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State College edges Juniata in defensive-laden JVFL Midget Super Bowl

By Kenny Varner

LEWISTOWN  – Good old fashioned smash-mouth football was alive and well Sunday night in the final game of the Juniata Valley Football League in the Midget Championship.

In a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, Juniata went head-to-head against State College.

The Little Lions have won the last 8-of-9 Championship games.

After a defensive-laden back-and-forth battle at the line of scrimmage.

Both team’s went scoreless in the first half, adding to the drama and the excitement of the Super Bowl experience.

Experience paid off late as the Little Lions took advantage of some Juniata miscues to take home the 13-0 hard fought victory.

“Kudos to Juniata. They had a great game plan. They are tough as nails. They played their hearts out,” said State College coach Jay Kislak. “Our kids though we teach them about adversity. And however you deal with adversity is how you are able to be successful or not. We went into halftime and we made the changes and we had to make the commitment that we are going to pull through this. They are a good team. They are not going to fold on you and they didn’t. So Im very proud of everyone that’s involved in this organization.”

Going into the second half, both teams took advantage of turnovers and made big plays in the clutch.

After getting the ball to start the second half, Juniata was forced to punt the ball away.

However, the kick was blocked by the State College defense and teammate Thomas Keller came up with ball on the Indians’ 28.

But Juniata’s defense continued to push back as it held the Little Lions on four straight plays.

Playing on a muddy field, the ball slipped out of the Indians grasp on the falling play as Connor Young made the clutch scoop up of the fumble.

With the defense being on the field so long, State College started to ware them down and collected the biggest gain of the day in the largest moment.

Facing a second and long, State College running back Gavin Kendrick broke out and made his way to the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown run.

On the PAT, the Juniata defense stood strong once again, keeping it a 6-0 game with 4:24 left in the third.

“I’m thrilled with how the defense played tonight. The boys played so great as a team today. They left it all out on the field,” said Juniata coach Bob Becker. “They have nothing to be ashamed of that’s for sure. We got caught behind a few plays here, blocked punt in the second half and that hurt us.”

On the next Juniata possession, it was de ja vue as the ball squirted loose and into the hands of State College defender Ty Salazer, deep in Juniata territory.

But the Juniata defense made one more big stand, trying to get back into the game.

State College worked its way down to the one.

Facing a fourth and one, the Indians made a push at the line of scrimmage and kept the Little Lions from adding to its lead.

Juniata held and gave the ball back to its offense.

Like it has done all game, the State College defense was stingy and forced the Indians to go for it late in the game on its own seven.

Unfortunately for Juniata, they weren’t able to make the first as they ball went back to State College with less than five minutes late in the game.

From their the Little Lions added another score for insurance.

With 1:50 left, Cooper Brushwood ran it in from one yard out on a fourth and goal from the one, making it a 13-0 contest.

Despite one last chance to score, the State College defense held and went onto the the hard fought 13-0 victory.

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