Eagles Fend Off Bears Late at Ursinus

Austin Montgomery threw four touchdowns and added another on the ground to lead the Eagle offense at Ursinus.
Austin Montgomery threw four touchdowns and added another on the ground to lead the Eagle offense at Ursinus.

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa.- The Juniata football team won a high scoring affair on the road at Ursinus, 44-38,  Saturday afternoon at Patterson Field. 

The Bears got the ball first to open the game and didn't waste any time as they drove 53 yards in four plays in a little under two minutes to take a 7-0 lead on an eight-yard run from Samuel Ragland. 

Juniata had a response, however, as Austin Montgomery (Bedford, Pa. / Bedford Area HS) completed passes of 10 yards to Calvin Bembry II (Hagerstown, Md. / North Hagerstown) and 19 yards to Shaheed Ross (Philadelphia, Pa. / Delaware Valley Charter HS) as JC drove down to the Ursinus 23. After running for five yards Montgomery hit Bembry for an 18-yard TD to tie things at seven. 

The Bears put together another strong drive as they went 75 yards in six plays before Ragland hauled in a 26-yard TD to put the Bears back up seven. Juniata tried to respond, as Montgomery hit Sean Owens (Schwenksville, Pa. / Perkiomen Valley HS) for an 11-yard gain, but the drive stalled out. Following a Noah Wright (Lewistown, Pa. / Mifflin County H.S.) 37-yard punt, on the first play of the Ursinus drive, Dan Drop Jr. (Hatfield, Pa. / North Penn HS) intercepted a pass and ran it back to the UC eight. The Eagles were held to a field goal as Sam Craig (Mullica Hill, N.J. / Kingsway Regional HS) booted a 24-yard field goal to make it 14-10.  

On the ensuing kickoff, Troy Blessing (Westminster, Md. / Winters Mill H.S.) forced a fumble and Jake Puia (Slatington, Pa. / Parkland HS) fell on it for the Eagles at the Ursinus 26. A Montgomery run on second down moved the ball down to the host's eight-yard line to end the first quarter. On third and goal from 11 Montgomery hit Bembry again, this time for an 11-yard touchdown to put JC ahead, 17-14. 

On the next Ursinus drive, the Eagle defense stood strong as they forced a punt. On third and 10, Drop Jr. and Bryson Clark (Mifflintown, Pa. / Juniata H.S.) combined for a sack to end the drive. 

Starting at their own 37, the Eagles went 63 yards in 10 plays while eating over five minutes of clock to push their lead to 10. A 29-yard reception by Owens and an 11-yard scamper by Bembry helped get JC close prior to Montgomery finding Ross for a 25-yard score. Juniata led 24-14 with six and a half minutes to go. 

The Bears drove down to the JC six-yard line before the Eagle defense forced an incompletion on third down. Ursinus elected to kick a field goal from 23 yards out, but it went wide right. JC went three and out, so the Bears got the ball at their 41 with a minute and 21 seconds to go in the half. A big 37-yard reception helped get the Bears to the JC eight, and on first down Thomas Garlick threw an 8-yard TD to pull Ursinus within three going into halftime.  

Marson Weh (Upper Darby, Pa. / Upper Darby H.S.) returned the opening third-quarter kickoff 50 yards, and a 15-yard facemask penalty moved the ball all the way to the UC 30. Following a Bembry run, Montgomery found the senior running back for his third TD of the game to push the Eagle lead back to 10. 

Ursinus responded with an 11 play 66-yard drive that got all the way to the JC two, but again the defense stood strong to force a field goal, as the Bears got back within seven.  

Montgomery led the offense down the field and ran it in from 11 yards out to put Juniata up 14 with three minutes to go in the third, 38-24.

The Bears didn't back down as Ragland hauled in his second TD reception of the day to pull the hosts back within seven with 22 seconds to go in the quarter. 

The Eagles went three and out to open the final quarter, and the Bears didn't waste the opportunity as they marched down the field in seven plays, culminating in a four-yard rushing touchdown to knot the score at 38-38. 

With 10:40 on the clock, the Juniata offense went on a methodical 12 play, 88-yard drive with the longest play a 22-yard pass to Ross on second and eight advancing JC to the UC 45. Ben Lauver (Mifflintown, Pa. / Juniata H.S.) had an 18-yard reception early in the drive to get things going. Eventually, Charles Debose (Tonawand, N.Y. / Cardinal O'Hara HS) ran the ball in from eight yards out on first and goal to put the Eagles up six after the blocked extra point, 44-38.  

Starting from the UC 31, the Bears got nowhere fast as passes fell incomplete on first and second down. On third down, Weh intercepted the ball at the UC38 and returned it 12 yards. 

With 3:11 on the clock, Montgomery and Debose took turns carrying the rock for the Eagles as they ran the clock out to get the first Juniata win of the season. 

Juniata last got a win at Ursinus in 2015.

The Eagles will return to action at home on Homecoming against #8 Muhlenberg, Saturday at 12:00.