JV-Williamsburg has memorable campaign
By Michael Boytim
For three quarters and six seconds, Juniata Valley had its way with Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic on Friday night.
The Green Hornets led by 11 and were in a position to bring home the school’s first District 6 Class 1A title since 2018 when they topped United after beating BG in the semifinals.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The Marauders played a nearly perfect fourth quarter to rally past Juniata Valley, 24-21, at Mansion Park and end the Hornets’ first season in a co-op with Williamsburg a win short of their ultimate goal.
“It was a great season for the football team, our community, the community of Williamsburg, and I’ll remember the smiles of these kids every day,” Juniata Valley coach Bill Musser said. “They truly loved to come to practice and work. They wanted to be there and be around each other.”
It was a season that almost didn’t happen for the Williamsburg players on Juniata Valley’s roster until Musser’s squad brought them into a co-op a month before the season.
“Being provided the opportunity to play football was the main thing, and everything else was just icing on the cake,” Juniata Valley assistant coach and former Williamsburg head coach Ryan Hileman said. “These kids came together and all put in the work throughout the year. They became closer as a unit and stronger as brothers. I am grateful to get to know all the coaches on the staff and become close with them. Taking two teams and putting them together, I couldn’t have painted a better picture than how it turned out. Obviously, we would have liked to win here and move on, but it’s been a good experience, and hopefully what we have built here will continue on throughout the next few years.”
Musser complimented his team on their chemistry, even after the tough loss on Friday.
“We blended so well together,” Musser said. “After the first couple weeks and after we understood each other as people and as human beings, the kids really embraced it and took off with it.”
The Green Hornets didn’t leave Mansion Park with a district title, but they left with friends for life.
“My teammates made the whole season for me,” Juniata Valley senior Jake Johnson said. “When the Williamsburg kids came over, none of us wanted them to come over. But when they did, all of us bonded and we became one team and all became best friends. This is a great group of kids. We will stay friends the rest of our lives, 100 percent. We’ll still be having bonfires every Thursday.”