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College Football: ‘One half isn’t enough to win’ for Green Terror

After scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally from a 14-0 halftime deficit, McDaniel looked like it was on its way to an unlikely Homecoming victory.

Juniata had other ideas. On the last play of a 14-play drive, quarterback Austin Montgomery rolled out to his right, trying to avoid the Green Terror pass rush. He fired the ball into the middle of the end zone, where it was caught by tight end Ben Lauver for a 5-yard touchdown with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.


Juniata would turn McDaniel over on downs on the ensuing drive, and Calvin Bembry added another touchdown on the final play of the game to finish off a 28-14 Eagles victory.

“I thought both teams played hard,” McDaniel head coach Demarcus White said. “Juniata played hard for four quarters and we decided to play hard only for two quarters. That’s something that we have to work out of our system as a program.”


Following a quiet first half, the Green Terror (3-2, 2-2 in the Centennial Conference) finally got going in the third quarter, using the last 8:36 of the quarter for 15 plays to get the ball to the Eagles’ 1-yard line. Daqwan Hill scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, then tied it with a 5-yard run on McDaniel’s next offensive drive with 9:46 remaining.

It was a stark contrast from the first half, where McDaniel gained just 38 of its season-low 181 total yards.

While McDaniel’s offense started to get going in the second half, its defense struggled most of the afternoon, allowing 351 yards and three scoring drives of 10 plays or more. Montgomery used short passes to dice up the Green Terror defense, finishing 22-for-27 for 179 yards and a touchdown.

Bembry was effective on the ground, running for 110 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

“They were running the ball,” White said. “We didn’t do a great job leveraging the bubble screen which is an extension of the run action, and then at times didn’t do a great job with our run fits. If you don’t take care of those two things, it’s going to be a long day on defense.”

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Juniata (2-3, 2-2) set the tone with a 14-play, 75-yard opening drive that ended with a Charles Debose 1-yard run on fourth and goal.

After both teams exchanged punts, McDaniel looked like it got on the board with a 47-yard field goal by Peyton Denlinger. However, Juniata jumped offsides on the kick, and White decided to re-kick. Denlinger’s next field-goal attempt was blocked.

The Eagles went right back to work, moving down the field with some help from McDaniel. Juniata got a first down on a fourth-and-2, when the Green Terror jumped offsides, to move into McDaniel territory, then picked up another 15-yards on a face mask penalty following a 15-yard pass to move the ball to McDaniel 24. Four plays later, Debose ran for a 3-yard touchdown to extend the Eagles’ lead to 14-0.


McDaniel had an opportunity to score right before the half when Kofi Siga recovered a fumble from Juniata quarterback Austin Montgomery with 2:46 remaining in the second quarter, but the offense went three-and-out.

The Green Terror have the same 3-2 record they had after five games last year, though they’ll be looking to finish better than last year’s team, which lost its final five games to finish 3-7. That starts with playing hard from the start next week at Dickinson.

“Every game we’ve really been coming out slow and then we only play one half,” Siga said. “One half isn’t enough to win games now.”

NOTE: Winters Mill graduate Troy Blessing, a sophomore defensive back, made three tackles for Juniata.