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GAME PREVIEW: Juniata vs James Buchanan

By Fred Parnell, Juniata Football Past & Present

MEXICO, PA -- Before looking ahead let’s look back at the first half of the season.

Everyone knew the first half of the schedule was going to be challenging. I thought we would start 0-3. We went 1-2 with an opening game win over a good Clearfield team (they have not lost a game since). Games four and five were expected to be walk-overs and they were. Now as we begin the second half of the season, we are right on schedule to achieve all the goals that were available to us before the season started.

Now, on to James Buchanan. To begin with, this is not your normal James Buchanan team. They are not yet a good team but they are far better than their teams of the past five seasons that won a total of ten games. If you want to compare scores (a dangerous thing to do), The Rockets defeated Halifax 27-7 while Juniata shut Halifax out 55-0.

I have been unable to find any stats for James Buchanan. So I have no idea if they are run oriented or like to throw the ball. My guess would be that they prefer to run. Ordinarily I would suspect a totally dominating performance by Juniata Friday night. However, there is one thing that bothers me a little and it has nothing to do with the strength or weakness of the Rockets.

If you look at the remaining schedule the next two games are this one are with the two toughest teams remaining on our schedule: Upper Dauphin and Boiling Springs. And both of those game are on the road. It is a great temptation to look past a relatively weak team and fixate on the two upcoming key games. High school players have a tendency to do that. Fortunately the Juniata coaching staff is a very good staff and will prepare to avoid this. But, it can and does happen. Don’t be surprised if we start slowly, but when it rolls around to the second half expect Juniata to have put the game away.

An interesting note..The Juniata defense has pitched two consecutive shutouts. Can they make it three? Yes they can but a lot of things will have to go right and at the top of that list is turnovers. I’m not sure the Rockets can score without the help of good field position, courtesy of turnover(s). In the end I think Juniata wins this game comfortably. And I’m actually glad that the Rockets are having a better year. They’ve been down a long time and deserve to experience some winning. I wish them well….AFTER our game is completed.

Three good reasons to make the trip to Klingensmith Stadium Friday night:

(1) The weather should be great

(2) It’s Homecoming

(3) Juniata County Radio will be doing a remote broadcast prior to the game and I’m thinking there will be some freebies to be had

But the best reason is…this team wants, needs and deserves your support. See you there….

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