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A LOOK BACK: Juniata vs Meadville

By Fred Parnell, Juniata Football Past & Present

Meadville 27

Juniata 14

I’m going to start with the most important point. Every parent and every fan should be extremely proud of this football team. Their three-year run is now in the books and we might not see another like it for a very long time.

Consider these facts. The last three years, they had a record of 23-9. They picked up three District Championships. They won two Regionals championship and they made two appearances in the Round of 16 State Tournament in Class AAAA.

Those are fact. Now for some opinion. This group was special, and it’s just not because of their three-year won-lost record. This team had a never say die attitude. They gave 100%, all they had. They showed great cohesiveness. It may not have sunk in yet, just what a three-year run this was. Only two other eras rivaled it; the mid-1950’s Harry Becker led team that still hold the school record for longest non-losing streak and Gary Klingensmith’s powerhouses in the late 1980s.

Let that sink in; in the last 50 years, this was one of the three best runs.

Now, about the game. If you had told me that Juniata was going to be held to 60 net rushing yards, I would have said we were going to get Mercy Ruled. But that is exactly what happened. Our passing offense hit some big, timely passes and our defense played lights out.

I think we all knew we were facing an uphill battle to defeat Meadville. But for three quarters, it looked like it just might happen. We contained (well, semi-contained) their all-everything back and even forced them to throw the ball, and as expected, they didn’t have much of a passing game.

According to my calculations, the turnovers were even. I thought we needed to be +2 to have a chance to win. I said earlier that Meadville was basically a one-man team, and it was that one who beat us. Take Simmons out of the game, and we come home with a victory. In a game like this, fans are dissatisfied and look for someone to blame. I’ve already heard rumblings about who was to blame. NO ONE was. Last night, on that field, Meadville was the better team. If you want something to be happy about, how about this? Every Meadville player who hurt last night will graduate this spring. And how about this? Meadville moves on to face Allentown Central Catholic and are most likely going to get soundly beaten.

And trust me on this, the season has ended, but the positive memories will live on forever. I close with this. Juniata came very close to a spectacular season. They played 12 games and in 11 of those games they had a fourth quarter lead. What if? What if they had closed out those games with a win? We would be talking about an 11-1 season and be getting ready to play Allentown Central Catholic in the Round of eight.

I will have more in the days and weeks to come, but for now, I am going to close with a request. Use the comment button below to let the team and coaches know we appreciate them. Congratulate them on an amazing three run. They absolutely deserve it.

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