Clearfield (1-0) at Penns Valley (0-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: C— Tim Janocko 28th season; PV— Martin Tobias 17th season
Last meeting: Clearfield 55, Penns Valley 14, last season
Key players: C— QB/RB/WR/LB Christian Lezzer;PV— QB Cameron Tobias
The skinny: In Week 1, Penns Valley fell 45-7 to Juniata, facing a squad led by versatile QB/RB/LB Neil Bodley.
In Week 2, the Rams will face Clearfield’s Christian Lezzer, arguably one of the most versatile players in the state. Last week in a 35-20 win over St. Joan of Arc Catholic, Canada, Lezzer played three different positions on offense and another on defense.
On offense, Lezzer completed 5-of-11 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 13 times for 103 yards and a score and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass. On defense, he had a strip sack that he returned the fumble for a touchdown.
Lezzer had 84 yards on five carries, including a 56-yard touchdown run, in the Bisons’ romp against Penns Valley last season.
“Christian Lezzer is a phenomenal talent,” Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said. “On both sides of the ball, he certainly is an impact player. We have to be aware of he is both offensively and defensively because they move him around.”
Tobias’ squad couldn’t overcome a nightmare second quarter against Juniata in the opener.The Rams had five turnovers and were outscored 31-0 in the period.
“Obviously they were a bit down and disappointed,” Tobias said of his team. “You go into the game of the season with high hopes and expectations. In watching the game film, the kids were able to identify that we let it slip away from us by making mistakes that really hurt ourselves.
“We need to do a better job of taking care of the football and we need to minimize the mental mistakes that come about from the penalties we experienced.They realize we weren’t as far away from being in the game as the score indicated and that there were a lot of positives to take from it. We’re building on those positives and working hard on correcting some of the flaws.”
Tobias is looking for marked improvement tonight against the Bisons.
“I expect us to take better care of the football,” he said. “I expect us to play with more composure. I expect us to put our best foot forward and give it all we’ve got against a very tough, good Clearfield football team.”
State College (1-0) at Central Mountain (1-0)
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Coaches: SC— Al Wolski, ninth season; CM— Vinnie Kishbaugh, second season
Last meeting: State College won 31-6 in the 2010 District 6-8-9-10 Class AAAA semifinals
Key player: SC— Evan Galimberti, OT/DT ; CM— Von Walker, RB/LB
The skinny: For the first time since meeting Altoona in 2009, State Colleges plays a regular-season game against a team on Wolski’s scheduling wish list.
That’s right.Wolski isn’t wild about long bus rides before Mid-Penn play, so he’s relishing tonight’s jaunt to Central Mountain.
“This is a good game for us,” he said. “Ideally our non-league games would be Altoona, DuBois, Central Mountain and Williamsport. Those would be really nice games.”
The Little Lions and Wildcats have a recent history, with State College winning district payoff meetings from 2008-10. Central Mountain’s Von Walker is the lone player on either side who had a big role in the 2009 and ‘10 games.
The running back/linebacker impressed Wolski two years ago. He impresses State College’s successful coach even more now.
In fact, Wolski, who refers to opposing players by uniform number, said Walker and Central Dauphin’s Zayd Issah are the only opposing players he knows by name. Issah recently decommitted from Penn State.
Walker, who eclipsed the 1,000- yard mark last season, owns 123 career rushing yards against the Little Lions.
“Walker gave us fits as a freshman and sophomore,” Wolski said. “He’s every bit as good of an athlete as we’ll see.”
Wide receivers Cole Renninger and Tyler Pavalko, quarterback Travis Turchetta and running back Drew Alexander are among the other players who helped the Wildcats score 20 points in the final 1:31 of last week’s 40-21 victory at Williamsport.
State College opened its season with a quality victory, handling District 11 Bethlehem Liberty 26-7 at Memorial Field. The Little Lions outrushed the Hurricanes 247-42 and forced two second-half fumbles.
“We ran to the ball well,” Wolski said. “Defensively a lot of people were around the football. That’s one thing that really stood out. We were able to pursue. Every time we stopped the tape there were a lot of people around the ball. Hopefully that will continue.”
