The Hopkins football team’s regular season is quickly winding down, and the Blue Jays are still vying for a Centennial Conference Championship and a postseason bid. This past Saturday, they hit the road for the final time this regular season to take on the Juniata College Eagles.
The game turned out to be a one-sided affair, as the Blue Jays’ high-powered offense and stifling defense were both on full display throughout the game.
The Blue Jays got on the board about midway through the first quarter, when sophomore wide receiver Ryan Hubley caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback David Tammaro. Two minutes later, Tammaro linked up with freshman wide receiver Harrison Wellmann for a 48-yard touchdown.
On the first play of the second quarter, Hubley reeled in his second touchdown grab of the game, this one coming from 17 yards out, to put Hopkins ahead 21-0.
Tammaro recorded the Jays’ next touchdown himself, racing into the end zone from two yards out. He then threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Luke McFadden, which extended their lead to 35-0 heading into the half.
The third quarter was a quiet period, as neither team was able to put any points on the board. However, the Blue Jays got rolling again early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore running back Luke Yakely found his way into the end zone on a three-yard run just over a minute and a half into the quarter.
Three minutes later, sophomore quarterback Nick Leongas connected with junior wide receiver Patrick Hensley for a 31-yard score. The touchdown was the first of Hensley’s career. Senior running back Aivory Fosters’ 21-yard touchdown run with less than five minutes remaining was the icing on the cake. After the game, Foster described the factors that facilitated his second rushing touchdown of the season.
“Great movement upfront by our young offensive line and key blocks from our wideouts made my job easy. I simply had to run the path of the zone and make one cut for a walk into the end zone,” Foster said.
The Blue Jays picked up their first shutout win of the year, defeating the Eagles 56-0. The team’s quarterback play was stellar. Tammaro threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns, and Leongas added another 190 yards and a touchdown of his own.
Foster led the rushing attack with a game-high 65 yards on the ground and McFadden was the leading receiver with 83 yards. Overall, the offense tore apart Juniata’s defense and finished with a blistering 692 total yards.
On defense, six different Blue Jays recorded exactly one sack: junior defensive end Stephen Adams, senior defensive back Michael Curry, junior defensive end Arman Koul, senior safety Addison Quinones, sophomore defensive lineman Kyle Roberts and freshman defensive end Jake Vall-Llobera.
Freshman defensive back Nick Seidel had a team-high four solo tackles and five total tackles. The unit did not force any turnovers but was able to hold Juniata’s offense to only 151 yards throughout the entire game.
Foster commented on the team’s exceptional execution in the dominant victory.
“My main takeaway is that every guy on the team, no matter what position and what level on the depth chart, is capable of stepping up to the plate and executing the game plan. Guys playing late in the game were just as passionate as the starters and their preparation throughout the week echoed in their performance on game day,” Foster said.
With the loss, the Eagles fell to 0-9 overall and 0-8 against Centennial opponents. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, improved to 8-1 on the season and 7-1 in Conference play.
There is now only one week remaining in the regular season and Hopkins is in prime position to achieve its main objectives for the season. Foster is optimistic about the state of the team as the postseason approaches.
“I believe we have the potential to do something unprecedented this year and go all the way. Despite how much talent we have, guys are approaching practice with a humble mindset and really putting in the effort to accomplish a ton this year. The coaches will have a plan to defeat our opponents as they always do and I’m confident we’ll execute because of how much effort we put into preparation. I’m excited for what is to come!” Foster said.
A win this upcoming Saturday against the McDaniel College Green Terror will guarantee the Blue Jays at least a share of the Conference title, since they are currently tied with Muhlenberg College for the best record in the Conference. However, even if the title is shared this year, the Jays will still earn an automatic postseason berth, since they defeated Muhlenberg in their head-to-head matchup earlier this season. Hopkins and McDaniel will face off on Homewood Field at 12 p.m.