Bald Eagle Area had newfound life with two seconds left in the second quarter, but the last play of the half saw quarterback and receiver on different pages.
Eagles running back Ryan Guenot sprinted out of the backfield and up the sideline, leaving in the dust Tanner Kresovich’s pass to fall just past the line of scrimmage.
It was that kind of night for the BEA offense, en route to being shut out for a third time this season and losing to Huntingdon 35-0 Friday night at Alumni Stadium. The wasted opportunity followed Guenot’s punt, which bounced off the helmet of an unsuspecting Huntingdon special teamer and was recovered by Bald Eagle Area’s Luke Holler at Huntingdon’s 22-yard line.
“I’ve seen guys get hit like that before, but once again, I mean, if you execute there and you score it changes the game,” BEA coach Ron Hoover said. “Those are the things haven’t been able to do to change the game, to change the momentum of the game.”
Despite offensive struggles — the Eagles didn’t record a first down until their sixth drive of the game — the defense’s lone knock in the first half was a 32-yard touchdown run it gave up to Huntingdon’s Jon Wagner in the first quarter.
Wagner began his run up the middle, broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and burst out to the right sideline. He broke two more tackles and tiptoed his way to the end zone.
Huntingdon threatened twice more in the second quarter deep in BEA’s side of the field, but was turned away by a Cobey Bainey interception and a fourth-and-inches stuff at the line of scrimmage.
“I told the kids not to hang their heads, because they played hard,” Hoover said. “We just didn’t make plays. The first half a couple of our kids were hurt and banged up, and they sucked it up. They stayed in the game and made key stops to keep us in it until the second half.”
Huntingdon carried a 6-0 lead into halftime, forced a three-and-out on BEA’s second-half opening drive and grinded out a nine-play, 74-yard drive, which ended in an Ian Border 4-yard touchdown run to go up 14-0.
It was a foreshadowing of things to come.
“I thought we played very physical in the first half, and they got an edge a little bit in the second half,” Hoover said. “They got blocks on the outside and made some big plays to take us out of it. We were looking for a tight ballgame the whole way through, but once they got two or three touchdowns up that’s a lot for us to try to catch up on.”
Jon Wagner outraced the BEA defense for a 65-yard touchdown run on Huntingdon’s next drive. He followed up that effort with an eight-yard run for his third touchdown and a 15-yard run for his fourth and final score.
“He’s an excellent back, and we knew he’d get the ball most of the time,” Hoover said. “They also use him as a decoy. Their other running backs are pretty good, too. We knew we had to stop their inside game, because their fullback is an excellent player. They just had nice balance, and they just hit some plays.”