Penns Valley (1-3) at Huntingdon (1-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: PV — Martin Tobias, 17th season; H — Mike Hudy
Last meeting: Penns Valley 42-21, last season
Key players: PV — Cameron Tobias, QB; Taylor Collison RB/WR; H — Devon Claar, RB
The skinny: After three-straight losses to Clearfield (4-0), Bald Eagle Area (3-1) and Central (3-1), Penns Valley looks to rebound on Friday against Huntingdon (1-3), a team the Rams beat last season.
Last week, the Rams lost a 69-41 shootout with Central in a game that featured 70 combined points in the second quarter alone.
The Bearcats also come in smarting after a high-scoring affair last week to Clearfield 58-30.
“There’s certainly no overlooking Huntingdon,” said Ram head coach Martin Tobias. “They’re probably one of the most improved teams on our schedule.”
Penns Valley has shown glimpses of strong play, but has lacked consistency since its Week 1 win against Juniata. A similar performance this week could yield similar results.
Although his offense moved the ball against Central, Tobias said a key ingredient was missing in every facet.
“We were able to execute the game plan very well,” he said, “but we weren’t consistent on either side of the ball the way we need to be.”
That included special teams, which gave up a punt and kickoff return for a touchdown.
Sloppy tackling last week, coupled with the Central’s 502 yards of total offense, should give Huntingdon’s run-heavy offense confidence.
“We’ve got to do a better job of tackling and covering their receivers,” Tobias said. “They really come off the ball hard and they’re looking to establish the run and complement that with the play-action attack.”
Inside linebackers Liam Benfer and Wyatt Sharp will be keys to disrupting Huntingdon’s inside rushing game.
Senior running backs Devon Claar and Mitchell Lauer lead the ground attack. Claar is averaging more than 10 yards per carry and Lauer leads the team with six scores.
The team’s point output, however, has been lacking at times. The Bearcats have scored just 56 points combined in their three losses. Their one win was a 47-0 blowout over winless Bellefonte.
If Ram quarterback Cameron Tobias can build on his 300-yard passing performance last week, Penns Valley could force Huntingdon into another shootout.
“Two teams that are going to slug it out with each other,” Tobias said. “I think we’re both in the same boat and whoever comes out (with the win) will have a leg up in the conference standings.”