Warriors lose to Juniata Valley, Clinch Playoff Berth


Image/Graphics by Corrin Evans

Ayden Gutierrez, Author

Alexandria- West Branch went into the half with a total of -10 offensive yards. Despite the offensive struggle, the Warriors only trailed 14-0, and were really one play away from a 7-0 ballgame. With under a minute to go in the first half, Noah Hoffner was inches away from an interception. Instead, the pass went right to a Juniata Valley wide receiver for a Hornet touchdown. Besides that play and an opening drive score for Juniata Valley, the Warrior defense looked ferocious. The Hornet offense couldn’t breathe, but unfortunately for the Warriors, their offense couldn’t either. Juniata Valley held Derek Yingling to 10 first half yards, and got to quarterback Ayden Gutierrez for a couple of big first half sacks. The Warriors could not throw the ball either in the first half, as Gutierrez threw just two first half completions.

The Warriors got the ball to start the 2nd half, and it looked as if a completely different team had put on the white and red uniforms. The Warriors were throwing and running the ball all over the Hornet defense. The Warriors faced a 3rd and short inside the Hornet 40 yard line, and that’s when the 1st half woes returned. Gutierrez bobbled the snap as he was rolling out, and a Hornet defender fell right on it. The defense responded by forcing Juniata Valley to punt. Again, the Warriors began to put together a promising drive, but another fumble halted the Warrior offense, this one being lost by Yingling.

The team’s each went back and forth in the third, with neither scoring. West Branch was getting closer and closer to putting together a scoring drive, but as the scoreboard went from 3 to 4 under the quarter column, it was as if the 1st half Warriors had returned. The offense began to stall out, and the wheels fell off for the defense. Gutierrez threw 2 interceptions, and the defense gave up 26-fourth quarter points, leaving the final score a 40-0 shutout.

However, even with the loss, the Warriors clinched the 8th seed in the District 6 AA Playoffs. This is the first time that the Warriors have clinched a playoff berth since 2011.

The Hornets gained 312 total yards, while the Warriors earned 139.

West Branch (5-5, 8th seed) travels to Richland (10-0, #1 seed, #4 ranked team in the state) this Friday.




Score By Quarters

West Branch     0  0  0    0- 0

Juniata Valley   7  7  0  26- 40


Individual Statistics


Derek Yingling   19-118

Will Herring        1-1

Hudson Pase        3-(-2)

Aidan Kephart     1-(-3)

Ayden Gutierrez   3-(-29)



Ayden Gutierrez  7-of-20, 56 yds., 2 Int



Josh Cantolina  4-33

Will Herring     1-19

Eddie Dale        1-2

Derek Yingling 1-1