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Previewing Week 4 of Centre County High School Football

by and on September 14, 2018 5:00 AM

The clash between the area’s two most prolific offenses Sept. 7 at Bald Eagle Area did not disappoint.

BEA and Penns Valley combined for 77 points and more than 700 total yards as both the Eagles and Rams displayed their ability to move the ball and put up points.

In the end, however, Bald Eagle quarterback Jaden Jones threw for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns as the lightning-fast Eagles (3-0) pulled away for a 49-28 victory.

The Bellefonte Red Raiders, meanwhile, do not seem to mind playing away every week — at least not yet. Bellefonte is 3-0 after taking care of Philipsburg-Osceola, 55-7, on Sept. 7 at Lock Haven University.

State College is also 3-0 after quarterback Tommy Friberg had a career night in a 49-22 victory at Hollidaysburg on Sept. 7.

In Week 4, all five Centre County teams will be back in action and here’s a brief look at each game:

CARLISLE (3-0) AT STATE COLLEGE (3-0)
SEPT. 14, STATE COLLEGE

State College will begin Mid Penn Conference play Friday at home against the Thundering Herd of Carlisle.

Carlisle will be playing its first Mid Penn game, too, and the Herd also is 3-0 with wins over Mechanicsburg (46-7), Northeastern (10-6) and South Western (35-7).

In the South Western game, played Sept. 7 at Carlisle, Carlisle built a 28-0 second-quarter lead and coasted out from there. Despite the number of points the Herd put up, it was their defense that took most of the credit. Carlisle scored a defensive touchdown in the second quarter of the game, held South Western to negative rushing yards and just 113 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Cole Wolaver ran for a touchdown and threw for one while running back Trystin Sulich carried 13 times for 86 yards and another touchdown.

In Hollidaysburg, State College quarterback Tommy Friberg put on a show in SC’s 49-22 win. Friberg completed 11-of-15 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, both to Keaton Ellis. He also ran nine times for 74 yards and two touchdowns that totaled 240 yards and four TDs of offense for the night. Combine that with a defense that allowed just seven first-half points and forced five turnovers, and it turned out to be a solid night for SC on both sides of the lines.

Last season, the Little Lions had few problems with Carlisle in a 70-14 win, but at 3-0 Carlisle looks much better and will certainly be out to improve on that performance.

Game time is 7 p.m.

BELLEFONTE (3-0) AT CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (0-3)
SEPT. 14, MILL HALL

Here is a game between two teams on vastly different trajectories.

Central Mountain is 0-3 and really hasn’t been in contention in any game. The Wildcats lost to Williamsport, 62-26, Lewisburg, 55-7, and Shamokin Area, 35-6.

Central Mountain does have some offensive potential. The Wildcats average nearly 300 yards per game, and quarterback Zane Probst throws for an average of over 200 yards. Junior Rocco Stark is the leading rusher at just more than 55 yards per night.

But teams are scoring at will against them for an average of more than 50 points, and both Williamsport and Lewisburg scored over 40 points in the first half alone.

Bellefonte, on the other hand, is 3-0 and has impressive wins over Jersey Shore, Huntingdon and Philipsburg-Osceola. Against Philipsburg on Sept. 7, the Raiders built a 35-7 halftime lead and coasted out from there for a 55-7 win over the 0-3 Mounties.

Bellefonte scored the first five times it had the ball against P-O and took a 35-0 lead before Mountie quarterback Ryan Whitehead threw a 19-yard touchdown pass just before halftime to make it 35-7.

The Raiders added another 20 unanswered points in the second half to complete their third win.

The Central Mountain game will be a non-league contest for Bellefonte, but there is no reason to believe the Raiders will have a letdown against a traditional rival like the Wildcats.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

BISHOP CARROLL (1-3) AT BALD EAGLE AREA (3-0)
SEPT. 14, WINGATE

To say that the BEA Bald Eagles are on a roll is an understatement.

They’ve scored 50, 49 and 49 points in wins over Troy, Philipsburg-Osceola and Penns Valley, and are averaging well over 450 yards of offense per game.

Yes, the Eagles started in almost the same fashion last season, but this is a much more seasoned and confident group of players who are performing at high levels.

