Each week during the 2021 season we’ll offer some news, notes, tidbits and opinions from each of the five divisions in the Mid-Penn Conference.
Juniata starting to perk up offensively
For those who might have thought Juniata was relying almost entirely on its defensive unit to turn back opposing football teams, Kurt Condo’s Indians (5-2, 3-0) seem to be figuring out a few things when they have the rock in their collective hands.
Just last weekend, at home and with the engines roaring at nearby Port Royal Speedway, Juniata piled up more than 400 yards of offense and had six players locate the end zone en route to a decisive 44-0 conquest of Midd-West.
While Condo’s Indians rushed for 297 yards — only battering ram fullback Seth Laub (4 carries, 115 yards, a TD) cracked the 100-yard barrier — quarterbacks Aaron Kanagy and Wyatt Ehrenzeller combined to throw for 110 yards and a pair of scores. And while Newport (2-5, 2-1) will visit The Kling this weekend following a 41-7 drilling of James Buchanan that featured 247 rushing yards and two scores from Aiden Dishman, the stingy Juniata defense figures to make things really tough on Todd Rothermel’s Buffaloes.
Against Midd-West, Juniata yielded 45 total yards to the struggling Mustangs (minus-65 on the ground) and chased beleaguered quarterback C.J. Regester relentlessly. Middle linebacker Waylon Ehrenzeller may not be a household name in Mid-Penn Liberty homes, but the undersized junior always seems to find the football. He paced the Indians with nine tackles last weekend, including several QB sacks. Sitting on a three-game winning streak, Juniata can move one sizable step forward toward a Liberty crown by pocketing a victory over Newport.
Upper Dauphin still wheeling and dealing
Just when opposing defenses were beginning to concentrate on slowing down Upper Dauphin’s dependable stable of running backs — Brady Morgan, Christian Snyder and Alex Hepler — quarterback Wil Laskowski stepped squarely into the spotlight in the Trojans’ 40-8 triumph over Susquenita (3-3, 2-1). Laskowski ran seven times for 95 yards and completed just one of his three pass attempts for 29 yards, but the first-year senior accounted for three touchdowns … and all of them came in the first quarter. After running for scores covering 50 and 15 yards, Laskowski located tight end Aiden Wiest for a 29-yard touchdown with one second remaining in the opening stanza.
That pushed the Trojans (5-1, 3-1) to a 20-0 advantage. Up next for UDA, which has won four in a row since falling to Juniata in Week 2, is a Halifax club (1-5, 1-2) trying to deal with numbers issues that will pull into Elizabethville. While the Wildcats conceded a 38-7 loss to Juniata at halftime two weeks back due to injuries — including one that sidelined sophomore quarterback Carter Enders, Earl Mosley’s club opted out of last weekend’s dust-up with Line Mountain.
This and that
Susquenita will keep its dimming hopes for an outright or share of the Mid-Penn Liberty crown when the Blackhawks entertain James Buchanan (1-5, 1-2). The big question in Cove is who will be at quarterback when the game begins — Derek Gibney, Laiken Miller or Mason Figard. Gibney (concussion) sat out last weekend’s game against Upper Dauphin, causing first-year skipper Augie Glass to move Figard to QB. Since Figard was ineffective (0-for-2), Miller moved behind center and targeted eight of his 31 pass attempts for 96 yards.
He was picked off once. JB, which has dropped four straight, managed just 105 total yards in its loss to Newport. … After making a lengthy jaunt to Allentown’s Muhlenberg College to play pass-happy Executive Education, winless Line Mountain (0-6) will pay a visit to Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier for a non-league scrap with North Penn-Mansfield (3-4). The Eagles banked 173 of their 181 total yards before the break — the game was scoreless at the time — but ExecEd’s Darmel Lopez threw four second-half touchdown passes and wound up with 371 passing yards before the game was over. NPM also is coming off a loss, having dropped a 44-14 decision to Athens.