By Fred Parnell, Juniata Football Past & Present on Facebook
So, was the season a big success, a big disappointment, or something in between?
We ended with a record of 8-4 and a regular season of 7-3. Prior to the season, I set the over/under for wins at 6.5, which means I thought we would win six or seven games. I was right, but not totally right about we would win and who we would lose to.
I expected losses to Selinsgrove, West Perry and either Clearfield or Boiling Springs, but not both. What I did not expect was losing to Upper Dauphin. And in fact, that loss still bothers me. Other than that loss, we beat everyone we should have beaten.
As for playoffs, it was a major disappointment that we didn’t win the District Championship on the field. Bellefonte elected not to play us, so we were “awarded” the District Title. Next up was Dubois. They were better than I expected, but still not good enough to beat us.
Finally came the rematch with Meadville. I thought both teams were very similar to last year’s teams, so I expected a similar outcome. We got a fairly similar outcome, but not in the same way it played out last season. Last year, Meadville jumped up on us early and we stormed back late, only to fall short. This season we jumped out early and after three quarters, it looked like we were going to pull a major upset. But it wasn’t meant to be, and we concluded our season with an 8-4 record. To me, the season was a success.
So, what about next season? We have graduation losses to deal with, but this coaching staff did a great job dealing with graduation losses from last season. I expect to see that repeated next season. The schedule will mirror last season’s except for the first game. Clearfield will not be on the schedule, so we are searching for an opponent. I’ve heard rumors about who that opponent might be. I don’t deal with rumors on this site. As soon as something becomes official, I will post it here.
As for our out of conference opponents, I look for Selinsgrove to be better, West Perry to be down a notch, and Boiling Springs to be about the same. As for our Liberty Conference opponents, I look for Line Mountain, Newport, and James Buchanan to be better. I look for Upper Dauphin to be down a notch while Susquenita and Newport should be about the same as last season. I look for a three team race for the title: Juniata, Line Mountain and Upper Dauphin.
We won’t know anything about Districts and beyond until after the season has actually started. However, Juniata, Bellefonte and Greater Johnstown will battle for two District Playoff spots and since we faced D8 two years ago and D9 this year, we will likely face a D10 opponent for the regional semi-final and will probably be hosted by D10. However, that is pure speculation at this point.