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State College to Close Out Regular Season in Beaver Stadium

by and on October 25, 2019 10:40 AM

There may be only two football games on the local schedule this week, but in their own way, both are the biggest games of the season for the teams involved.

In Wingate, Bald Eagle Area and Bellefonte will renew their rivalry on Friday in the latest battle for the Curtin Bowl. Only this year, both squads are tied for first place in the Mountain League and the winner will take a share of the 2019 league championship.

The State College Little Lions are also challenging for a conference championship — although they need a little help — but that is only part of the story.

In September it was announced their Week 10 game against Cumberland Valley will be played at Beaver Stadium — just the second time a high school game will be played on the home field of the Nittany Lions.

With Memorial Field still not ready for play and Penn State exploring a possible bid to host the state championship games, it seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up for both parties.

The game will be played on Saturday, Oct. 26 at noon (Penn State is away at Michigan State), and it will also be Senior Day for the Little Lions. Not a bad way to go out.

Cumberland Valley (5-4, 3-3) at State College (8-1, 5-1)
Oct. 26, Noon, Beaver Stadium

Even though many of the State College players will be fulfilling a dream when they run out onto the field at Beaver Stadium at noon on Saturday, they nonetheless will not be forgetting that they still have a football game to play. And an important one.

After last week’s 48-0 blowout of Altoona, the Little Lions’ record is now 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the Mid Penn Commonwealth heading into this week's game against Cumberland Valley. The team is one game behind Central Dauphin, and a win coupled with a loss by the Rams would lift State College to another conference title.

CD will take on Central Dauphin East, a team with a 3-6 record, but the Rams are definitely not guaranteed a win. This is a big-time rivalry game, and anything can happen — even though on paper CD has a decided advantage.

So State College will have to take care of its business against 5-4 Cumberland Valley.

The Eagles have some impressive wins this season — Bishop McDevitt, Central York, CD East — but a four-game swoon in mid-season put a damper on the team’s title hopes.

CV has a run-heavy offense. The Eagles throw for just 50 yards per game and have attempted just 66 passes.

On the ground, however, things turn around. They have 1,310 yards and 14 touchdowns, led by Dontey Rogan. The senior has run for 470 yards and seven touchdowns and he leads a rushing game that has five different players with running numbers in triple figures.

Defensively, the Eagles are aggressive with eight sacks and 16 takeaways (eight interceptions, eight fumble recoveries) and they give up just under 20 points per game.

State College was able to get back on track against Altoona on Friday with five total touchdowns by Dresyn Green and Isaiah Edwards. Three of the scores were by Green, one of which was a 48-yard pick-6. State College led 34-0 at halftime and coasted out from there.

Now, for the Lions, it will be a matter of keeping focus against the Eagles and taking in the sights at Beaver Stadium.

State High Prepares for Beaver Stadium Classic

State High will take on Cumberland Valley on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. However, the game isn't the only story, as some of the Little Lions have some family history on that field. Centre County Report's Dylan Huberman has more.

Bellefonte (7-2, 6-1) at BEA (7-2, 6-1)
Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Wingate

Last season’s Curtin Bowl was as close as a football game can get. Bellefonte pulled out a 10-9 win in the last seconds on a field goal by kicker Chris Persiko.

Now, as both teams prepare for one of the most anticipated Curtin Bowl in years, there is no reason to think the 2019 game will be any different.

The Raiders and Eagles are both 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the Mountain League. With both tied for first place, this game with determine one of the league’s co-champions (with Penns Valley) and, of course, establish the local bragging rights for another year.

A look down the schedule of each team reveals some surprising similarities. Both teams lost only to Jersey Shore and Penns Valley, and both beat perennial league power Clearfield.

The games against other teams were mostly blowouts.

Although the Raiders and Eagles run balanced offenses, there is a definite trend for Bellefonte to rely more on CJ Funk and the power running game and for BEA to spread it out with Jaden Jones and the passing game.

Funk and Jones are among the best players in the area, and seeing them match up against each other will be one of the highlights of the season.

That said, don’t forget about the defenses. Both teams have units that have stepped up when they were really needed. Bald Eagle, for example, shut out Clearfield in the second half of that win, and Bellefonte held high-scoring Penns Valley to just 14 points in a very close loss.

In all, everything is in place here for a memorable evening of football. 

Persiko, by the way, is still kicking for Bellefonte, and the Raiders are probably hoping that he gets another chance this year.

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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