HALIFAX - The Halifax Wildcats marching band had barely put the finishing touches on their alma mater when East Juniata got rolling.
The Tigers took a short kick and Brandon Love returned it 56 yards to put the Tigers on the scoreboard first by a 7-count. The game had a life span of eight seconds by that point. In fact, East Juniata played tough defense in the first half and took a 10-6 halftime lead.
But something happened at halftime, and Halifax parlayed a strong rushing attack, including 260 yards from Allan "Joey" Kauffman, into a 33-10 victory.
The "something" in question was the fact that a much bigger and stronger Halifax team came out in the second half and put a 27-0 whitewashing on the visitors. Tigers Coach Simon Cameron was resigned in defeat.
"They (Halifax) played with intensity and we didn't," said Cameron. "We need to focus and give 100% on every down. When we don't, there will be tough times. Halifax was bigger and stronger and it showed."
Facing a 10-6 deficit at the half, the Wildcats put together a drive to start the second half. A seven play, 80-yard drive ended with Kauffman taking it in from the 16 yard line to give Halifax a 14-10 lead that they would not relinquish.
On its next possession, Halifax all but put the game away. They marched 88 yards on 10 plays with Robert Guzman taking it in from the one-yard line. The coup de grace came on the Wildcats third possession of the half as they took the ball 72 yards on eight plays to score.
Quarterback Robert Moretz, who piled up 179 rushing yards on just 17 carries, carried it in from four yards out and it was 27-10 Halifax. The game was all over but the shouting.
As the first half was winding down, East Juniata was clinging to a 7-6 lead. Tigers quarterback Austin Bennet found David Brantley open in the left flat and Brantley juked his way to the one yard line for a 28-yard pickup. Then despite three illegal procedure penalties and a two-yard loss to boot, Dalton Rowe kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give the Tigers a 10-6 lead at the half.
Bennet was faced with a steady diet of pressure from the front four of the Wildcats defense. And yet, Bennet did complete five balls to five different receivers. The 78 yards passing by Bennet was the game high.
Kauffman and Moretz combined for 42 rushes and an astounding 439 yards on the ground.
The Tigers, who defeated Bucktail a week ago, are now 1-1. Halifax, who lost their opener to Steel High, are also 1-1. East Juniata travels to Pine Grove Friday.