Kicker’s Korner: Inside the Huddle
By Jared McCully, Contributing Writer
The Gettysburg College football coaching staff is not sure if their hearts can handle anymore scares, especially with their last minute touchdown to beat the Juniata Eagles 30-25 in another Centennial Conference thriller. The Bullets lead by coach Barry Steeter advanced to 3-0 for the season, one of their best starts in over a decade. The scene at Knox Stadium at Juniata College will be put down in the books as one the Bullet’s best clutch performances.
This Bullets team is something to witness this season, with thrilling games and clutch performances from multiple players. Gettysburg football is looking to reclaim their stake as the premiere football team in the Centennial Conference. No matter the climate or game situation, the Bullets seem to find a way to execute their plays and achieve success in the process.
To start off the game, Gettysburg jumped to a 17-0 lead over Juniata in the first half. Early on Gettysburg senior QB Sam McDermott found junior wide receiver Jordan Kelso for a 38-yard touchdown. On the next possession senior kicker Robby Fay converted a 22-yard field goal to boost the Bullets to a 10-0 lead.
With excellent field position to start off the second quarter, Gettysburg enacted one of their more interesting plays of the season. On a play that looked lost, Sam McDermott, tossed the ball over to senior offensive linemen Pierce Frauenheim who pushed his way to the end zone for a 32-yard score. Virtually untouched along the way, Juniata seemed stunned to see the big linemen marching his way past the pylons.
To answer their 17-0 deficit, the Eagles scored on two consecutive possessions with the same names involved. Eagles QB Kirby Breault found his primary receiver Hank Coyner for a 15-yard touchdown and then found Coyner again for a career long 75-yard touchdown reception. With the Eagles encroaching upon their 17-13 lead, Gettysburg looked to answer their opponent’s momentum.
Denying Juniata’s wideouts with the chance to take all the glory, Kelso caught a career long 71-yard pass from McDermott to give the Bullets some comfort at 24-13 with little time remaining in the first half. Juniata was determined to go into the half holding their heads high with another Kirby Breault touchdown pass to Hank Coyne to close the period. The Bullets secondary had their hands full trying to stop Juniata’s passing game, but still kept the edge to hold off the Eagles when it mattered most.
The third quarter was a defensive battle with turnovers and punts leading to an offensive stalemate between the two teams. A Kevin Bonalle field goal in the third quarter crept the Eagles closer 24-22. In the fourth the Bullets offense was having trouble passing and running, which eventually lead to Juniata taking the lead with another Bonalle field goal with only 1:08 left in the game.
Now some folk might not give Division III football the excitement it deserves, but watching Gettysburg in their final minute of play was as exciting for me as it was watching the final plays of last year’s Super Bowl. Determined to not walk away from a game that was once in their control, the Bullets marched down the field to find first-year wide receiver Tyler Frazee, who caught a 39-yard touchdown to give the Bullets the edge of 30-25 with 19 seconds on the clock.
This being Frazee’s first career catch, the first-year was surely excited and nervous and later quoted, “The one thing going my mind was not to screw up this catch or I won’t play for a long time. I knew I could make the catch physically but the mental component was something I had yet to been tested at. I had confidence and it paid off.”
The Bullets came in clutch and junior Derek Singer finished the game strong by intercepting Juniata’s hail mary, thus sealing Gettysburg’s victory. The Bullets are going to continue to march on to their next opponent Susquehanna University this Saturday at 1pm, at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium. Look for your favorite first-year kicker #96 throughout the game. I might even give you a slight head nod. We have 104 bullets in this magazine, and everyone is about to fired off.