Juniata still seeks victory
MIFFLINTOWN — One look at the box score and it’s tough to see that one play made all the difference, but that is the case in Williams Valley’s 37-12 win over Juniata in Tri-Valley League football Friday night.
The Vikings had a great start and finish to the contest, but the ending may not have been possible if not for a 15-yard penalty on a fourth down play that would have most certainly been a turnover on downs and given the Indians — who had everything going their way up to that point — a shot at a comeback.
With the Vikings leading, 16-6, in the early part of the fourth, they found themselves facing a fourth-and-10 situation. Quarterback Levi Engle completed a pass to Jayden Cruz for four yards and the Indians were quick to the play, tackling for what would have been a turnover on downs. However, a 15-yard penalty was called at the end of the play that gave the Vikings more life and moved them well within field goal range.
They didn’t have to settle for that as two plays later, Brady Miller punched it in from 13 yards out to give the Vikings a three-score lead with just under 11 1/2 minutes to play.
“That stopped our momentum and our kids tried to come back, but that’s a crucial penalty right there,” Juniata coach Gary Klingensmith said. “That just shut them down and that was big.”
The Indians (0-5, 0-4) played stellar defense in the middle quarters. In fact, they allowed fewer yards in the second and third quarters combined (137) than they did in the fourth (142). The Vikings also nearly outgained that performance in the first quarter with 133 yards.
The Vikings (4-1, 3-1) struck for two more touchdowns before the contest was over.
Levi Engle connected with Jayden Cruz for a 53-yard touchdown pass and when the Vikings got the ball back five plays later, needed just one play — a 37-yard run by Miller to give them a 21-point performance in the quarter.
Juniata’s coaching staff was clearly frustrated with the Vikings on Miller’s third touchdown run — and the team’s second scoring drive of just one play in the game — because it had opted to remove its starters when down four scores, and was looking for the same on the other sideline.
But in the end, that comeback wasn’t meant to be and was only needed because of the Vikings terrific start to the game.
Williams Valley had a balanced attack early as Jesse Engle reeled in a 20-yard touchdown pass on a slant route from his brother Levi to get the game’s first score in under four minutes on the first drive of the game.
Levi Engle finished 9-for-17 with 137 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Indians.
They then had their first one-play scoring drive of the game when Williams went untouched on a 60-yard sweep left that included a nice cut to the right to juke the Indians’ secondary.
Williams rushed for 184 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns in the contest.
It also didn’t help that Juniata had to play comeback with backup freshman quarterback Jacob Condo after starting senior Jeremiah Parson went down with an apparent leg injury on the Indians’ first drive of the game.
Condo played well despite the circumstances. He was often forced to leave the pocket but looked comfortable doing so, completing 10 passes in 22 attempts for 99 yards.
The growing pains were there, too, as he threw two interceptions.
“He’s only a ninth grade boy. He’s got a big future for himself,” Klingensmith said. “Parson went down with an injury right off the bat, but he’s a ninth grade kid and you have to give him credit for standing in there. He hasn’t had the chance to learn from his mistakes. He’s only had one JV game under his belt. So for someone like that to step in and do the job like he did, I was pretty happy with him.”
Condo didn’t contribute to the scoring with his arm but did have a one-yard keeper for a touchdown.
The Indians’ other scoring play came in the game’s final minute as the third-string quarterback — and the fourth player to attempt a pass for the team — Caleb Seeger threw an over the shoulder pass to Billy Dressler for a 20-yard touchdown.
Klingensmith hasn’t lost faith in his team despite the winless start to the season.
“We have five more games and I expect to win the last five games,” he said. “I expect them to fight for it in the last five games, and I think they will. I’m not ashamed of them any. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort or anything like that. We just have weaknesses and we have to try and cover them.”
Juniata hosts Pine Grove Sept. 28.
Williams Valley 37, Juniata 12
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williams Valley 13 3 0 21–37
Juniata 0 0 6 6–12
WV — Jesse Engle 20 pass from Levi Engle (Chett Pesta PAT), 8:11
WV — Brady Miller 60 run (PAT missed), 6:10
WV — Chett 32 field goal, 3:54
J — Jacob Condo 1 run (2 pt. no good), 2:44
WV — Miller 13 run (Chett kick), 11:26
WV — Jayden Cruz 53 pass from Levi Engle (Chett kick), 8:47
WV — Miller 37 run (Chett kick), 6:28
J — Billy Dressler 20 pass from Caleb Seeger (2 pt. no good), 0:26.2
First downs 13 12
Total yards 403 254
Rushes-yards 31-266 34-135
Yards passing 137 119
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 9-18-0 9-25-2
Punts-avg. 4-40.0 4-32.25
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 8-58 3-25
RUSHING: WV–Nick Savage 4-12; Brady Miller 16-184, 3 TD; Levi Engle 8-64; Bryce Lucas 1-2; Chaser Esterline 2-6; Team 1-(-2). J– Ethan Grove 11-52; Ty Martin 7-29; Jacob Condo 12-39, TD; Blake Davey 1-(-1); Trent Martin 2-18; Team 1- (-2).
PASSING: WV –Levi Engle 9-17-0, 137 yds., 2 TD; Bryce Herb 0-1-0, 0 yds. J– Jeremiah Parson 0-1-0; Jacob Condo 10-22-2, 99 yds.; Ethan Grove 0-1-0; Caleb Seeger 1-1-0, 20 yds., TD.
RECEIVING: WV–Bo Raho 4-35; Jesse Engle 1-20, TD; Jayden Cruz 3-64, TD; Nick Savage 1-25. J– Steven Ranck 3-51; Jim Mclaughlin 2-19; Ethan Grove 1-(-3); Jaime Bailer 1-17; Ethan Grove 1-(-1); Blake Davey 1-7; Trent Martin 1-9; Billy Dressler 1-20, TD.