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State College opens season with win

by on September 07, 2017 10:49 AM

The State College Little Lions began their 2017 season with a runaway win over J.P. McCaskey on Sept. 1, and Bald Eagle Area made a strong statement in a big win over P-O to go to 2-0. But, it wasn’t a very good week otherwise around the rest of the county in high school football.

The four other teams lost to familiar foes — three to Mountain League opponents, and St. Joseph’s to Fairfield, in what was again injury problems that the team's ill equipped to handle.

This week, there are two head-on clashes — Bellefonte at P-O and BEA at Penns Valley. State College will finish its non-league season, and SJCA will try to mend itself against Perkiomen.

 

Bald Eagle Area (2-0) at Penns Valley (1-1)
Friday, Sept. 8

BEA is 2-0 for the second year in a row and right now outscoring its opponents to a tune of 71-13. On Sept. 1, the Eagles took on 1-0 Philipsburg-Osceola and quickly dispelled any thoughts that this would be a close game.

BEA scored 21 points in the second quarter on the way to a 28-0 halftime lead and ultimately a 48-0 shutout. The Eagles scored in every quarter and ran up just under 400 yards of offense —233 on the ground and 165 passing.

Senior quarterback Jordan Jones threw three touchdown passes, while Gage McClenahan ran 10 times for 74 yards and the game’s first touchdown. Derek Henry, Matthew Reese, Andrew Dubbs and Zach Wible (twice) all scored touchdowns for the Eagles as well.

On defense, BEA forced three turnovers and held P-O to only five first downs and less than 100 yards of offense.
Penns Valley traveled to always-tough Clearfield after its opening-week win over Punxsutawney and set the Bison on their heels with an early, 68-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Sands to wide receiver to Tristan Klinefelter.

The Bison regrouped, however, and showed why they are league contenders year after year. By the time the first quarter ended, Clearfield was ahead by 21-6 and on the way to a 42-12 win.

Quarterback Isaac Rummery completed 13 of 18 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns, and Ty Bender ran 10 times for 125 yards and an 82-yard touchdown. In all, Clearfield amassed almost 600 yards of offense as the Bison moved to 2-0 for the season.

This week, PV will have to shore up its defense against an Eagle team that has shown it can put up numbers. The Ram offense was not ineffective — 260 yards at Clearfield — so everything will come down to how well PV can control McClanahan, Jones and the rest of the BEA spread attack.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Bellefonte (1-1) at Philipsburg-Osceola (1-1)
Friday, Sept. 8

Bellefonte hosted Huntingdon in its first Mountain League contest of the year Sept. 1, and the Raiders actually outgained the Bearcats in the game by 20 yards.

Yet, Huntingdon came away with a 52-31 win after striking for three non-offensive touchdowns — an 80-yard kickoff return, a 40-yard punt return and a 55-yard interception return.

All three came at important junctures in the game, but Jonathan Price’s third-quarter punt return gave Huntingdon a 37-24 lead that Bellefonte could not make up.

Still, Bellefonte fought on and had a last-chance drive to get back into things, but Ian Border put the game away with his interception return at 5:44 to play in the fourth quarter.

Philipsburg’s new fast-paced offense took a step back at BEA when the Mounties were held to just 100 yards of offense in a 48-0 loss. P-O fell into some old habits with three turnovers — an interception and two fumbles — and the BEA defense seemed to be a step ahead at every turn.

This week, running into a Bellefonte squad looking to atone for the loss to Huntingdon will not be an easy task. First things first — the Mounties will have to protect the ball and avoid big Raider plays. If this game is close into the second half, anything can happen.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Perkiomen (0-0) at SJCA (0-2)
Friday, Sept. 8

Perkiomen has not played yet this season and will open against St. Joseph’s on Sept. 8. Perkiomen is a single-A school located in Pennsburg and plays an independent schedule mostly made up of regional private schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Last season, Perkiomen was 6-3, including a 44-13 win over SJCA in Pennsburg. The Panthers also had impressive wins over The George School (42-14), Nativity BVM (38-0), Eastern Shore (54-22) and Academy of the New Church (28-13).

Perkiomen had a potent offense in 2016, scoring more than 30 points five times in nine games. However, the Panthers graduated 11 seniors from that team, including their top running back, receivers and linebacker.

Quarterback Nicholas Guadarrama, at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, does return for the new season, as does 6-4, 230-pound defensive end/tackle Adenekan Adebayo and 6-0, 225-pound defensive end Gavin Chandler.

In Boalsburg, St. Joseph’s is dealing with injuries to its two top quarterbacks, one lost in the first week and the second one in the first half of the Wolves’ loss to Fairfield. Freshman Isaac Mass took over for SJCA in the Fairfield game.

It’s not known who will take over this week under center, but whoever does will have to deal with the size of the Perkiomen team and the carryover from what was a very good offensive team.

Kickoff is at 4 p.m.

Hollidaysburg (2-0) at State College (1-0)
Friday, Sept. 8

State College glided into the 2017 season with a rousing 45-12 rout of J.P. McCaskey on Sept. 1 at Memorial Field.

The Little Lions essentially wrapped things up with 24 points in the second quarter that put them ahead 45-6 going into the locker rooms.
Tristen Lyons and Brady Dorner combined for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the game, while senior quarterback Drew Friberg completed seven of eight passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

It was a solid opener for SC, as it had only one turnover and one punt, and piled up 310 yards of offense. The Little Lions did not score in the second half.

This week, 2-0 Hollidaysburg will come into Memorial Field and the Golden Tigers are a team coming off two very big wins.
In Week 1, Hollidaysburg ran out to an early 23-0 lead over Central-Martinsburg and held on for a 30-20 win over the Dragons. Anyone who knows District 6 football knows how tough Central has been in recent years, so a win over the Dragons by any school is noteworthy.
In Week 2, Hollidaysburg took out Silver Oak Academy, 31-6, in Keymar, Md. The Tigers led 17-6 at halftime and put two big fourth-quarter touchdowns on the board to wrap up the win.

Senior Patrick Young and junior quarterback Brady Walters ran for two touchdowns each in the win and combined for 163 yards to lead the Tiger running game.

While Walters threw for just 53 yards against Silver Oak, he connected for 215 yards and two touchdowns against Central, a strong indication that Hollidaysburg has an adaptable offense that will take what it can get.

Still, this game will be a step up against a Mid-Penn power for Hollidaysburg, and the Tigers will have to guard against a fast start — and big plays — by the Little Lions.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

 



Pat Rothdeutsch covers Penn State football for The Centre County Gazette. Email him at sports@centrecountygazette.com
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