End is bit more bittersweet for trio of EJHS students on roster
HEGINS — The last East Juniata football game meant more to some than to others.
Among the some are the three players who not only wear the Tiger uniform, but attend the high school it represents.
John Moyer and Blake Sheaffer weren’t going to be playing high school football after Friday no matter what — both are seniors who were playing out their career with the only program they’ve known.
Beau Stuck, a junior, admits he’s not sure what the future will bring, at least as far as football goes.
“I haven’t entirely made my decision whether I’m going to play next year or not. I’m really thinking about it,” he said. “It’s going to be new and difficult to move in with a new team after I’ve played my whole career with these guys.”
Stuck, who became a starter this year at right tackle, recorded two tackles and seven assists in the first nine games of the season. George Miskinis, the Tigers’ coach, saw improvement.
“Beau is developing and getting better as he junior year comes to a close,” Miskinis said. “He has had some playing time also at defensive end.”
Although he has mixed feelings about the new co-op, Stuck predicts success.
“I think we’ll ease into it eventually. It’s going to be difficult the first couple years,” he said.
Moyer and Sheaffer had mixed feelings on the change, which effects them only in the historical sense. But, having spent their careers as part of the current co-op, the postgame huddle was more about the relationships they built with Midd-West than thinking about next season.
“This was a very important and emotional game for me. This is my very last high school game — that should be important to everybody,” Sheaffer said. “Us as a group, East Juniata Tigers, the last game. It makes it a very big one for all of us.”
Sheaffer’s been a big part of the offense this season, carrying the ball 38 times for 86 years. He also caught two passes for five yards, added four PATs as kicker and was a big contributor on defense as well.
“He has played extremely well at outside linebacker this season,” Miskinis notes. “Blake plans on joining the U.S. Navy upon graduation.”
Moyer gained the vast majority of his yards on special teams, returning kicks and punts. He is the punter as well. On defense, he had a sack and a fumble recovery.
“John has also played running back, slot back and defensive back,” Miskinis said. “John has made numerous plays for us the past three seasons. He is also an outstanding hurdler in track.”
Miskinis said Moyer has the highest GPA on the team and plans on attending college.
On Friday, Moyer tempered his business-like demeanor with the fact that this was the last game he could enjoy.
“It was more or less, don’t get down on yourself over a bad play, something like that,” he said. “This is the last for everything — I wanted to make it a nice, memorable, enjoyable moment.”
The two seniors differed on their feelings about the end of both the 50 seasons of Tiger football and the past 16, which have included a successful co-op with Midd-West.
“I can picture why they did it. Three people — that’s tough to fund,” Moyer said. “It was enjoyable while it lasted.”
“Me? I don’t agree with the combination with Juniata,” Sheaffer said. “If they combine schools, or when they combine schools — because I’m sure it will happen like Mifflin County — then one football team will be sufficient. But until then, I think we need the rivalry.”