By Fred Parnell, Juniata Football Past & Present
LINE MOUNTAIN AT JUNIATA
Friday, October 21, 2022
MEXICO, PA -- On paper, this game is a gimme. But there are several outstanding variables that can have an effect on the game. Enough to alter the outcome? I doubt it, but the Indians will need to be on their game.
This game fits the classic definition of a “a hangover game”. Juniata lost a tough, hard fought game to Liberty Conference rival Upper Dauphin Area. The game was in doubt right up to the 59th minute. Unfortunately, fate sided with the Trojans and Juniata went down to defeat along with any hope of winning the Conference Championship.
That loss will be a tough one to get over. But it doesn’t stop there. The loss also rendered the remaining two game far less important. I am absolutely certain the coaching staff will be on top of this because the Indians DO have something to play for: PRIDE.
I don’t think these two factors will be enough to affect the outcome of this game. It will be interesting to see how Juniata plays to start the game. I fully expect them to come out like gangbusters and if they do, the Eagles are in big trouble.
Let’s take a look at Line Mountain. They have a run oriented offense as 70% of their total yardage is via the run. For the season, they are averaging an impressive 5 yards per carry. Some of this can be attributed to a weak schedule. They have only faced two quality teams: Penn Valley and Tri-Valley.
When they do throw the ball they have some success. Overall they are 44 for 79 for 601 yards. They have six passing touchdown and have surrendered three interception. But again, they were for the most part facing inferior competition.
Their top rusher is sophomore Ian Bates who has carried the ball for 899 yards and 13 touchdowns. Stop him and you stop the Eagles ground game.
They have used three different quarterbacks this season with freshman Kaiden Maurer taking most of the snaps. He is 30-47 with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. He has an incredible QB rating of 113. What he doesn’t have is facing an outstanding defense like he will face Friday night.
Putting it all together, I can the Indians scoring in the 30’s. I would be surprised if the Eagles make it into double digits.
Looking down the road, the Liberty Conference crown is off the table. All other goals are still out there waiting for us.
It is still not clear if there will be a District Championship game. It’s dependent of Bellefonte agreeing to participate with a likely season record of 1-9. If they do, it’s game on. If not I am assuming we will be declared District Champions which I detest; championships should be won on the field. If the game is played we will be the home team and the prohibitive favorite. I could see the Mercy Rule coming into play.
The following week, we will be on the road to District 9 to meet their champion, Dubois. It will be a very winnable game but they are good enough to beat us if we don’t play good ball. It’s interesting to note that Dubois is in the same situation as Juniata. The only possible competitor for them in the District Championship would be Bradford who currently stand at 0-8. The Dubois Beavers are 4-4.
We’ll postpone looking any further down the road; we have a lot of work left to do to even get this far.
This is the last home game of the season for Big Red. Let’s all show up and support a team than in victory and defeat leaves everything on the field. They never, ever give up.