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Back where they belong; BEA tops Huntingdon In grid iron playoff action

By Kenny Varner

WINGATE – It was a total team effort.

For the first time in 21 years, the Bald Eagle Area football team are headed out of the first round of the playoffs. 

Posting a strong ground and pound running game and a consistent air attack, the Eagles posted 531 of total offense to defeat Huntingdon 47-27 Friday in the opening round of District IV action.

Not only was the offense tough to shut down but the defense kept the Bearcats quarterback Andrew Hudy off his game and rushing around the pocket for most of the evening.

“I was proud of the guys. A lot different guys made plays for us tonight. Like I said last week we are still figuring things out without two of our guys. But I was very proud of a couple of our plays. Now we missed a couple plays but we missed a couple guys that were open but we can’t get them all either,” Bald Eagle Area coach Jesse Nagle said. “Hats off to them (Huntingdon) they came into the third quarter and they didn’t lay down. That is a good football team.”

Playing “under the weather” for the entire game, Bald Eagle running back Blake Roberts came up big for his team with 203 rushing yards and 64 receiving.

Quarterback Jaden Jones cane up big when needed throwing for 191 yards with three passing touchdowns. 

Huntingdon was led by Bearcats quarterback Andrew Hudy who threw for 236 yards and was very instrumental on the third quarter comeback attempt by Huntingdon.

Opening the game, the Bearcats took the opening kick off 87yards when Tyson Clark blazed his way to the end zone.

Despite the ominous start, the Eagles were unphased and drove down on a 4-play drive that culminated in Jones taking it in from six out, tying the game.

The first half belonged to the Eagles as they followed with another first quarter touchdown, Roberts blazed his way out around the end for a 70-yard touchdown, upping the lead to 14-7.

In the second quarter, Jones went air-born to Nick Turner for a 26-yard TD toss, with the third consecutive PAT, Bald Eagle was on a roll leading 21-7.

Bald Eagle would get one more in the half. Jones once again went to the air and found Kael Gardner this time with 15 ticks left until the intermission, leading 28-7.

However, in the playoffs you can never count any team out, especially an experienced team like the Bearcats.

After holding the Eagle express at bay twice in the third, the Eagles were able to benefit from an interception from Jacob Wagner, putting his team in good field position at the Bearcats 44.

From there, it took only a 5-play drive to cut the Eagles lead in half.

Hudy hit receiver Andrew Miller on the run, resulting in a 14-yard TD reception and PAT, making it 28-14 with 6:55 left in the third.

Defensively, Huntingdon was at its best minutes later, holding the Eagles once again and forcing them to punt. 

But the Bearcats were able to return the ball into Bald Eagle territory and two plays later, Andrew Finkle muscled his way into the end zone on a 3-yard run. 

With the touchdown, the Bearcats would set themselves up to within a touchdown of the Eagles at 28-21.

However, the Eagles were not going to let this one slip away. 

So before the quarter ended, the home team gave its fans another touchdown, extending the lead to 34-21 as the quarter ended.

Jones found Nick Turner once again , this time it was from 37-yards out.

Though the PAT failed, Bald Eagle went into the final stanza with the momentum back on their side and a 13-point lead.

From there it was all Bald Eagle as it got another TD from Turner.

Turner snagged a 10-yard interception and took it to the house for a pick-6 with 4:47 left. 

Zach Wible finished off the scoring for the Eagles muscling in a 1-yard run and with the Peter Van Cise kick with 1:25 left, BEA led 47-21.

Huntingdon refused to go down without a fight as Derrick Fultz caught 70-yard TD reception from Hudy but the kick failed with :24, leaving Huntingdon short for the comeback.

But the Eagles will now travel to Mansion Park in Altoona for the next playoff game.

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