one of these days for Carson’s club, which sits seventh in the District 4 Class 2A playoff rankings.
5. Upper Dauphin still rolling
Using its balanced running attack yet again, Upper Dauphin (5-1, 4-1) completed a perfect September last weekend by extending its winning streak to four games with a 30-22 success at Susquenita. QB Macklin Ayers, RB Jake Ramberger and FB Donnie Gelnett combined for 210 rushing yards and four touchdowns as Kent Smeltz’s Trojans remained tied for second place in the TVL. Gelnett’s short blast early in the fourth quarter and Ayers’ subsequent two-point pass to Ben Cope snapped a 22-22 tie and lifted UD to the victory. Zach Rupp swiped two passes and Mason Wiest piled up 11 tackles as the Trojans’ defense totaled four takeaways. Back at home, UD will play host to a Juniata squad (1-5, 1-4) that finally broke into the win column with an emotional 28-20 conquest of Pine Grove. Not only was the win the 300th of head coach Gary Klingensmith’s career, but it also doubled as the first win for freshman QB Jacob Condo. Condo, despite losing his grandfather earlier in the day, passed for three touchdowns and ran for another. The Indians also picked up 100 yards rushing from junior Ty Martin. Whether Juniata can sustain its momentum is one thing, but the Indians must try to slow down Upper Dauphin’s productive running attack — and no one has really succeeded yet.
6. Tri-Valley, Millersburg looking to halt slides
Having lost two straight and three of its last four, Tri-Valley (3-3, 2-3) will be looking to turn things around when winless Millersburg (0-6, 0-5) strides into the Hegins-Valley View Metroplex. Jeff Sampson’s Bulldogs were limited to 188 total yards in last weekend’s 28-12 loss at Halifax, but Friday night might be the time to reestablish feature back Ike Lucas — he had just 56 yards on 16 attempts at Halifax — since the ‘Burg has all sorts of trouble stopping the run. Tri-Valley’s secondary will be challenged by the Indians’ spread passing attack, but don’t be surprised if DE Kolt Schaeffer spends plenty of time harassing ‘Burg QBs. Caden Feaster threw for 134 yards in a 47-0 loss to Newport, but he was picked off four times. The good news was WR Logan Marshall returned to the Indians’ lineup after missing the Line Mountain game and caught three passes for 62 yards. The key will be slowing down Lucas, but coming in on a short week with a short roster ups the degree of difficulty as Aaron Wright’s Tribe try to end their 27-game losing streak.
By Michael Bullock:
1. Ground game, defense keep UD on the move
If second-year coach Kent Smeltz can get his Upper Dauphin defensive unit to continue to perform as it did last weekend in a decisive 42-14 victory over visiting Tri-Valley, these Trojans (4-1, 3-1 Tri-Valley League) might be sitting at or near the remarkably competitive circuit’s 10-team standings at season’s end. While UD is averaging nearly 43 points and 486 yards offensively through its first five outings, the Trojans' defense finally slowed someone down and won comfortably. UD yielded 159 yards and two scores to the Bulldogs while getting some terrific work from junior Brennen McAllister & Co. McAllister paced the Trojans with eight stops, including three for losses, as Smeltz’s defensive bunch limited Tri-Valley to 58 yards on the ground. Of course, it didn’t hurt the UD defense that the Trojans’ run-happy attack ran 76 plays to Tri-Valley’s 34 while piling up 446 rushing yards and 479 overall. QB Macklin Ayers ran 19 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns, while fullback Donnie Gelnett chimed in with 107 lengths on 16 attempts. Junior feature back Jake Ramberger added 79 yards on the ground (12 carries) and two scores, while Mason Wiest tacked up 52 yards and one touchdown. UD was so dominant on the ground that Ayers attempted just nine passes, completing four for 33 yards. Up next for the Trojans, one of four squads tied for second place, is a road date Friday night against a Susquenita side that could be down several defensive players.
2. Pine Grove gets back on track
With a Homecoming Night crowd on hand, Pine Grove used a quick start and a dominant running game to handcuff Susquenita 22-7. Dalton Kintzel rushed 32 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns for Frank Gaffney’s Cardinals (4-1, 3-1), while Colin Luckenbill picked up 70 yards and one touchdown on 10 attempts. Before the festivities were over — and the victory was celebrated — Pine Grove rushed 58 times for nearly 300 yards. Up next for Gaffney’s club, which sported a 14-0 lead after one quarter in its win over Susquenita, is a visit to Dietrick Field in Mifflintown for a date with Juniata (0-5, 0-4). Freshman quarterback Jacob Condo passed for 97 yards (10-23-2) and ran for 35 more and a touchdown in the Indians’ 37-12 loss to a rebounding Williams Valley side. Caleb Seeger added a late TD pass for Juniata, a 19-yarder to Billy Dressler. Juniata yielded 421 total yards, including 271 on the ground, even though four-year starter Bryson Clark saw his first action at linebacker since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1. Junior backer Glen Bonson’s eight tackles paced the Indians, who continue to chase head coach Gary Klingensmith’s 300th victory as Juniata’s skipper. The key here is whether or not Juniata can move the ball against Pine Grove’s opportunistic defense. If not, the Indians may be in trouble against the Cardinals’ productive running attack.
