Eagles record victory
BEAVER SPRINGS - Line Mountain beat East Juniata 44-28 Friday because the Eagles were more talented across the board.
They did not win because they wanted it more, or because they were sharp. Neither of those things are true.
In fact, Line Mountain (6-1) looked downright sloppy at times on both offense and defense, but Codi Morris and Dillan Michael, together and separate, were better than anything East Juniata could answer with.
Morris, starting at quarterback for the third straight game, completed 7-of-12 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards and two scores.
Two of Morris' touchdown passes went to Michael, who had 71 receiving yards and added 50 yards rushing.
"Codi played a nice game at quarterback throwing the football for us, and our backs started running hard and doing some things successfully," Line Mountain head coach Rodney Knock said.
Line Mountain came out and looked unlike the team that came in 5-1 and had taken care of the ball all season.
The Eagles received the opening kickoff, but ran only four plays before a procedure penalty and lost a fumble.
Fortunately, the Eagles' defense came to play early and limited East Juniata to just six offensive plays in the first quarter.
Line Mountain's first score came on a seven-yard pass from Morris to Michael.
Following a 32-yard field goal by the Eagles' Austin Snyder, Robert Cook read a screen pass perfectly and intercepted an Austin Bennett pass on the Tigers' next drive.
This time, Morris ran in from three yards out to cap a brief 37-yard drive and Line Mountain looked to be in total control, up 17-0.
That's when the tackling went south for the Eagles. In a theme that would repeat itself, the Tigers' Caleb Gehman took the kickoff, bounced off Line Mountain tacklers like a pinball and took the ball to the Eagles' 42.
On the very next play, East Juniata's Logan Hambright rolled through attempted arm tackles by Eagles' defenders for a 41-yard gain to set up the Tigers' first score.
Line Mountain was unshaken and scored twice more, a Morris nine-yard run and a 32-yard hookup between Morris and Erik Smeltz, before the first half ended despite putting the ball on the ground a total of three more times.
"We came out a little flat and had a couple fumbles," Knock said. "I don't know what it was, just the kids not being ready coming out of the locker room, being flat and not too focused. We got it going once we settled in a little bit."
With the game safely in hand for the Eagles, the Tigers never quit and scored twice in the fourth quarter, but overall it was an effort Knock was completely with.
"It's tough, and the kids know that East Juniata is not as good as we are, it's tough to get up for, and I understand that," he said. "But there's no excuses for the missed tackling we had tonight because we've been pretty solid with that all year. This is the first game we really didn't wrap up and it was across the board on varsity and when the younger kids went in. It's something we have to focus on this week."