Quarterback Jaden Jones had another stellar night in the 49-28 win over Penns Valley on September 7. Jones completed 17 of 20 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns. Gage McClenahan caught two of the touchdown passes, and he also ran 11 times for 62 yards and another score. Kaden Bittinger and Tommy Snyder caught the other touchdown passes, and Blake Roberts (63 yards) ran for the final BEA score.

In all, BEA amassed 450 yards of offense and seven touchdowns for the night.

Bishop Carroll, out of Ebensburg, is 1-2 so far this season with an overtime win over East Hardy on Aug. 24 and then losses to East Canton and Tyrone.

The Huskies do not like to throw the ball. In fact, they completed just two passes out of seven in their first two games for a total of 8 yards. Against Tyrone in a 44-7 loss on Sept. 7, they had to open in up a bit after falling far behind, but they still only completed 4 of 9 for 50 yards.

On the ground, Bishop Carroll was gaining 292 yards each game, but Tyrone clamped down and gave up just 114 yards and no touchdowns. BC’s only touchdown against the Eagles came on a blocked punt return in the second quarter.

The Huskies’ quarterback, Jake Zazvrskev, is also the team’s leading rusher, with 232 yards on 52 carries. Through the air, Zazvrskev is 6 for 15 for 58 yards.

The key here would seem to be for Bald Eagle to get control of the Carroll running game. If the Huskies are forced to go to the pass, the Eagles would have a huge advantage.

Otherwise, Jones, McClenahan and Roberts just need to keep doing what they’re doing.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

PENNS VALLEY (1-2) AT CENTRAL (1-2)
SEPT. 14, MARTINSBURG

Yes, it’s a little odd to see Central standing a 1-2, but that doesn’t mean that the Dragons are not still a very dangerous team.

And they could be even more dangerous coming off a two-game losing streak in which both losses were to Mountain League foes.

On Aug. 31, after an opening-day win over Northern Bedford, Central took its first loss against 3-0 and very much improved Tyrone at home by a score of 33-14.

Then, on Sept. 7, the Dragons gave up two touchdowns in the final four seconds of the second quarter and eventually fell to Clearfield, 42-14. The two touchdowns, a 7-yard run by Brett Zattoni and a 37-yard pass from Isaac Rumery to Taye Lynch, broke open a close game and opened the door for Clearfield.

The Bison went on to lead by a score of 42-7 before the end of the third quarter, and they coasted out from there.

Clearfield’s defense also played a big role in the win. Central, usually tough to stop on the ground, managed only 119 yards rushing and a total of 204 for the game. Beside a 1-yard run by quarterback Noah Muthler in the second quarter, Central was kept off the board until the final minutes of the game.

After three games, Muthler leads the team in both passing and rushing. He’s completed 33 of 70 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns run for 167 yards and four more scores. Zach Imler is the second leading rusher with 114 yards, and senior Thad Albright is the leading receiver.

For Penns Valley, quarterback Andrew Tobias, running back Ryan Ripka and receivers Logan Snyder and Cole Breon are leading a potent offense that has had little trouble putting up points.

But the Rams will need to take a page out of Clearfield’s book and get some stops against the Dragons and build a lead. There is no need to tell the Rams that this is a pivotal game in their Mountain League schedule.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

TYRONE (3-0) AT PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (0-3)
SEPT. 14, PHILIPSBURG

This is another matchup of teams in very different places.

Philipsburg-Osceola is trying to put things together under a new head coach in the midst of a brutal schedule. Having undefeated BEA, Bellefonte and now Tyrone on consecutive weeks is not an easy way to build any kind of continuity or confidence. Yet after big losses to the Eagles and Raiders, a very good Tyrone teams looms next for the Mountaineers.

Tyrone is 3-0 for the first time since 2014, and the Eagles are a senior-heavy team looking to challenge again for the Mountain League title. And after wins over Bellwood-Antis (16-7), Central (33-14) and Bishop Carroll (44-7), they are certainly off to a good start in that direction.

Tyrone can score points in bunches — something that has been a problem for P-O — and the Eagles play very good defense. After Bishop Carroll tied the game on Sept. 7 on a blocked punt at 7-7, Tyrone ran off 37 unanswered points. Carroll was held without an offensive touchdown in the game and had just 164 yards of offense.

For P-O to hang in this game, the narrative is the same as it has been through the first three weeks: Don’t turn it over and avoid the big play.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

 



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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