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JMS boys capture ACAA title


BELLEFONTE – After finishing in third place last season in the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association, there was a look on the Juniata Mennonite boys soccer players’ faces as they walked off the field that they had some unfinished business to take care of in the upcoming season.

Successful throughout the regular season, the Lions would have a chance to complete a goal that was talked about the year before, winning the entire tournament.

And win it they did, 1-0.

The road was a tough in the championship game as Juniata went up against Northumberland Christian Academy, a team that played the Lions tough throughout the season.

It all came down to one play before a champion would be crowned. It took a late header by Adrian Martin off a corner kick by teammate Tony Gehman.

Defensively, the Lions were staggeringly strong in the second half, holding onto the lead and only allowing Warriors’ stand out forward David Mahoney to limited looks at goalkeeper Jacob Metz for any kind of shots.

The contest opened in a fury both sides seemed fired up and ready to battle to the very end for the title.

Northumberland came down into the Juniata Mennonite back-third for the first two minutes and it put intense pressure at the back-line.

However, the Lions were up for the task and despite numerous shots, they turned it around and took control of the possession.

Both teams mirrored each other for most of the half, the teams went back and forth at each other.

Like two prize-fighters in a main event, the two were waiting for the other to show a letdown or even make a mistake.

That letdown came on the side of the Warriors late in the first half.

With 6:47 left in the half, Juniata Mennonite lined up for its second corner of the game.

Gehman placed the ball and then kicked it to the middle of the Northumberland net. As the ball was in mid-flight in front of the goal, Martin jumped at the net connecting on a header, giving JMS the 1-0 lead.

“It was a long five minutes. We held and we didn’t get as much pressure on the ball as we would of liked to. But we held and made it our third shut out in a row,” Juniata Mennonite coach Kurtis Wagner said. “I thought the first goal would set the tone and whoever would get the ball would help.”

Heading into the intermission, the two teams both tallied seven shots apiece as the Warriors held a slight advantage in corner opportunities by a 4-2 margin.

In the second half, the Lions defense and offense took over the game and took it right at the heart of the Warriors’ back-third.

When the ball was in the Lions territory, the defense was able to clear the ball numerous times when it looked like the Warriors were going to put a good shot on the Lions’ goal area.

JMS after an action packed first half, the Lions seemed to wear down the once energetic Warrior offense.


“The boys have played in numerous physical games this year and they never quit,” Wagner added. “Acculades to them.”


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