In the Bald Eagle Area playbook it’s called Green 9, a pitch to tailback Mitchell Struble designed to go around the left side. That’s green as in money.
Because almost every time quarterback Jason Jones called the play in the huddle, Struble picked up chunks of yardage on his way to a 252-yard, four-touchdown night against Huntingdon.
And that led the Eagles to a 32-12 upset of the Bearcats at War Vets Field, spoiling their homecoming in the process.
Struble picked up that yardage on 33 carries as BEA controlled the football most of the game, especially in the first half when it ran off 47 plays to 16 for Huntingdon.
“I could go another quarter,” said the senior tailback. “I love playing with these guys. Our line did an amazing job tonight. They really stepped up. We finally came together as a team. This is what we can do.”
“We tried to get Struble more touches this week,” said Eagle coach Ron Hoover. “He only touched the ball seven times last week against Tyrone. It was good to get our running game going.”
After a scoreless first quarter BEA (2-5) drove 54 yards in nine plays with Struble going the final six for the score 15 seconds into the second quarter. Jared Ishler booted the extra point.
The Eagles forced a three-and-out, then drove 75 yards for another score, this time going to the air as Jones connected with Colton Comly from nine yards out at the 6:00 mark. The PAT kick was no good.
BEA gambled to start the second half and it paid off big as they recovered their on-sides kick at the 50 and drove in for the score as Struble scored again from the 6. The PAT run failed, leaving the score at 19-0 with 8:00 still to go in the quarter.
“We figured we had nothing to lose,” Hoover said of the decision to try for the on-sides kick. “If we didn’t get it we’d put our defense out there right away. But we tried to surprise them. (Derek) Ishler was almost perfect. Sometimes in practice the ball only goes about two yards. Obviously it was a gamble but when you’re scrapping for a win you have to take some chances.”
“We got outplayed in all phases of the game,” said Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy. “We were not ready to play in all phases. That’s the flattest we’ve been all year.
“I was worried about their size. We knew we couldn’t match up with them size-wise. We just couldn’t stop them.”
BEA scored on a short drive the next time it got the football as Jake Gates returned a punt 35 yards to the Huntingdon 35. Struble scored from the 1 on the sixth running play of the drive. The pass for the two-point conversion was incomplete.
Huntingdon (3-4) got on the board when Jon Wagner returned the subsequent kickoff 75 yards for the score and then added another TD when Wagner went in from the 5 to close a 73-yard drive.
BEA’s final score came after the Eagles stuffed Bearcat quarterback Hudson Speck for a five-yard loss on fourth-and-15 from his own 15.
Getting the ball the 10 Struble got the call, tried the left side and found it clogged and reversed his field to get his fourth score of the night with 5:17 still go go. Ishler put the final point on the board.
“It feels good to finally get a win,” Hoover said. “It’s been tough getting them up the last couple of weeks. But more important than the win was the fact that we played better. We came off the ball better. And our defense played well. We got those two early scores and that took some wind out of their sails but we didn’t really feel safe until the fourth quarter.”