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Previewing This Week in Centre County High School Football

by and on October 09, 2020 5:00 AM

October 2 wasn’t a particularly good night for local high school football teams, but for the first time this year, all five teams were in action.

Highlighting the schedule was the neighborly clash of Penns Valley and Bellefonte, which the Rams took 28-14.

Bellefonte was 0-2 going into the Penns Valley game on Friday night and looking to take advantage of the Rams’ two-weeks of inactivity.

But Rams quarterback Aiden Brinker and wide receiver Steven Ripka played like they were anything but rusty. Ripka scored three touchdowns on passes from Brinker — 45 yards, 19 yards and 32 yards — as Penns Valley built a 28-0 lead and held on for a 28-14 win.

The Raiders scored twice in the fourth quarter to set the final score, but the night belonged to Brinker, Ripka and what turned out to be a very good Rams defense.

In all, Brinker ran for 99 yards and also completed 10-of-15 passes for 148 yards and the touchdowns to Ripka. Ripka totaled four catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns.

For Bellefonte, the numbers again made it look worse than it actually was. The Raiders gained over 290 yards and ran for 175, but they were hurt badly by the big plays of the Rams. This week looks to be equally as challenging as four of the five teams try to bounce back from conference losses.

Here’s a brief look at each game:

BELLEFONTE (0-3) AT HUNTINGDON (0-4)
OCT. 9, HUNTINGDON

This week, Bellefonte will be at 0-3 Huntingdon and very much looking for win No. 1.

Huntingdon has not had very much success so far. The Bearcats lost to P-O, BEA, Tyrone and Central all by big scores. They average just over 150 yards per game of offense, split evenly between the pass and run.

Senior quarterback Daren Harman has been the most consistent performer, completing 32-of-68 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns.

But the Huntingdon defense has given up an average of over 45 points per game, and Harman and his offense has not been able to keep up.

Look for Bellefonte to put things together in this one. .

TYRONE (3-0) AT PENNS VALLEY (1-1)
OCT. 9, SPRING MILLS

No need to hype game this game too much. The Rams and Golden Eagles will both be trying for a season-defining win here, and both are certainly capable of it.

PV was a question mark going into Bellefonte, but the Rams proved that they are on the way back after a Game 1 loss to Clearfield.

And Tyrone has not lost, beating Bellefonte (21-13), Huntingdon (51-14), and BEA (15-12). If the Bellefonte and BEA games look like close ones, they were, and Tyrone showed heart and poise in both wins.

The Eagles will probably need both of those qualities against the Rams, who will be looking to get back into the thick of the Mountain League race with a win here.

Anything can happen in this one, and it will likely come down to the final minutes.

CUMBERLAND VALLEY (1-1) AT STATE COLLEGE (0-1)
OCT. 9 STATE COLLEGE

With State College taking the field for the first time this season, it certainly didn’t help that Central Dauphin’s Timmy Smith returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.

From there, as the Little Lions struggled through their first-night jitters, it got worse before SC started to put things together.

Nevertheless, the Rams had built a 28-0 lead and rode that out for a 35-13 win and an early 2-0 record.

CD ran for over 300 yards in the game, with Smith getting 157 of those and a touchdown.

For State College, playing without star running back Dresyn Green, quarterback Conrad Moore led the running attack with 125 yards and an 89-yard touchdown. He also completed eight passes for 75 yards.

This week, SC will host 1-1 Cumberland Valley on Oct. 9.

CV lost its first game to Altoona, 28-14, on Oct. 25 and then bounced back with a 7-6 win over rival Central Dauphin East on Oct. 2.

Against Altoona, CV managed just four first downs and 112 yards of total offense. The score was 14-7 at the half, but Altoona struck for two more scores to put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 28-7 lead.

For State College, at home, this could be an opportunity to get into the win column after the CD loss. The Lions showed signs in the second half against the Rams that they can move the ball, so the SC defense against the struggling Cumberland Valley offense will be the matchup to watch.

BALD EAGLE AREA (1-2) AT PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (1-2)
OCT. 9, PHILIPSBURG

Bald Eagle Area will bring its spread offense into Philipsburg and match up against the tough running game of the Mounties. Whichever can assert its will on the other probably comes out the winner in this very interesting matchup of two local rivals.

So far, BEA has averaged over 22 points per game in its three outings, but the Eagles have also lost two of those games to very good teams: Central and Tyrone. BEA fell to Central in Week 1, 33-9, came back against Huntingdon, 46-8, and then lost to Tyrone late, 15-12 on Oct. 2.

Against Tyrone, the Eagles were ahead 12-9 late in the fourth quarter when Tyrone drove 95 yards on just four plays to take the lead, 15-12. With just over 1:20 to play, Tyrone quarterback Brandon Lucas found wide-open running back Tommy Hicks for a 20-yard touchdown and the win.

The touchdown ruined what could have been a big-time win for BEA, but in the end, the Eagles paid for making too many mistakes in the game. In the first half alone, BEA had five turnovers — four on interceptions — which stymied any offensive threats the team mounted.

Still, BEA gained almost 300 yards and ran for over 200. Quarterback Garrett Burns ran 23 times for 129 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Owen Irvin. Without the mistakes, this might have had a totally different outcome for the Eagles.

P-O is also 1-2, but those losses came against probably the best two teams in the Mountain League — Central and Clearfield.

The Mounties are on the way back from a disastrous 2019 season, mostly behind the steady quarterbacking of Ryan Whitehead and the running of Kaleb Stamm and Hunter Weitoish.

Stamm and Weitoish have combined to run for just under 500 yards in their three games this season, and Whitehead has added 132 yards passing and two touchdowns.

The trio has given new head coach Jeff Vroman a solid foundation as P-O moves forward this season.

In recent years, this game has been all BEA, but P-O will present big problems for the Eagles, especially if BEA keeps making mistakes and turnovers.

The fate of both teams probably rests with their defenses and which one can control the other team’s offensive strengths.



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 [email protected]
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