WESTMINSTER, Md. – In a second half filled with snow in the air and on the field, the two teams combined for 35 points but seven first-half points proved to be more than the difference in McDaniel's 23-19 Centennial Conference (CC) football victory over Juniata on Saturday.
Behind 170 yards from Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville), the Green Terror (2-6, 2-5 CC) racked up 265 of its 300 yards of total offense in the second half to snap a five-game slide.
Ward Udinksi led the Eagles (0-8, 0-7 CC) with 168 yards passing and 77 yards rushing.
The Homecoming crowd was treated to pregame snow, coating the field but the precipitation stopped just as Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) put the ball in the air for the opening kickoff, which was moved up an hour to avoid what was forecasted as the worst of the storm.
The offenses slogged through the first eight minutes of the game before a roughing-the-kicker penalty extended a McDaniel drive near midfield.
Rollins ripped off a 16-yard run on the next play that was aided even further by a facemask penalty, setting up first down just outside the 10.
A 14-yard touchdown toss from Nick Valori (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) to Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) and the ensuing Nichols extra-point made it a 7-0 game with 4:07 showing in the first quarter.
Juniata, on the strength of a 33-yard Udlnski-to-De'Sean Popley pass play and the quarterback's legs, drove inside the one-yard line but the Green Terror defense held the Eagles out of the end zone, including a Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) tackle in the backfield on fourth down, to keep it a 7-0 game at the break.
A wintry mix returned just before halftime and turned back to all snow in the second half – and with the change in the weather, a change came in the offenses.
The two teams combined to score points on the first six possessions of the second half.
Nichols hit a 21-yard field goal to cap a 15-play, 52-yard drive on the opening marched that chewed up 7 minutes, 13 seconds and stretched the lead to 10-0.
Nicholas Stubbs, who rushed for 77 yards on the day, needed three plays to pull the visitors back within three, ripping off a 45-yard run up the middle at the 6:55 mark.
A Rollins 37-yard run and late hit set up first and goal on the next McDaniel possession. A Rollins three-yard run but mishandled snap on the PAT made it a 16-7 game with 4:20 to play in the third quarter.
Udinski connected with Julian Valdeiserri for a 10-yard score to cap an 11-play, 63-yard drive. The hold on the ensuing PAT was once again muffed to keep it a 16-13 game just 1:18 into the final period.
Valori scampered for a career-long 58-yard run to cap a three-play, 60-yard drive just 2:21 later to stretch the lead back to 10 after the hold was once again bobbled on the extra point.
Udinskin hits Stubbs out of the backfield for a 60-yard catch-and-run just 2:02 later, drawing Juniata within four.
The two defenses stiffened once again on the last three possessions to made that the final margin.
Josef Jolisaint (Woodstock, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) made eight stops to lead the McDaniel defense.
McDaniel returns to action at Susquehanna on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.