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Russell Leads State College Past CD East

by on September 28, 2018 11:00 PM

Keaton Ellis took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and the State College Little Lions went on to beat Central Dauphin East, 39-15, Friday night at Memorial Field.

State College improved to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in Mid-Penn play with James Franklin and ESPN’s Chris Fowler in attendance. Ellis caught a lateral from Cohen Russell to begin the game and the Penn State commit was off to the races for a 97-yard score down the right sideline.

"My confidence has been up," Ellis said. "During the offseason I worked really hard. Getting my speed up, getting my weight up. I just worked a lot for this, and now my teammates are putting me in position to make those plays. Without their help I wouldn't be able to do any of this."

During a visit to State High earlier in the day on Friday, Franklin informed Coach Matt Lintal that he was offering Russell a preferred walk-on spot with the Nittany Lions. Russell would score three touchdowns against the Panthers.

Backed up to its own doorstep, CD East gave up a safety when its punter stepped on the back line of the end zone. State College quarterback Tommy Friberg threw an interception on his first pass of the night, but the Panthers couldn’t get much going after starting on their own 2-yard line.

Friberg’s second interception looked like a pick-six for the Panthers, but it was negated by a block in the back away from the play. A few series later, Russell delivered a breathtaking 45-yard touchdown run, using patience and breakaway speed to sneak inside the right pylon.

CD East cut State High’s lead to 16-7 following Bryce Baker’s 80-yard rushing touchdown. Not long after, Russell blocked a kick and returned it 60 yards for a score with 3:07 left before the half to give the Little Lions some breathing room.

Russell found the end zone again -- this time from 73 yards out -- after hauling in a short Friberg pass, but State College’s two-point attempt failed. State High took a 32-7 lead midway through the third quarter on Cam Renfrew’s short field goal, then the defense held strong to prevent a CD East touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Backup running back Dresyn Green joined the party when he burst through the middle for a 35-yard touchdown to make it 39-7 State College early in the fourth quarter. The Panthers finally scored their second touchdown of the night with 4:24 remaining as Shawn Brown punched it in from the 5-yard line. Ashton Morrison converted the two-point attempt to cap the scoring.

The undefeated Little Lions travel to Harrisburg High School next Saturday for a 1 p.m. conference clash with the Cougars (5-1).

Centre County High School Football Scoreboard

Bald Eagle Area (6-0) 35, Tyrone (4-2) 0

Clearfield (6-0) 49, Bellefonte (5-1) 21

Midd-West (3-2) 30, Penns Valley (3-3) 29, OT

Central (2-4) 42, Philipsburg-Osceola (0-6) 21

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that James Franklin visited Cohen Russell at State High on Friday. Franklin met with Coach Matt Lintal, whom he informed Russell had a preferred walk-on offer. The story has been corrected.

Ethan Kasales is a Lemont native and staff writer for Onward State.
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