What could possibly be the last run for State College High quarterback Pat Irwin at Memorial Field is one that will stick with him for a long time.
Irwin kept the football, avoided a few tacklers and busted up the middle 73 yards early in the fourth quarter on a scamper that was the final touchdown in State College’s 34-0 win against Carlisle on senior night. Irwin finished with three touchdowns and 175 yards on the ground while adding an additional 39 yards through the air in what he called a “great team win.”
“I get goose bumps just thinking about it,” Irwin said of his last score. “But those plays only happen because our line did a great job blocking. Everyone did their jobs, and it was great to take it to the house, but everyone did a great job.”
The Little Lions (4-4 overall, 3-2 Mid Penn) had touchdown drives of 44, 68 and 64 yards on three of their first four possessions, and never looked back against the winless Thundering Herd (0-8, 0-5).
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Senior running back Jordan Misher started the scoring with a 14-yard dash on State College’s first possession. Misher totaled 72 yards on 14 carries, and Irwin ran in the Lions’ other two first-half touchdowns.
State College had a second-half letdown last week against Central Dauphin East, as the team did not score in the final 30 minutes, but it kept sailing against Carlisle after the intermission. Anthony Paffie-Misher found the end zone from four yards out in the third quarter, and Irwin’s long run made it a five-score game.
All of the Lions’ seniors were honored in a ceremony before the contest. There is a chance State College could play at home again this season if it hosts a playoff game, but with such a large advantage, head coach Al Wolski was able to make sure all of the seniors who dressed for the game played some snaps.
“We got it to the point where I was able to get everybody in there, all 36 of our seniors played tonight, and it was great,” Wolski said. “Those guys work so hard each day in practice, so I was very pleased to be able to get them on the field tonight.”
Not only did State College have a better second half than a week earlier, but the team’s defense also managed to bottle up the run.
Carlisle’s rushing attack was nearly non-existent, as State College limited its opposition to 74 yards on 34 carries — an average of 2.2 yards per rush. Against CD East, the Lions struggled to stop tailback Chase Edmonds, who eclipsed the 200-yard mark and scored four touchdowns. However, Carlisle’s main running back, sophomore Tyler Greene, managed only 22 yards on 11 carries.
“I thought our guys handled (the run) very well,” Wolski said. “Last week, we faced such a good, quick back. (Carlisle) had some good backs, but there aren’t too many like the kid from CD East.”
State College had so much success on the ground itself (316 yards on 46 touches), it did not need to rely on the passing game, and Irwin threw the ball just four times. Carlisle totaled 124 passing yards, but was not able to string many completions together, and senior Chris Seighman intercepted quarterback Billy Burger in the first half.
The win pulls State College back to the .500 mark, and the team has neither won nor lost two straight games at any point this season. The Lions will try to break that trend next week when they head to Lewistown to face Mifflin County with playoff implications on the line.
“It’s the second time we’re meeting them in what I think is going to become a really good rivalry,” Wolski said.