Blue Pirates rise to occasion, end long skid
WILLIAMSBURG — The drought is over.
The Williamsburg Blue Pirates stunned Juniata Valley, 14-9, Friday night at Veterans Memorial Field to end a 21-game losing streak and give second-year head coach Ryan Hileman his first victory.
Williamsburg ended the game on its terms, running out the clock with a clutch fourth-down run by Wes McCall that sent all those fortunate enough to witness it home happy.
“Best feeling I ever had,” McCall said. “This is my third year playing and my first varsity win. Amazing.”
Play of the game: Facing third-and-8 from its 26, with 2:29 remaining and leading 14-9, Williamsburg dialed up a home-run throw with quarterback Lambert Palmer throwing a 42-yard bomb to Jahmarea Wansley, who was injured on the play and didn’t return. Palmer: “Great blocking from the line and Peanut (Wansley) beat him (Valley defender).”
Player(s) of the game: Let’s go a little unconventional here and recognize Williamsburg’s entire defense, which registered nine tackles for loss. McCall: “We’re so proud of everybody, especially our line, getting in there, blowing it up.”
Key moment: With 25 seconds remaining in the first half, Juniata Valley advanced to the Pirates’ 5-yard line on a pair of receptions (15 and 30 yards) from Hunter Johnson to Gabe Brower. But the Williamsburg defense held with freshman Andrew McMonagle breaking up a potential touchdown and then blocking a Valley field goal attempt as time expired.
Unsung hero: Williamsburg running back Tyler Clark rushed 14 times for 36 yards and scored both of the Pirates’ touchdowns.
Hileman: “This community supports us year in and year out. It feels great to get a win for them. There’s nothing to describe the feeling, to have the boys play in front of their parents and get a win like this. I guarantee no one was looking for us to win this game.”
Matching physicality: Juniata Valley came out with a full-house backfield in the second half and sprung Jayce Rand for a 43-yard run to set up a 9-8 lead, but Williamsburg regrouped. Hileman: “Coming into the game, I thought we might be a little overmatched up front, but our boys came together and showed heart and gutted it out. We wanted to keep the clock running at the end, and that’s what we did.”
Juniata Valley coach Bill Musser: “It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job with my job. I have to get myself refocused so I can get my coaches and players refocused. They had a great game plan, and they executed that game plan. Hats off to Coach Hileman and his kids.”
Injury report: Wansley, who had 80 yards on eight touches (2-46 receiving, 6-34 rushing), was carried from the field after his over-the-shoulder catch in what Hileman thinks is an ankle injury. Wansley was presented a game ball and was on crutches afterward. “He’s obviously a big part of our team,” Hileman said.
Next week: Juniata Valley visits Everett; Williamsburg visits Tussey Mountain.
Notable: McCall and Palmer both made interceptions for Williamsburg, Palmer’s on fourth down at the Pirates’ 25 with 3:24 left … After averaging just 11 yards per punt in an opening loss at Southern Huntingdon, the Pirates didn’t start well, allowing a blocked punt for a safety on their first possession … Both teams fumbled three times in the second half and lost one … Williamsburg’s last victory came in the final game of the 2017 season, at home against Moshannon Valley.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley 2 0 7 0 — 9
Williamsburg 0 8 0 6 — 14
JV–Safety, Blocked punt recovered in end zone, 10:51
W–Clark 4 run (Palmer run), 0:34
JV–Brower 5 run (Hill kick), 1:52
W–Clark 3 run (run failed), 10:07
TEAM STATISTICS JV W
First downs 12 9
Total yards 222 208
Rushes-yards 43-160 37-124
Yards passing 62 84
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 6-15-2 5-10-0
Punts-avg. 6-22.5 3-36.0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 4-26 2-20
RUSHING–Williamsburg, McCall 7-37, Clark 14-36, Wansley 6-34, Palmer 4-9, Crouch 3-7, McMonagle 3-1. Juniata Valley, Rand 6-66, Brower 13-51, Boone 7-46, H. Johnson 13-3, J. Johnson 3-4, Reed 1-0. Team 1-(10).
PASSING–Williamsburg, Palmer 5-10-84. Juniata Valley, H. Johnson 6-14-62, Allison 0-1-0.
RECEIVING–Williamsburg, Wansley 2-46, McMonagle 2-30, McCall 1-8. Juniata Valley, Brower 3-45, Reed 1-6, J. Johnson 1-6, Musser 1-5.