Juniata Valley showed no signs of a letdown after last Friday’s 24-21 heart breaking loss at Bellwood. The Hornets dominated the line of scrimmage and quarterback Caden Rupert threw three touchdown passes to lead the Hornets to a 38-12 victory over visiting Williamsburg Friday evening.
“The team decided last Monday, during a meeting, that not playing well in this game would diminish their effort in that loss,” said Hornet coach Bill Musser. “We were aggressive on both sides of the ball and played a very solid football game.”
After forcing the Pirates into a three-and-out on their first possession, the Hornets needed just three plays to go 47 yards for a 6-0 lead. Rupert completed three passes, the last going 32-yards to Jacob Hensor streaking down the left side, a step ahead of his defender. Jefferson Hill failed to convert the PAT.
After stopping the Pirates again, Valley got the ball at its own 17. Rupert ran for 19 yards on the first play, then tossed a 40-yard pass to Gabe Brower on the third. After a pair of runs picked up 11 more yards, Rupert tossed a fade down the right side to Hunter Johnson for the second TD of the night. The rush for the two-point conversion came up short.
Following another three-and-out for Williamsburg, Valley needed just one play. Rupert threw a screed to Grant Musser, who then raced 56 yards for the TD and an 18-0 lead. with 1:50 left in the first quarter. Rupert tried to pass for the two-pointer, but didn’t connect.
Williamsburg stopped the Hornets’ first possession of the second period and picked up one first down. But, a bad snap and a sack put them in a deep hole in the shadow of their own goal post. Their punt on fourth down was block by Eli Morder and Valley took over at the Pirates’ 11. Ryann Betres ran two for six yards and a fourth down at the five. Valley went for it and Brower swept around the right side untouched for the score.
Morder again took the spotlight when he intercepted an Adam Uplinger pass to set the Hornets up at the Williamsburg 34. After a pair of incompletions, Rupert passed nine-yards to Brower. On fourth-and-one, Betres broke free for 22 yards to the Williamsburg three. On the next snap he power in for the TD and Hill kicked the PAT to make it 31-0 at halftime.
The Hornets got the ball to start the second half and overcame a false start flag to got 68 yards in three plays. Betres converted on second-and-11 following the penalty, lumbering 60 yards to the Pirates’ nine. He finished what he started on the next snap, scoring his second TD of the night. Hill again converted and the “Mercy Clock” started to run.
Valley called off the dogs and put a lot of clean jerseys the rest of the night and didn’t add to their point total.
Williamsburg finally got into the end zone with a pair of scores in the fourth quarter. Uplinger passed 16 yards to Wes McCall to cap a 72-yard, 10-play drive with 6:05 left. The pass for the PAT was broken up in the end zone.
The Pirate defense came through less than a minute later when Ian Crouch picked up a fumble at the Hornet 25 and ran it into the end zone. The run for the two-point conversion failed.
“Our coaches did an excellent job of coming up with offensive and defensive game plans this week,” said Musser. “I’m very pleased with the way Caden Rupert is playing. He’s taking what the opposing defense is giving him. Defensively, we wanted to develop an attitude. We didn’t do anything new, just let them play downhill and be fast.”
GAME NOTES: Betres finished with a game-high 113 yards on just nine carries ... Rupert completed seven of 12 passes for 174 yards and three scores ... Brower and three catches and Musser two ... Tyler Clark led Williamsburg’s runners with 24 yardsd on eight carries ... Uplinger connected on 11 of 19 passes for 105 yards with a TD and an interception ... Valley had a 319-85 advantage in total yards ... The Hornets will host Southern Huntingdon Friday, while Williamsburg will entertain Tussey Mountain.