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Little Lions Gearing Up for Dubois and Star QB Following Bye Week

by on November 12, 2014 6:00 AM

Last week was a strange time for Matt Lintal and the State College High football team.

After playing games for 10 consecutive weeks, the Little Lions finally had a bye week as they began preparations for their district playoff game against DuBois this Friday.

For a team that had become accustomed to constantly playing, having time off was unchartered territory. 

“It feels weird to be honest,” Lintal says. “It’s definitely different. It’s a little more different for our kids since they’re used to playing." 

Still, Lintal won’t lie. The bye week was extremely beneficial for a squad that hadn't had any time off since the end of August.

“It’s been good to back off a little bit and let our kids get their legs back,” Lintal says. “We’ve been able to take a step back and look at some things and tweak them a bit.”

And make no mistake, the Little Lions will need all the preparation they can get before they take on DuBois next Friday. 

Not only do the Beavers enter the game with an 8-2 record, they feature easily the most dangerous quarterback the Little Lions will face this season in senior Division I prospect Gabe French.

At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, French is bigger than State College’s linebackers and has the skills to match his size. In 10 games this season, he has thrown for a staggering 3,362 yards, 40 touchdowns and eight interceptions while also leading the team in rushing with 580 yards and eight touchdowns.

“Obviously their quarterback does a tremendous job with their receivers,” Lintal says. “That French kid has played a lot of football. They have an effective offense and they’ve found ways to move the ball whether teams are trying to stop the pass or in the box trying to stop the run.”

How will the Little Lions go about stopping him? While Lintal has no specific answer, his team’s defense may have as good a chance as any to slow French down. 

Although the 4-6 Little Lions have been inconsistent throughout the season, their defense has generally been very strong. In the past seven games, State College has held opponents to 12 points or less six times.

In order to pull off this upset, Lintal and company will need a big performance from the offense, which also means a big performance from running back Jordan Misher. 

Despite missing a game with an ankle injury two weeks, ago, the junior tailback rushed for 1,086 yards and 11 touchdowns this season and looked healthy in the team’s 47-12 victory over Mifflin County on Oct. 31.

“I think with Jordan, our offense matches up with most teams,” Lintal said. “Our line has done a great job and he just finds ways to make plays.”

With the extra week of practice, Lintal was  able to give his players some rest last week while also spending more time educating them on the Beavers. 

In addition to their usual Monday film study, the State College staff also used Thursday for film while holding practices on Wednesday and Friday and giving the team off on Tuesday.

With the majority of their video analysis now over, the Little Lions will be able to focus solely on practice this week, giving them more hours to work on a game plan.

“You always throw a wrinkle in [the playbook], it just depends if you call it on Friday," Lintal says. “Our kids believe in what we do and we are what we are at this point.” 

Though it might seem improbable that State College is even in the playoffs given its losing record, last week’s convincing victory at least gives the team confidence entering the tournament. 

“That win was huge, especially the way we won,” Lintal says. “The dominant performance sets the tone. We went through a slump but our kids kept believing in what we’re doing and here we are.” 

State College will play DuBois at Holidaysburg, Friday at 7 p.m. According to the school district's website tickets for the game will be on sale Thursday Nov. 13 and 14 at the North Main Office.


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Matt Allibone is a intern. He's a Penn State senior, studying print journalism. Matt is a native of Delran, N.J.
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