Eagles welcome Tigers to Tri-Valley League
It could be a "Welcome" kind of week for Line Mountain.
First, the Eagles will be extending a big Tri-Valley League power shake to East Juniata. The Tigers have long been on the Eagles' schedule, but after eschewing the ever-growing All-American Conference for league games closer to home than Nativity, Columbia-Montour Vo Tech and Freedom Village Academy (N.Y.), East Juniata being on the schedule now means even more.
Line Mountain's coaches and players can attest to the quality and competitiveness of the TVL, even if the next three games on the schedule East Juniata (1-5), Pine Grove (1-5) and Upper Dauphin (1-5) seem less than top notch until the Eagles travel to undefeated Tri-Valley in the last week of the season.
Just as importantly, the Eagles should see starting quarterback and leader of the defensive secondary Cole Rickert back from an ankle injury that has caused him to miss two full games and part of another.
The lull in the schedule should allow an easy transition back into the swing of things for Rickert, who has been replaced, and more than admirably, by Codi Morris.
An interesting sidenote to East Juniata being on the schedule is that the Tigers, because of a cooperative agreement with Midd-West in football, have a Class AAA designation by the PIAA and carry along the associated point value, and that's valuable for the Eagles as they try to keep pace with Southern Columbia and with 670 district points are barely ahead of South Williamsport (650) and Bloomsburg (630) for the second spot and a guaranteed home game for the first round.
But true to form, Line Mountain is not looking past the Tigers.
East Juniata still has dangerous athletes despite only having one win. What the Tigers are not is big.
Starting running back David Brantley, who leads the team with 351 yards and has two touchdowns, is just 5-feet, 10-inches and 160 pounds. Logan Hambright, who does a bit of everything for the Tigers including rushing for 202 yards and catching eight passes for 60 yards, is not much bigger at 5-10 and 185 pounds. Quarterback Austin Bennett is 5-10, 170 and the biggest of the skill players is Kevin Allen, but only at 5-11 and 180.
Bennett has thrown for 284 yards and rushed for another 135 yards with a total of five touchdowns.
East Juniata does, however, average 227 pounds along the offensive line, and are bigger than Line Mountain's defensive line, which averages 16 pounds less.