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Bellefonte Plays for District Title; State High Faces Erie

by and on November 10, 2017 5:00 AM

It is down to the last two Centre County high school teams, Bellefonte and State College, playing football in the playoffs, and both teams have more than earned their places.

No. 1-seeded Bellefonte handled No. 4 Clearfield in the District 6 4-A semifinals, 62-21, and will now take on No. 2 Johnstown at Hollidaysburg High School on Friday night in the final.

State College was just as impressive in its regular-season-ending 31-10 win over perennial Mid-Penn power Central Dauphin. The win put the State High record at 8-2 going into the D-6/D-10 PIAA game against Erie High Friday night in Clarion.

Here’s a closer look at both games.
 

■ No. 1 Bellefonte (9-2) vs. No. 2 Johnstown (8-3)
Defending 4-A D-6 champion Johnstown drew No. 3 Bedford in the D-6 semifinals, and that game was over by halftime. The Trojans scored the night’s first 35 points before the break, including 28 in the second quarter alone.

Playing the second half under the mercy rule, Bedford was able to score twice and make it 35-14 as the game ran down, but it was way too little, too late.

Trevon Fields (47 yards), Imil Britt (60) and senior quarterback Austin Barber (42) all ran for first-half touchdowns, and Barber threw for two more as the Trojans bolted out to a 35-0 lead.

On the night, Johnstown amassed 21 first downs, 238 yards on the ground and 347 total yards, numbers that could have easily been larger had the Trojans not eased up on the gas in the second half.

For the season, Johnstown averages 355 yards of offense per game almost equally divided between the pass and run.

Barber has completed 111 of 212 passes for 1,720 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he’s added another 439 yards and 12 touchdowns running.

Fields is the leading rusher on the team with 562 yards and five touchdowns on 87 carries, and junior Roderick Rosiek in third with 340 yards and four touchdowns. Britt is next with 303 and three touchdowns, but he is also the team’s leading receiver with 29 catches for 500 yards and six touchdowns.

The Trojans also play an aggressive defense that’s compiled 62 tackles-for-loss, 15 sacks and 13 interceptions. Britt is the main ball hawk in the Trojan secondary with six interceptions.

Greater Johnstown’s only losses this season came on consecutive weeks to defending state champion Bishop Guilfoyle out of Altoona and 8-3 Cambria Heights in the final regular-season game.

Many thought that Clearfield would make a serious playoff run at Bellefonte in the semifinals after losing big to the Raiders earlier in the season.

Didn’t happen.

After taking a 27-21 halftime lead, the Raiders ran off 35 unanswered points in the second half to complete the 62-21 romp.

Dylan Deitrich ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns, threw for another 122 and two more scores, and opened the scoring in the game with a 5-yard run. Dexter Gallishaw (101 yards) and C.J. Funk (140) also went over the century mark in rushing and combined for three more touchdowns.

And enough can’t be said about a Raider defense that intercepted two Isaac Rummery passes and shut out the Bison after halftime.

What all this boils down to is that two highly successful, confident teams will fittingly meet in the 4-A final. Both can score, both can play defense and both will be highly motivated.

Johnstown will be looking to repeat and win its third title in four years, and Bellefonte will be searching for its first District 6 championship since winning the 3-A trophy in 1999.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Hollidaysburg High School.

■ (District 6) State College (8-2) vs. (District 10) Erie (9-2)
Everything that anyone needs to know about the Erie Royals football team can be found in its heart-pounding 35-34 victory over Erie McDowell in the District 10 final Nov. 3.

After two earlier-season losses — one to McDowell — the Royals advanced to the D-10 final and to a rematch with McDowell.
But with the score tied 28-28 late in the third quarter, McDowell’s Regan Schleicher scored on a 35-yard run to put McDowell ahead 34-28.

McDowell surprisingly went for two, but Erie stuffed the conversion attempt and the scored remained 34-28.

Yet time slipped away, and the Royals found themselves still down with the clock running out and with McDowell driving into the red zone for the clinching touchdown.

Then, somehow, Erie forced a fumble and recovered on their own 11-yard line.

They mounted a last-ditch drive and converted two third-and-longs and two fourth-downs on the way to a first-and-goal on the McDowell 3-yard line with just seconds to play.

Finally, on second down, Jason Williams blasted in and tied the game. Tyler Viera’s point after was good, and Erie had its first-ever District 10 championship.

There were other big wins on the Erie schedule — General McClane, Trinity, Franklin, Brashear — but the McDowell win has to count as one of its biggest ever.

And as a giant boost as it goes into one of its first entries into statewide play.

State College is waiting, however, and the Little Lions have a bit more on their resume. State College has 14 District 6 4-A championships and eight championships since the inception of the D-6, 8, 9 and 10 subregion. The Little Lions defeated McDowell last season, 34-14, in the first-ever 6-A sub-regional title game.

So, this will be nothing new to the Lions, and they will be coming in after two stirring wins to end their regular season.

Losses to Harrisburg and Cumberland Valley ended SC’s chances for another Mid-Penn Commonwealth championship, but an easy 70-20 win over Chambersburg and a 31-10 victory over archrival Central Dauphin have State College primed and ready to move on in the playoffs.

For State College, it’s all about speed. Wide receiver Cohen Russell and running back Tristen Lyons are two of the Mid-Penn’s fastest players, and along with emerging quarterback Tommy Friberg, form imposing threats to any defense.

Against CD, Russell scored on an 80-yard touchdown run and caught 10 passes for 94 yards. Lyons ran for 106 yards and scored on a 57-yard pass from Friberg, while Friberg completed 16 passes for 210 yards and two scores.

The winner of the game will advance into the PIAA Tournament and match up with the No. 1 seed from either District 2 or District 4 on the weekend of Friday, Nov. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 18. Looming ahead in the quarterfinals is the No. 1 seed out of the WPIAL.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. in Clarion.

 



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Pat Rothdeutsch covers Penn State football for The Centre County Gazette. Email him at sports@centrecountygazette.com
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