The 15th-ranked Hopkins football team extended their regular season winning streak to 19 games this past Saturday with a decisive 40-20 win over Centennial Conference opponent Juniata. The Blue Jays were led by Scott Cremens, the Centennial Conference player of the week. Cremens slashed the Eagles’ defense for nine receptions, a career-high 178 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Blue Jays found themselves down 3-0 early in the second quarter, before junior quarterback Robbie Matey connected with Cremens for a 40-yard touchdown reception, capping off a three-play 60-yard drive. After the defense shut down Juniata on the ensuing possession, the Blue Jays began a drive that started at their own one-yard line.
In seven plays, Matey drove the Blue Jays down the length of the field, where he hooked up with Cremens for a 29-yard touchdown reception. Matey also hit junior receiver, Bob D’Orazio, for a 38-yard gain to fuel the scoring possession. Unprecedentedly, this marked the second time in three weeks the Blue Jays have had 99-yard scoring drives.
The Hopkins defense extended the lead on Juniata’s following possession when standout senior linebacker, Adam Schweyer, took an interception thrown by Juniata’s quarterback Ward Udinski 18-yards to the house, giving Hopkins a 19-3 lead at the half. The Blue Jays kept their 16-point lead until late in the third quarter when they drove 80 yards on eight plays. The drive was kept alive by converting on fourth-and-three when Matey found Cremens on a 13-yard pass play deep in Juniata territory. The drive was capped off when senior Jonathan Rigaud ran back and pounded the ball up the middle for an eight-yard touchdown.
The fourth quarter saw Hopkins and Juniata trade four touchdowns in the final 10 minutes, heightening the final score to 40-20. Matey found Cremens and D’Orazio each for five-yard touchdown passes, giving him four passing scores on the day, a career high. The Blue Jays offense piled up 502 yards of total offense in the game, with five touchdowns. Matey also had a career high day in passing yardage as he threw for 386 yards. D’Orazio added to the offense with 75 receiving yards of his own and one score. Junior receiver Dan Wodicka caught 7 passes for 57 yards and junior Brendan Hartman had three receptions for a career-high 62 yards. Rigaud led the team in rushing with 58 yards on 14 touches and one touchdown.
The Blue Jays’ defense was shut down on Juniata’s running game, only allowing 39 yards on 30 attempts. They also matched a season-high with six sacks from five different players. Senior standout linebacker, Taylor Maciow, lead the team with 11 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. In addition to his pick six, Schweyer also recorded six tackles. On the special team side of the ball, junior placekicker Richie Carbone was four for five on PAT tries.
With this victory, Hopkins is now ranked 13th in the country by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and 18th by D3football.com. The Blue Jays have now been ranked in the top 25 by the AFCA for 13 consecutive weeks, dating back to the start of the 2011 season. This is also the 12th consecutive week they have been in the top 20.
Hopkins has their bye week this upcoming Saturday and will take on the Dickinson Red Devils at Dickinson on Oct. 13. When asked who the toughest opponent in the conference is and what the focus of the upcoming bye week is, junior offensive guard Armand Jenifer responded, “Every game is the biggest competition when you’re only guaranteed ten each season. The focus of the bye week is improving upon last week’s game and preparing for Dickinson.”
Added Placekicker Richie Carbone regarding upcoming game against Dickinson, “It should be a good game. They are a good solid program, and always have been. It will be a tough task to go up there and win. We will have to put in the work in practice and prepare the right way. We just want to play the best game we can, myself included.”