(Huntingdon, Pa.) – The Dickinson football team found itself in a dogfight with the Eagles of Juniata in its Centennial Conference opener on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils used a total team effort, led by some outstanding play from special teams to hold on for a 24-17 win.
A pair of blocked punts led to the final 14 points for Dickinson as senior Will Erikson (Beloit, Wisc./Beloit Memorial) and first-year Jake Myers (Middletown, Del./St. Andrew's) each returned one for a touchdown in the second half.
The Devils struck first, scoring on a three-yard dive by fullback Mike Capone (Dupont, Pa./Pittston Area) with 9:33 remaining in the first quarter. The Eagles recorded a safety to cut the lead to 7-2, but that would prove to be much more valuable later in the game.
Juniata put together a 75-yard scoring drive in the third quarter as Ward Udinski found pay-dirt on a quarterback sneak and dove in for a two-point conversion to put the Eagles in front, 10-7, at the 8:38 mark.
Sophomore Adam Kiminski (Exton, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) tied the game on a 24-yard field-goal as the teams headed into the fourth quarter. Erikson recovered a blocked punt by first-year Anders Overhaug (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) and ran the ball into the end zone from 11 yards out to put Dickinson back on top, 17-10, with 13:23 to play in the game.
Juniata put together a marathon drive, wearing down the Devil defense over the course of almost nine minutes. They went 69 yards and capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Udinski to Kyle Schuck with 4:33 remaining in the game.
The Devil special teams put the final touches on the win as Walker Moriarty (Snowmass Village, Colo./Aspen) blocked another punt for the game-winning score with just 52 seconds on the clock. Junior defensive back Robert Spriggs (Lanham, Md./Bullis) closed the door with a huge interception in the final seconds, allowing Dickinson to take the victory formation and run out the clock.
The Eagles had some impressive numbers offensively, covering 351 yards of total offense, but in the end the Devils found a way to secure the win. Kaminski had a solid performance, averaging 40 yards per punt, including a long of 44 on the afternoon.
First-year Jack Margavitch (York, Pa./Dallastown) led the defense with a game-high 12 tackles while junior Shane Mitchell (Whitehaven, Pa./Crestwood) tallied 11 stops. The Devil secondary picked-off Udinski four times as sophomore Mitch Helmandollar (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) accounted for two while Pat McBreen (Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schuylkill Haven) and Spriggs also recorded takeaways.
Sophomore Cole Ahnell (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) completed 8-of-14 passes for 94 yards and ran for another 34 on the day. Senior Shea Licata (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) covered 53 yards rushing, averaging just under five yards per carry on the day.
Sophomore Colin Rodgers (Jamison, Pa./St. Joe's Prep) returned three kicks and a pair of punts for a combined 77 yards, adding a 31 yard kick-off return.
The Red Devils pull even at 1-1 and claim the Centennial Conference opener. They return home next weekend to host Susquehanna University at 1:00 pm.