High School Sports

Why Bald Eagle Area football is still confident heading toward playoffs despite Jersey Shore loss

The Bald Eagle Area Eagles walked off the field with a loss, but with confidence in their team moving forward. The Eagles had already sealed their playoff fate as the No. 1 Class 3A seed in District 6 going into Friday night’s 42-0 loss to the Jersey Shore Bulldogs, so the team’s head coach, Jesse Nagle, made sure he got his team out of the game as healthy as possible after having a few players get hurt in the first half.

“We played in the first half with all of our guys,” Nagle said. “Then we lost two more guys, and we really started subbing.”

Neither team could get on the board in a first quarter that featured stout defensive play and a few key mistakes. Jersey Shore muffed a punt with 8:57 left in the first quarter to give Bald Eagle the ball at the Bulldogs’ 48-yard line.

The Eagles were unable to capitalize, giving the ball back to the Bulldogs on a mistake of their own. Senior quarterback Jaden Jones tried to hit an open man on a post route, but overthrew him and the ball fell into the arms of Jersey Shore senior cornerback Anthony Shaffer for an interception with 5:25 left in the first quarter.

Fortunately for the Eagles, the Bulldogs also couldn’t capitalize. Both teams traded empty possessions until Jersey Shore broke the scoreless tie in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Tanner Lorson scampered in from 14 yards out to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 after the team missed the extra point.

They got on the board once again after two more mistakes by Bald Eagle Area. Jones watched two consecutive snaps sail over his head, with the second rolling through the end zone and out the back for a safety, giving Jersey Shore an 8-0 lead.

Bald Eagle Area’s Michael Lefebvre pulls down Jersey Shore’s Josh Malicky during the game on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

The Bulldogs stormed down the field on the very next drive, scoring from five yards out on a pass from Lorson to Shaffer. Lorson took the snap and rolled right, faking a rushing attempt, before hitting a wide open Shaffer in the end zone. That touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead heading into the half after the Eagles failed to score on a drive that stalled out in the red zone to end the second quarter.

Jersey Shore carried its momentum into the second half. Lorson found senior wide receiver Stanton Westlin for a 39-yard touchdown with 7:35 left in the third quarter. Lorson added another score on a rush from 29 yards out with 4:08 left in the third quarter to put the game away. Bald Eagle pulled its starters after that score to preserve its health heading into the playoffs.

“For us, we wanted to take care of everybody because two guys got banged up,” Nagle said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t get anyone else banged up.”

Jersey Shore tacked on two more scores, one on a Dawson Sechrist run from 18 yards out and another on a goal line rush by Hayden Packer to finish off the night’s scoring.

Jersey Shore head coach Tom Gravish said he’s grateful to walk out of the game with a win, and knows what the Eagles are capable of.

“Bald Eagle Area has got some of the finest kids that have ever put uniforms in school history,” Gravish said. “Hats off to those guys. I’m a Bald Eagle guy, I played here and coached here before. I root for them every week except for one. I wish them nothing but the best. I think they’re going to go really far in the playoffs. They’re an incredible team.”

The Bald Eagles will be back in action next week when they play Bellefonte in the Curtin Bowl at home at 7 p.m. Friday.

Bald Eagle Area’s Jaden Jones makes a pass that was incomplete during the game against Jersey Shore on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com


(Friday at Wingate)

Jersey Shore 0 15 20 7 — 42

Bald Eagle 0 0 0 0 — 0

Second Quarter

JS — Lorson 14 run (PAT missed), 7:10

JS — Team Safety, 2:59

JS -— Shaffer 5 pass from Lorson (Cameron Allison kick), 1:33

Third Quarter

JS — Westlin 39 pass from Lorson (Allison kick), 7:35

JS — Lorson 29 run (PAT missed), 4:08

JS — Sechrist 18 run (Allison kick), 1:14

Fourth Quarter

JS — Packer 1 run (Allison kick), 7:48

Top Rusher: JS: Lorson 13-103-2. BEA: Hayden Vaughn 10-30.

Top Passer: JS: Lorson 9-15-2 150. BEA: Jones 11-25-0-1 157.

Top Receiver: JS: Westlin 3-73-1. BEA: Tommy Snyder 2-49

Interceptions: JS: Shaffer, Brandon Wheary.

Next Game: Jersey Shore vs. Central Mountain, Friday. Bald Eagle vs. Bellefonte, Friday.

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Jon Sauber earned his B.A. in digital and print journalism from Penn State and his M.A. in sports journalism from IUPUI. His previous stops include jobs at The Indianapolis Star, the NCAA, and Rivals.