The 20th-ranked Hopkins football team made a statement this past weekend on Homewood Field. The Blue Jays dominated their Centennial Conference foe, the Juniata College Eagles, from start to finish in a 57-14 victory on their senior day.
The Jays took control early on as junior strong safety Ian Lodge forced a fumble on Juniata’s opening drive that was recovered by senior defensive lineman Nick Marinelli.
Hopkins rode the momentum and transformed it into a 78-second drive that was capped off when sophomore quarterback David Tammaro launched a ball to junior wide receiver Luke McFadden to put the Jays up 7-0 less than three minutes into the game.
The offense would put another touchdown onto the board before the end of the quarter, once again taking possession after a fumble. This time, the ball was forced by senior defensive end Keonte Henson into the hands of sophomore defensive end Mike Kalanik. The Jays rushed 43 yards down the field before senior running back Ryan Cary found the end zone on a 12-yard carry to give Hopkins a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cary would once again get into the end zone after weaving in and out of traffic for 83 yards to give his team a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Cary’s 83-yard rush was the longest run of his career as well as the second longest in Hopkins history.
A quick three-and-out by the Eagles gave Hopkins possession just 28 seconds after they had widened their lead to three scores. The Jays would continue to put points on the board.
Taking the ball from their own 41-yard line, it only took the Tammaro-led offense nine seconds to widen the gap even more. The sophomore quarterback quickly found senior wide receiver Brett Caggiano for a 59-yard touchdown pass which, after a failed extra-point attempt, gave Hopkins a comfortable 27-0 lead over Juniata with 8:54 left in the first half.
However, Hopkins wasn’t done yet. After a 62-yard drive, the Jays reached first-and-goal at the Eagles’ two-yard line, but the Eagles stood firm with an impressive goal line stand. The Jays were forced to turn to senior kicker Jamie Sullivan to knock in a chip-shot field goal from 19 yards as the Jays took a 30-0 lead into the locker room with the end of the first half.
Tammaro picked up where he left off in the first half as the third quarter got underway. Helping Tammaro kick off the offense, sophomore defensive back Patrick Kelly provided a 39-yard return that put the ball on Juniata’s half of the 50.
Cary proceeded with a six-yard rush which was coupled with a 15-yard gain due to a facemask grab to put the ball at the 25-yard line. Tammaro and McFadden would once again pair up for a Blue Jay touchdown to put Hopkins far ahead at 37-0.
Juniata would put their first points on the scoreboard with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Austin Montgomery would connect on consecutive passes of 16 and 22 yards to wide receiver Justin Helsel, with the second pass leading Helsel into the end zone to put the score at 37-7.
With their second string in, the Jays added to their lead, this time with senior quarterback Drew Tomaini under center. Tomaini would help guide Hopkins from its own 25-yard line on a 75-yard drive that finished off with a one-yard burst into the end zone by sophomore running back Hogan Irwin. With this, the Blue Jays continued to light up the scoreboard, taking a 44-7 lead.
Montgomery and the Eagles would continue to battle on their next drive, however, with Juniata’s quarterback completing a 51-yard pass to Helsel before following it up with a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jake Notestine. Tomaini would get another chance to quarterback for the Jays on offense, this time linking up with freshman wide receiver Dawson Aichholz for a 46-yard gain, giving the Jays good field position deep in Juniata territory.
Junior running back Tyler Messinger would finish the drive with an 11-yard rush, putting the Jays out in front 51-14 going into the fourth quarter.
Hopkins would find the end zone one final time late in the fourth quarter as the Jays strung together a run-heavy, 77-yard drive that shaved more than eight minutes off the game clock.
The Jays would cap off the drive with a 12-yard handoff to senior running back Chris Martin, who scored his first career touchdown as a Blue Jay. The touchdown would mark the final tally of the matchup for both teams, finishing the game at 57-14.
Tammaro would finish 18 for 27 passing, gaining 264 yards and four touchdowns. Caggiano ended with 101 yards on three catches and a touchdown, and McFadden’s three catches contributed 84 yards along with two touchdowns.
“I think our whole team played awesome,” Tammaro said. “Our defense forced five turnovers and set the offense up in great field position all day.”
Cary rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown, and Hopkins as a team gained 324 yards on the ground on 45 carries for an average of six yards per carry.
Lodge’s seven total tackles led the defensive unit, with sophomore linebacker James Closser and junior defensive back Grant Mosser each having five tackles.
The win gives Hopkins an overall record of 8-1 with a Centennial Conference record of 7-1, while Juniata has 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the Conference. The Jays will next travel to Westminster, Md. to face another rival, McDaniel College. The win would give the Blue Jays the Centennial Conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA playoffs.
“McDaniel is a big game for us this week,” Tammaro said. “We have great tradition with them, and winning this game means we win the Conference and advance to the NCAA playoffs.”