By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
BEAVER SPRINGS — There could be all of the makings of an upset brewing in Beaver Springs.
Williams Valley has secured a playoff berth in District 11, while East Juniata has struggled after starting the season with two straight wins. The two Tri-Valley teams will meet in the Tri-Valley League and regular-season finale for both teams.
Williams Valley knows that it will have more football to play in the coming weeks, while East Juniata will see its season come to a close after Friday night.
However, East Juniata head coach Simon Cameron did not back down from the challenge of facing the 8-1 Vikings.
“We’re going to try and pull the upset,” Cameron said.
Cameron added that his team is looking for a memorable win and the positive end to the season that a win over Williams Valley would provide.
Helping the Tigers’ cause will be the probable return of a number of starters after the Tigers have spent a large part of the season, with players out with injuries.
All-state punter Dalton Rowe is expected to be back in action this week for the Tigers. Rowe also handles kicking duties and plays both ways on the line for East Juniata.
The Tigers are also expecting a pair of running backs to suit up after missing time, with dynamic athlete David Brantley in the mix after missing last week’s loss to Millersburg and Tyler Herbster returning to the backfield.
“Any time you get your athletes back, it makes a big difference,” Cameron said. “Getting all those guys back should be a major help.”
With all three players playing both ways for the Tigers, getting Rowe, Brantley and Herbster back will help to fill production on offense and defense.
The Tigers will be facing a Williams Valley team that steamrolled through its schedule, stumbled against still unbeaten Pine Grove, then picked back up where it left off, traveling to Beaver Springs with a three-game win streak.
With the strong season that Williams Valley is having, the Vikings will be a contender to repeat as District 11 Class A champions.
However, Savage explained that he is not looking past East Juniata.
“We have a lot of individual progress to make to grow us as a team,” Savage said. “We must focus on (East Juniata) and prepare for their athleticism.
As a playmaker, Brantley is a player that Savage will be looking to stop.
“Brantley is one of our league’s most-gifted athlete(s),” Savage said. “He will make plays on both sides of the ball and (East Juniata) will most likely bring a disruptive risk-taking defense.”
The Vikings are led by quarterback Stephen Sedesse and his 17 passing touchdowns and Cole Barnhardt in the running game, looking for his second straight 1,000-yard season.
However, Nick Rodichock will have the starting nod under for the Vikings in place of Sedesse Friday.
Savage described Rodichock as capable of being a starting quarterback on other teams.
Cameron said that in order for East Juniata to hold its ground and pull an upset, his players will have to play a complete game on both sides of the ball. He added that limiting turnovers will be important to hang around with a potent Vikings’ offense.
While the Vikings offense is talented, their defense may be equally as strong, forcing three turnovers in a win over Newport last week.
“Our defense has been lights-out all season long,” Savage said.