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Juniata tops State College in JVFL Pee Wee Super Bowl

LEWISTOWN – What a JVFL debut! In one of the most memorable debut season in the Juniata Valley Football League history, the Juniata Indians finished the season undefeated and captured the Pee Wee Super Bowl in its first season back in the league. Juniata battled the State College Little Lions in an epic showdown and in the end it took more than four quarters to provide a winner. The game was a nail biter from beginning to end as the Indians scored on a fourth down and long in the first overtime to take home the 13-7 victory Friday night at Mitchell Field. Normally in most JVFL Super Bowls it was the offense that took center stage but Sunday it was a defensive battle throughout the contest. Juniata defensive lineman, Jonathan Kauffman frustrated the State College offense all afternoon, forcing numerous fumbles, recovering two for himself and was in the Little Lions backfield for much of the contest. “John is special. All the other players feed off of John. At the end of the day it was an incredible team win,” Juniata coach Steve Harlan said. “What we strive to do is do it with class. We do things with class and dignity. The fans are great. The players are great. The cheerleaders are great.” He also collected clutch hits and keeping State College’s quarterback Dante Nastasi and the Little Lion running game in check for most of the game. But it took a clutch play on fourth down to clinch the victory for the Indians. After the defense held State College on its first possession of the overtime period. Juniata got the ball and started on the Little Lions 10. It looked as if the State College defense was going to hold in its time out on the field, forcing Juniata to a fourth and long. A little trickery by the Indians’ offense got the ball into the hands of Caleb Smith. Smith did not disappoint and he got loose around the wide end of the field to score the winning touchdown. “My leaders all made the play on that,” Harlan said about the final play of the game. “These boys are awesome.” On its second possession of the game, Juniata got on the scoreboard first when they fed the ball to Smith six times getting his team down to the Little Lions one yard line. With 48-seconds left in the first quarter, Jordan Dickinson muscled it one from one yard out, giving the Indians a 7-0 lead with the successful PAT. However, the lead would not last for long. As State College got the ball on its second possession, they also picked up a touchdown thanks to a 37-yard run by Nastasi, putting the ball at the Juniata four. Facing second and goal from the one, State College called Nastasi’s number once again and he finished the job, tying things at seven. “It was a great atmosphere tonight. They are a great group of kids. I couldn’t be prouder of our kids,” State College coach Rob Johnson said. “You got to have it to Juniata. They are very well coached and both teams had huge hearts and they fought all the way. I think the thing with this game is that both teams were very well coached. The kids were intelligent and played hard. When you get flying around playing hard it sometimes gives the defense a little edge.”

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