BY JUSTUS STURTEVANT, STAFF WRITER
The Susquehanna football team ended the season with a 17-10 loss to Juniata, dropping the Crusaders’ record to 1-9 for the season. The Crusaders came up just short, as their failure to find the end zone on a pair of late possessions doomed them.
Junior quarterback Mark Rosenbaum completed 10 of 20 pass attempts with one touchdown and three interceptions. Sophomore running back Tim Wade picked up 56 yard on 14 carries. Junior receiver Denzell Walker led the Susquehanna receivers with four receptions for 58 yards.
The Crusaders struck first when junior kicker Spencer Hotaling converted a 28-yard field goal attempt. The Eagles responded with a 17-0 run over the next two periods. It started with a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which tied the game at three.
Then, with 9:04 minutes remaining in the first half, Udinski found the end zone on a 14-yard scramble to give Juniata the lead.
The Eagles attempted to take a 13-3 lead as the half came to a close but junior kicker Ken Kysor missed the 36-yard attempt and Juniata led by seven as the two teams headed to the locker rooms.
The Eagles nearly extended their lead early in the third quarter. With ten minutes left in the third, Juniata drove the ball down to the Susquehanna goal line, but the Crusader defense came up with a crucial stop to keep it a one-possession game.
After a turnover on downs, the Susquehanna offense took over, looking to tie the game.
However, any momentum gained by the defensive stand was lost when sophomore defensive back Charles Sweigert returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 14-point lead.
The Crusaders bounced back, capping a four play, 56-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Rosenbaum to sophomore split end Will Howell to pull Susquehanna back within one possession of Juniata.
The Crusaders would have two more chances to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but the offense sputtered and couldn’t find the end zone.
Head Coach Steve Briggs’ squad will lose only ten seniors next year. The young team will look to build on their experiences this season and turn that experience into a productive offseason.
Briggs said: “We have to get stronger. At the point of attack, we’re losing in many instances because of the strength of some of these better teams.”