MIFFLINTOWN - Juniata's Neil Bodley has no problem saying that what he does on the football field isn't just him.
But don't let that fool you.
The Indian junior made history Friday night. Not only did Bodley account for four touchdowns, have an interception and a fumble recovery, he broke the school's single season rushing mark.
Sentinel photo by MATT?STRICKER
Juniata’s Neil Bodley, left, carries the ball after eluding a tackle attempt by Pine Grove’s Mark Weinus (32) Friday night in Mifflintown, where Bodley set the school’s single-season rushing record. He is trailed on this play by Chad Eberle. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
And with the help of Bodley - and six Pine Grove turnovers - Juniata went on to keep its playoff hopes alive with a 71-26 win in the Tri-Valley League matchup.
The Indians must now wait the outcome of a game between Penn Cambria and Somerset that was postponed to today. If Somerset wins, the Indians will have a berth in the District 6 Class AA playoffs. Penn Cambria should have the points to push the Indians into the ninth position if it wins.
With an 11-yard run midway through the second quarter, Bodley put himself atop the single-season rushing mountain at Juniata. The junior finished with 140 yards on only 14 carries. He broke the previous record of 1,527 yards set by Phil Bomberger in 2004.
"I had no clue coming into the game (about the record)," Bodley said. "I just wanted to get this win and have a chance to get into the playoffs. The line played great tonight."
Coach Gary Klingensmith puts Bodley right up there with some of the best running backs that Juniata has ever had.
"He's a great athlete," the long-tenured coach said. "He really got us out of a lot of tough situations this year. I'd put him right up there with some of the greater backs here."
Bodley may get another chance to pad his stats if the Indians are fortunate enough to get into the playoffs. But for now, they can only watch.
"We have our fingers crossed that Penn Cambria loses," Klingensmith said. "We are healthy right now. We're getting better and better as the season winds down. I think we'll do well if we get in."
Juniata scored on seven of its eight first-half possessions. And at the intermission, the locals were ahead 49-13.
Fittingly, Bodley got the Indians on the board first. On his third carry, which was the fourth Juniata play from scrimmage, Bodley broke through for 24 yards and a touchdown. It was less than two minutes in, but the rout was on.
Pine Grove's first possession was not as pretty. Bodley recovered a fumble and two plays later Chad Eberle went 34 yards to the house.
Coming into the game at 1-8, the Cardinals showed some promise offensively. Ryan Heim finished with 33 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns. One of his scores came in the first quarter to put the score at 13-6.
Bodley, however, went back to work late in the second quarter with a 40-yard touchdown to balloon the lead to 21-6. Scott Sneath added the two-point conversion.
"I give all the credit to the line," he said. "It's a great group of guys we have. I couldn't have asked for a better team to play on."
Juniata's special teams were impressive Friday night. The Indians got the first of their two blocked punts when Andrew Boyer slipped through the line and got a piece of the kick. Chase Bowsman returned it 25 yards to set up an eventual Cole Kellison touchdown run to make it 28-6.
Blake Ramsey blocked the next punt for Juniata on Pine Grove's next possession. And as the world turns, Ramsey finished off the next drive with a four-yard touchdown. The score: 35-6 midway through the second quarter.
After Pine Grove got back on the board with a Heim touchdown run, it turned into the Chad Eberle show. The junior finished the game with two touchdowns, six PATs and an interception.
And with 2:41 to play in the second, he got his second score - a 31-yard run.
Juniata wasn't done before the half just yet. This time it went to the air. And although the Indians only attempted four passes - two of which were interceptions - Bodley found Joshua Newcamp for a 29-yard touchdown. Bowsman was out front leading the way following the screen pass.
With a 49-13 lead at the half, the game was all but finished. And with a running clock, the Indians kept their foot on the pedal.
The second half started slow, but on the Indians' second possession, Sneath made his way to the end zone following a 20-yard run.
On the Cardinals' next possession, Bodley did his thing and returned his interception 55 yards to jump the lead up to 64-13. The junior leaped from his linebacker position to haul in the pass and only green grass was in front of him.
The Cardinals still had two more scores in them. Heim busted a 14-yard run to end the third quarter. The Cardinals got another at the end of the fourth when quarterback Logan Leven found Mason Lyons for a 25-yard scoring strike.
With four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Dakota McNemar gave the Indians their final score with a 46-yard touchdown run.
"We feel pretty good about this win," Bodley said. "Everyone did their part tonight."
But now the Indians must wait one more day to find out their fate in the District 6 playoff picture. So far, Juniata has churned up a 6-4 mark (5-4 in the TVL), much to the pleasure of Bodley and Klingensmith.
"This is a great season," Bodley said. "We would end up 6-4. A couple of games that were close could have went either way. It's been a great season, I just hope it continues."