West Branch downed by playoff-bound Juniata Valley, 28-9|
Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
ALLPORT - With two games left to go in the season for the West Branch football team, the Warriors had a chance to secure at least a .500 record with a win over visiting Juniata Valley on Friday.
But the playoff-bound Hornets had other ideas, improving their power points with a 28-9 victory over West Branch.
Juniata Valley's Jesse Claar scored all four of the touchdowns, and racked up 196 yards on 31 carries. Teammate Brett Grissinger added 87 yards on 11 carries.
"I was pleased with our play," said Warriors head coach Lester Smeal. "We made some mistakes here and there. Juniata Valley is a good football team, there is no doubt about it. Their record reflects that.
"We wanted to come out and play a respectable game. We aren't happy because we didn't get the win, because that is what you play for."
West Branch got another solid game from running back Chad Speigle, who had 29 carries for 116 yards. It was Speigle's seventh 100-yard-plus rushing game. He is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season.
The Warriors moved the ball on the Hornet defense, pushing into Juniata Valley territory three different times in the game.
One of those possessions ended in an interception, but the other two resulted in points on the board for West Branch.
"We moved the ball most of the year on everybody, from Bellwood the whole way through," said Smeal. "That's one of the things we always talk about. We put that pride on our offensive lineman and our blocking backs. That's something they are proud of.
"We work hard on it and it's a credit to those kids. Whenever they want to, they can move anybody up front."
Both teams started off the game with interceptions, as Parker Emigh picked off Caleb Taylor on the Hornets second play from scrimmage, while West Branch got five plays in before Devin Low snagged a Walker Williams pass.
Juniata Valley got things going on its next shot at the ball, however, as Claar scored on a 9-yard run. That nine-play, 68-yard drive gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead after a Philip Staber kick with 5:33 in the first quarter.
After forcing a West Branch punt, Juniata Valley continued to march down the field, led by a 28-yard run from Claar.
The Hornets needed just two plays in the second quarter to score again, as Claar punched in a 4-yard touchdown. The kick was blocked, and Juniata Valley led 13-0 with 11:35 remaining in the half.
West Branch ate up a huge portion of that time, going 65 yards on 16 plays to get to the Hornet 5.
With a fourth-and-goal, the Warriors elected to go for the field goal. Parker Emigh booted the 25-yarder through the uprights for his first of the season, cutting the lead to 13-3 with 2:50 to play.
The Warriors got the ball to start the third quarter, and pushed into Hornet territory quickly. After getting to the Juniata Valley 35, West Branch elected to go for it this time on a fourth-and-6, but a run by Emigh was stopped three yards short.
The Hornets took over and needed just nine plays to hit paydirt again, as Claar took in his third score of the night, this time from 15 yards out.
A 2-point conversion attempt was good, as Taylor found Kris Gardner in the end zone to put the score at 21-3 with 1:52 left in the frame.
West Branch scored its only touchdown of the night on its next possession, as Speigle took in a 1-yarder with 8:49 remaining in the game. The kick failed, putting the score at 21-9.
The Hornets answered with another Claar touchdown and Staber added the PAT, extending the lead to 28-9 with 2:06 to go.
West Branch looked to push into Juniata Valley territory, but another interception by Low sealed the game for the Hornets, who improved to 8-1 with the victory.
"The intensity was there the whole game," Smeal said. "There were no letdowns. Even with two minutes left, we were moving the ball down the field on them.
"It just goes as a credit to these kids. We come out and play ironman football every week full of intensity and fire. They just give their all as do our coaches to get them ready."
West Branch (4-5) travels to Williamsburg on Friday.
"We are going to get right back at it next week," said Smeal. "We need to go down to Williamsburg and play all four quarters, because we haven't played well on the road. We need to play all four quarters and finish off the season with a win.
"It will get us back to .500. I know the kids will be pumped up because the game is important. It's almost like a playoff game for us."
Juniata Valley hosts Huntingdon on Friday.
Juniata Valley 28
West Branch 9
Score By Quarters
Juniata Valley 7 6 8 7-28
West Branch 0 3 0 6-À9
JV-Claar 9 run, (Staber kick), 5:33.
JV-Claar 4 run, (kick blocked), 11:35.
WB-Emigh 25 FG, 2:50.
JV-Claar 15 run, (Gardner pass from Taylor), 1:52.
WB-Speigle 1 run, (kick blocked), 8:49.
JV-Claar 1 run, (Staber kick), 2:06.
From Page 6
Total First Downs 14 13
Rushes-Yards 45-295 41-163
Comp-Att-Int 1-4-2 4-12-2
Passing Yards 19 40
Total Plays-Yards 49-314 50-203
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Punts-Avg 0-0 1-39
Penalties-Yards 2-20 3-20
Juniata Valley-Claar 31-196, Grissinger 11-87, Wagner 2-13, Team 1-(-1).
West Branch-Speigle 29-116, K. Smeal 6-26, Williams 3-14, Emigh 3-7.
Juniata Valley-Taylor 1-of-3, 19 yds., 1 Int.; Gardner 0-of-1, 1 Int.
West Branch-Williams 4-of-12, 40 yds., 2 Int.
Juniata Valley-Grissinger 1-19.
West Branch-Speigle 1-16, Pennington 1-12, Emigh 1-10, L.G. Smeal 1-2.