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Juniata captures D6 Class AAAA title over young and scrappy Bellefonte squad

By Kenny Varner

HOLLIDAYSBURG – After holding the District 6 Class AAA title the last two years, the Juniata football team was looking to take title number three in a rematch of the 2021 District 6 championship game when the Indians captured the title.

Quarterback Wyatt Erenzeller and favorite target Jasper Shepps lit up the airspace while its ground game was sure and steady leading to another D6 title and a trip to PIAA state post season action.

The two connected seven times for 134 yards.

It was head coach’s Kurt Condo’s third championship title as head coach of the scrappy Indians team.

This one was all Juniata as they went on to top Bellefonte  37-0.

“Sometimes things don’t go according to plans but that did go according to the plan,” said Condo when asked about the quick start. “I thought the kids executed everything. They played well and got some extra yardage on some catches and some extra on the runs. Everyone played really, really well tonight.”

The Indians wasted little time getting its offense going as Juniata went on a 12-play drive that would lead to a

Wyatt Ehrenzeller 29-yard TD pass to Jasper Shepps. On the PAT the Red Raiders were called for an offsides penalty so Juniata went with 2-point conversion and were successful, making it a 8-0 advantage with 6:50 left in the opening period.

Bellefonte moved the ball on its first offensive drive of the game.

Quarterback Liam Halterman had his team down quickly to Juniata’s 19 thanks to a 25-yard hook up to teammate Nathan Benner.

However, the Indians forced a fumble on the next play and Juniata’s Lane Peiper would come out of the pile with the ball, sending Bellefonte away empty handed.

Coming off the momentum of the Red Raiders turnover, the Indians’ offense went right back to work.

This time it would only take eight plays before Ehrenzeller would get the nod and blast his way through the line for a 4-yard run. With the Cade Wagner kick, Juniata upped its lead to 15-0 with only :22 ticks on the clock.

From there, the Juniata defense started to stop the Red Raiders running game and key on Halterman, producing another possession. This time it would be a second quarter touchdown drive. It would be Heath Hutchinson and the strong run game that would take over.

The result would be a Hutchinson 12-yard run  and Wagner kick)m that would up the lead to 22 with 4:29 left in the first half.

But Juniata wasn’t done yet as Big Red cashed in one more score before the intermission.  Hutchinson made it a 30-0 contest on a 5-yard run  and a second 2-point conversion with :38 seconds.

Bellefonte came out and show that it wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

Despite throwing an interception to Juniata’s Connor Boreman on their first play of the third quarter, the Red Raiders would quickly make amends for the mistake.

Bellefonte notched an interception of their own as Braden Bickel picked off an Ehrenzeller pass.

It looked as though the Red Raiders found their way on the scoreboard when Ryan Fraley broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and blazed his way down the field for a 85-yard scamper. However, a holding penalty kept the game at 30-0 after it was called back.

Neither team was able to score in the third as the Indians and Red Raider defenses made sure of that.

But in the final stanza, the Indians were back on the scoreboard taking a long drive down the field and then finishing it off on a Seth Laub 2-yard run, capping the game at 37-0.

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