By ANDREW JOHNSON
When a locomotive gets up to full speed it becomes incredibly difficult to stop and will crush any objects that unwisely cross its path. This is not unlike the Johns Hopkins football team, which continues to obliterate opponents in the early portion of their slate with no signs of stopping.
The Jays put on an offensive and defensive showcase this past Saturday, vanquishing their host Juniata College by a line of 41-5, all the while looking every bit like they were in midseason form. The victory moves the eighth ranked Jays to 5-0 (4-0 Centennial Conference) on the season while the Eagles fell to 1-4 (0-4 CC).
Hopkins has now won 26 straight regular season contests including 13 straight victories on the road. They have scored at least 40 points in every contest this season while edging their opponents by more than 20 points in every single contest.
This type of dominance is not unusual for this squad, but there is a growing sense that the group may be even more special than the fantastic teams Hopkins has fielded in years past.
The Blue Jays raced out to an early 17-0 lead in the first period, producing dominant results utilizing a combination of smashmouth defense and efficient offense. After stopping the Eagles on their opening drive, Hopkins drove 65 yards in nine plays for the opening touchdown, with standout junior quarterback Jonathan Germano finding receiver Quinn Donaldson on a three-yard strike.
Following another stop on defense, the Jays once again raced down the field and converted a pivotal fourth down from the Juniata 19. Running back Stuart Walters took the handoff from the three yard line and danced outside for the second score of the game, propelling the Blue Jays to an early 14-0 lead. A field goal by junior Nick Campbell pushed the lead to 17-0 at the end of the opening quarter.
Germano would account for both of Hopkins’ second quarter touchdowns, connecting with standout receiver Bradley Munday on a 14-yard strike and scrambling from 15 yards out to give the Jays a 31-5 halftime lead.
The defense suffocated Juniata, allowing only 194 yards on 67 total plays, contrasting sharply with Hopkins’ offensive output of 490 yards on an unusually high 92 plays. The Juniata passing attack was held to 123 yards on 13-34 attempts, over 100 yards lower than the average of 245 per game.
Senior defensive back Josh Bernard, who had two sacks and the sole interception of the contest, attributed the defensive success to the preparation of the team and the game plan installed by the coaches each and every week.
“I think the key to our success each week is the way we prepare. The coaches gave us a greatgame plan and every guy on the defense locked into it. Our scout offense worked hard all week in practice to give us a game-like look into whatever Juniata would throw at us so we were completely ready to go on Saturday,” Bernard said.
On the offensive side of the ball, Junior Jonathan Germano was once again the key cog, completing 30 of 41 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was junior receiver Bradley Munday, who had 12 receptions for 104 yards and a score, while junior Quinn Donaldson added five catches for 87 yards and the other score. Senior Brandon Cherry and junior Stuart Walters formed a dynamic one-two punch on the ground, collectively racking up 136 yards and one touchdown.
In the victory, Munday became only the 12th player in Hopkins’ history to rack up over 1500 career receiving yards. When asked what made him and the offense particularly successful, Munday credited the game plan and the play of his quarterback, Germano, and praised the effort as a great team win overall.
“Going into this past weekend, we had a great game plan. There were many plays for everybody to succeed. I just happened to be open on a lot of plays. Jon Germano and the rest of the offense put me in positions to make some plays, but it was a great team effort. It worked out that I was able to find some seams and get open but, like I said, it was a great team win.” Munday said.
Other defensive standouts included senior linebacker Keith Corliss, who recorded six tackles and one stuff in the backfield for a loss. Junior linebacker Garrett Spek had the only sack for the Jays in the victory.
The Blue Jays now have a week off to enjoy the victory before playing host to Dickinson College under the lights of Homewood Field on Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.