3. Eagles, Vikings to battle between the tall pines
Undoubtedly playing angry last weekend at Juniata — a loss at Susquenita one week earlier probably left Williams Valley a bit surly — Tim Savage’s Vikings (4-1, 3-1) will entertain a Line Mountain squad (3-2, 3-1) that has won its last two games at Williamstown’s Stauffenberg Field. Brady Miller had a huge game in Williams Valley’s 37-12 win at Juniata, rushing 16 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns (60, 12, 38) as the Vikings built a 16-0 halftime lead. Miller scored twice in the final quarter as Williams Valley pulled away late. Quarterback Levi Engle (9-18-0) added 150 yards and two scores passing for Savage’s club, but also rushed eight times for 57 yards. Defensive tackle Spencer Dimon paced the Williams Valley defense with eight stops. Line Mountain picked up nearly 100 rushing yards and two scores from Colby Scott, as well as touchdowns of three varieties from Breven Derk in racing past Millersburg 47-14. Where the Eagles really impressed was on defense, as Brandon Carson’s group yielded 111 total yards (minus-37 on the ground) to the struggling Indians. Line Mountain registered 11 sacks, 21 tackles for loss and picked off three Millersburg passes, with outside linebacker Chance Hackenburg recording four of those QB sacks. Nose guard Jacob Feese also posted four tackles for loss. The key here is whether Line Mountain QB Evan Herb can eliminate his underthrows and get his receiving corps to hang on to the ball. And can the Eagles close down Williams Valley’s running game while getting pressure on Engle?
4. Halifax hoping to remain perfect atop TVL
Unleashing a productive ground game last weekend, Halifax (5-0, 4-0) maintained its unblemished record by opening up a substantial lead before easing past Newport 41-19. Evan Billow (13-120), Jay Zerby (10-83, 2TDs), Tyler Berzowski (10-63, TD) and QB London Johnson (5-42, TD) were among the Wildcats ball carriers that piled up 319 rushing yards and pocketed four touchdowns against the host Buffaloes. Johnson added 131 yards passing (5-12-0) and connected with Broc Grosser on a 60-yard touchdown as Earl Mosley’s club needed just 16:09 to open a 28-0 lead. Grosser ignited the Halifax fuse by returning an interception 50 yards for the Wildcats’ first score. It was Grosser’s third pick-six of the season and his eighth swipe thus far. Mosley’s group will be back at home this weekend, as Tri-Valley (3-2, 2-2) will pay a visit. The Bulldogs’ defense could not get off the field last weekend, as Upper Dauphin ran 76 plays while amassing 479 yards of total offense — including 446 on the ground. QB Daulton Leedy (8-16-0) threw for 101 yards and one score, while Ike Lucas rushed for 58 yards and the other touchdown. The key here is whether Halifax can keep the Tri-Valley defense moving backward, be it by controlling the ball or hitting the big plays its capable of hitting. Tri-Valley must get its D off the field, but Jeff Sampson’s bunch also must find Grosser on every play since the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder is a fifth linebacker against the run and a threat to take it the other way any time he drops back in coverage.
5. Susquenita trying to regroup
Unable to continue the momentum it gathered while steamrolling defending TVL champion Williams Valley in Week 4, Susquenita (2-3, 2-2) will try to rebound from its 22-7 loss to Pine Grove by upending Upper Dauphin in Cove. What’s potentially troubling for Scott Acri’s Blackhawks is whether leading tackler Conner McGuire and Russ Amick will be cleared to play. Both were injured at Pine Grove, where Susquenita fell behind 14-0 and could never sustain the juice it gained while beating Williams Valley 29-7 one game before. Pine Grove also racked up nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while McGuire spent much of the night on the sidelines. John Stump, who rushed for 100-plus yards and three scores against Williams Valley, was limited to 36 running yards and one score. While Stump did catch four passes for 81 yards, he really made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball by making 17 tackles, including 12 solo stops. The key here is whether Susquenita can slow down a dominant Upper Dauphin ground game that’s averaging nearly 370 yards per contest, especially if McGuire and Amick cannot go.
6. Someone will pick up win No. 1
When Newport arrives in Millersburg for Friday night’s matchup of teams sitting at the bottom of the Tri-Valley League table, those on hand will pick up their tickets knowing someone must win. Might be Newport (0-5, 0-4), or it might be Millersburg (0-5, 0-4). While Todd Rothermel’s Buffaloes fell to league-leading Halifax last weekend at home, junior back Ethan Rode cranked out his fourth 100-yard effort in five weeks while surpassing 2,000 career rushing yards. Rode, who picked up 108 yards on 17 attempts, scored on a 2-yard run late in the opening half. Elijah York added 135 yards passing (9-20-0) for the Buffs, connecting with Andrew Bates and Beno Nunez for touchdowns. Millersburg’s Aiden Harman threw TD passes to Kyle Casner and Caden Feaster, but the junior QB (10-27-3) was picked off three times in a 47-14 loss at Line Mountain — each on the first plays of possessions. Harman was sacked 11 times and the Indians finished with negative yardage (minus-37) rushing. So, the key here is can the Indians keep Harman from getting dirty and can Aaron Wright’s defense prevent Rode from fueling a ball-control attack?