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State College Faces Altoona for District Title; BEA Opens Playoffs

by and on October 23, 2020 5:00 AM

It’s just Week 4 for the State High varsity football team, but a championship game is already looming. On Friday night, the 2-1 Little Lions will travel to Mansion Park in Altoona to take on the 2-2 Mountain Lions in the title game for District 6, Class6A supremacy.

The Eagles of Bald Eagle Area will also enter playoff play this week as they travel to Bellwood as the District 6, 2A eighth seed to face the top seeded Blue Devils of Bellwood-Antis. BEA enters the Oct. 23 game with a 2-2 record and the Blue Devils hold a perfect 5-0 mark.

In Philipsburg, the Red Raiders will face off against their Mountain League foe, and Penns Valley will look to get back on track against a winless Huntingdon squad.

Here’s a brief look at each game:


It didn’t take long for State College to get on the board against Carlisle on Monday night. Sammy Knipe took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead for the Little Lions.

But Carlisle is no slouch, and by halftime it was 21-21 after the Herd’s Sean Smith tied the game with a 3-yard run late in the second quarter.

State College was up to the challenge, however, as quarterback Conrad Moore led the Lions on three scoring drives in the second half that pulled out a 38-29 SC win.

Moore threw two touchdown passes to Jashuan Green of 39 and 11 yards and ran for two more as the Lions’ defense held Carlisle to just one late touchdown in the second half.

Moore threw for 177 yards on 10 completions in the game and ran 18 times for 90 yards and the two touchdowns.

On Friday, State College will face long-time foe Altoona in the District 6, 6A Championship Game at Mansion Field.

Altoona is 2-2 this season with wins over Chambersburg (42-28) and Cumberland Valley (28-14) and losses to Hollidaysburg (26-12) and Central Dauphin (49-20).

Against CD, the Mountain Lions hung in tough until the third quarter after being behind by just one score, 21-13, at the half.

But the Rams scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter and closed the game out from there.

Still, Altoona ran for more than 200 yards against the top team in the Mid-Penn Conference and finished with 295 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Marcus Day threw for 64 yards on the night and ran 12 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Stroup added 55 yards on the ground for Altoona and Alex Yost added 39.

State College has had the best of Altoona in recent years, but this Mountain Lion team seems much improved in 2020. This game could easily go into the fourth quarter and not be settled until the final minutes.

The winner of the game will go on to meet Williamsport in a regional District 6 versus District 4 game on Oct. 30.


Bald Eagle Area fell just short, 17-7, against Bellefonte in the Curtin Bowl on Friday night in Wingate.

The Red Raiders took a 17-0 lead in the third quarter when Jalen Emel — who scored two touchdowns and gained 166 yards in total offense — scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Logan Houser.

The Eagles got on the board in the fourth quarter on a 44-yard pass from Garrett Burns to Owen Irvin, but the Raider defense was able to avert further damage and wrap up the win. It was the seventh straight Curtin Bowl win for Bellefonte.

In all, BEA gained 317 yards of total offense against the Red Raiders, with Burns throwing for 240 of those yards and the touchdown to Irvin.

Irvin caught six passes for 112 yards.

This week, the Eagles will enter the D6, 2A tournament and open play at Bellwood-Antis.

With two wins in five games, BEA qualified as the No. 8 seed and will face off with the No. 1 Blue Devils.

Bellwood is 5-0 this season and has been very impressive in wins over Northern Bedford, Williamsburg, Everett, Glendale and West Branch.

The Blue Devils average just under 400 yards of offense per game, 330 of which come on the ground.

Senior Zach Mallon is the leading rusher with 652 yards on 55 carries and 13 touchdowns. He’s also caught six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Junior Connor Gibbons and senior Nick Plank have combined for 574 yards on the ground and eight additional touchdowns.

Quarterback Zach Pellegrine, a junior, has completed 22 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, and Owen Shedlock is the top receiver with 138 receiving yards and a touchdown.

In all, the Blue Devils average 40 points per game, and give up just six points each outing.

BEA, with Burns and Irvin leading the offense, can put up points, but the question here is how well the Eagles can slow down Bellwood’s offense.

If the Eagles can, this could be a very competitive affair.


At 2-3, Bellefonte is ranked just behind No. 1 Juniata and just ahead of No. 2 Du-Bois in the District 6, 4A rankings.

With the 4A playoff beginning next week on Oct. 30, and just the top two seeds entered, the P-O game this Friday will be an extremely important one for the Red Raiders.

Last week, Bellefonte took its seventh straight Curtin Bowl win over BEA, 17-7, after methodically building a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter and closing out the win from there.

The Red Raiders used a balanced offense — 140 yards passing, 174 on the ground — and two touchdown receptions by Jalen Emel to secure their second win of the season.

The Red Raiders will need that balance and more against the improving Mounties.

P-O is 1-4, but that record is deceiving, especially in light of the Mounties’ performance in a 35-27 loss to Tyrone on Friday night.

The Mounties racked up 330 yards of offense and 16 first downs against the Golden Eagles, but came up short after Tyrone scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. P-O closed to within a score when Kaleb Stamm caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Whitehead, but it was too late and Tyrone ran out the clock.

Still, Tyrone was undefeated coming into the night and was expected to handle the Mounties, which didn’t happen.

Another similar effort by P-O against the Red Raiders would make this game very competitive as well. The question mark will be if P-O can match the physical play of Bellefonte for a full four quarters.


Penns Valley so far has seen the best of the Mountain League in its three losses — Clearfield, Tyrone and Central.

On Oct. 23, the Rams will see another side of the league when they travel to meet 0-6 Huntingdon.

The Bearcats have not had a good time so far this season. Their closest contest this season was a 35-20 loss on opening night to Philipsburg-Osceola. Other than that, all of their games have been 20-plus point losses.

Nevertheless, Huntingdon does move the ball, averaging 190 yards of total offense and 14 points per game. Its defense, however, has been the problem all season, and the Bearcats struggle to hold opponents under 45 points.

For Penns Valley, this could be an opportunity to get back into the winning column. The Rams can move the ball as well — they gain more than 220 yards per outing and score just under 16 points.

Quarter Aiden Brinker has thrown for 380 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Seth Baney has run for 270 yards and a touchdown. Brinker has added another 200 yards running, and he seems to be improving each week as his first year as the starter progresses.

Look for Penns Valley to let off some steam in this game and put up its best number of the season.


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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