State College’s offense also had a smooth start, with junior quarterback Patrick Irwin completing 8 of 14 passes for 73 yards. Irwin also rushed for 72 yards.
Andrew Kelly, Ebrahim Britton, Ryan Goeke and Mike Rizzuto give State College a deep stable of running backs.
Kicker Ian Fennessey offers another weapon. He converted two field goals, including a 48-yarder, last week.
Bellefonte (0-1) at Huntingdon (0-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: B— Duffy Besch, third season; H— Mike Hudy, first season
Last meeting: Bellefonte 17, Huntingdon 12, last season
Key players: B— QB Phil Fenstermacker; H— RB Rhett Stetchock
The skinny: Last year, Bellefonte went 1-9 with that one win coming 17-12 against a historically strong Huntingdon program that suffered through a 3-7 season.
While his team defeated the Bearcats last season, Bellefonte coach Duffy Besch doesn’t expect that will work in the Red Raiders’ favor this time.
“If I’m in Huntingdon, I’m saying, ‘This team went 1-9 and their only win was against us.’You’re using that to your advantage,” Besch said. “I’ve told the kids, ‘Guys, look they’re going to be coming after you because they don’t feel that they should have lost to you.You’ve got to be prepared for this.’”
Bellefonte got off to a good start against rival Bald Eagle Area last week and led 3-0 early in the second quarter. The Eagles then scored on their next six drives to dump the Raiders 42-17.
“If you take all of those things we were able to do in the first 15 or 16 minutes and carry them over to the rest of the ballgame, there’s a good chance we could come out with a win,” Besch said. “We didn’t do those things.We struggled in some areas. We’ve talked a lot about the idea of we need to finish things — we have to finish plays, finish drives, finish scoring opportunities, take advantage of good field position and we have to finish the football game when all things are said and done.… We need to play for 48 minutes like we played in the beginning of that game.”
Bellefonte will once again start sophomore quarterback Phil Fenstermacker, who saw his first varsity action last week for the injured Jordan Fye. Fenstermacker had a 39-yard completion on his first play and threw for a touchdown, but also had three passes picked off.
Besch says having that game under his belt should help the Fenstermacker this week. “I think that experience carried over,” Besch said. “He’s learned a few things and will able to put those into play this week. I think all-in-all he played a very solid football game. He was prepared to play, accepted the challenge and he did a lot of good things. As a team, we did many good things.”
Huntingdon is coming off a 21-20 loss to Mount Union. The Bearcats trailed by two touchdowns late in the third quarter.They rallied, but missed a potential game-tying extra point midway through the fourth quarter.
“By no means are they a team that is going to quit,” Besch said of Huntingdon. “That’s what we showed the guys and tried to explain to them. This is a ball team that is just as hungry as we are.”
Mike Hudy, who replaces the legendary Jim Zauzig, got a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Josh Foster (4-for-15) last week, but the bulk of the offense came from running back Rhett Stetchock, who gained 135 yards on 27 carries.
Besch said in a lot of ways that Huntingdon is similar to BEA. “They’re going to grind it out and run the football,” he said. “They pass successfully enough to keep you honest, but they’re trying to pound the football.”
With Nunu Buey (10 carries, 82 yards) and Brian White (8 for 21) in the backfield, Besch also wants to grind it out and says the running game is key tonight.
“We’re going to see the true team this week,” Besch said. “Based about what we’ve done the last couple of days, our guys are hungry and they know what they need to do.… If we can finish plays and those drives, we can put ourselves in position to win football games.”
Regional Games of Interest
Tyrone (0-1) at Central (1-0) — Coming off a 22-15 loss to rival Bell-wood- Antis, Golden Eagles travel to Martinsburg to face Scarlet Dragons, who smoked Chestnut Ridge 51-20.
Bishop McDevitt (1-0) at Central Dauphin (1-0) — Last year’s PIAA Class AAAA champion Rams host the Class AAA runner-up Crusaders.
Williamsport (0-1) at Mifflin County (0-1) — Huskies lost opener 34-24 to DuBois, while Millionaires were whipped 40-21 by Central Mountain.
— Compiled by Walt Moody and Guy Cipriano. Follow scoring updates at www.centredaily.com.