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GAME RECAP: Selinsgrove 17 - Juniata 14

By Fred Parnell, for

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MEXICO, PA -- Some loses hurt more than others. This one hurts a lot. Juniata had Selinsgrove on the ropes but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow. There was very little to choose from with these two teams and that is something to celebrate. What is particularly insidious about a game like this is that players and even coaches find a way to blame themselves for the loss based usually on one particular play. Football is the ultimate team game and that old adage “you win as a team, and you lose as a team” is true. Everyone needs to dissect the game, learn from it, and move on. A very good West Perry team looms on the horizon.

For those who care about these things, Juniata won the statistical battle last night in nearly all categories except turnover. That score was Juniata 3 Selinsgrove 2. I always quote the stat that says if you commit two or more turnovers than your opponent you lose 90% of the time. I don’t know what the number is for having one more turnover than you opponent but I’m sure it’s above 50%.

Now to deal with the 800-pound gorilla in the room…all fan bases including ours in a game like this immediately look for someone to blame for the loss. 95% of the time they choose the officials. THE OFFICIALS DID NOT LOSE THE GAME FOR JUNIATA. Our broadcast booth was directly behind and above the Juniata fans and we noticed late in the game two things that have no place in high school athletics…. profanity and obscene gestures directed at the officials. It’s one of the main reasons there is a critical shortage of officials in Pennsylvania. Already Friday night games have been moved to Thursday night because of the shortage. A lot of fan bases say “I can’t understand why they can’t get officials.” WELL, LOOK IN THE MIRROR!

If the team schedule is still the same, the coaches will watch the film together Sunday night and show it to the team on Monday, and then they will move on to West Perry, as it should be. I have a couple final thoughts on the game…it was one of the most exciting high school games I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. And finally, on our way home I asked a question. That question was…if the Seals and Indians teed it up again next Friday night who would win. I’ll reveal only my response: “I don’t know; the teams are so evenly matched.”

One thing I never dreamed I would be saying after week two: Both Mifflin County and James Buchanan are 2-0. Congratulations to both teams! Elsewhere the Liberty Conference went as expected. Teams that should have won, did win and teams that should have lost, did lose. Elsewhere, Clearfield won which gives us 10 bonus points on the night. Meadville and Dubois won close games. Great Johnstown got hammered and Bellefonte lost to Penns Valley by two touchdowns.

When the rankings come out later today or Monday, they will look like this:

Juniata. 100 points

Bellefonte. 0 points

Greater Johnstown 0 points

In summary, Juniata played an outstanding game and gave a perennial powerhouse all they could handle. That is something to celebrate. We get a shot at another outstanding football team next week in the West Perry Mustang and we get them at home….

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