As it stands right now, State College football coach Matt Lintal is unsure who will be under center for game one of the 2016 season.
Senior Tyler Snyder and junior Drew Friberg are locked in a competition to decide the Little Lions’ starting quarterback job, and Lintal doesn’t see much separation.
The third-year State College coach said both quarterbacks “continue to impress” and are “extremely competitive” for the job as the teammates split reps with the first-team offense. Lintal said there’s no timetable to determine a starter and both will play in some capacity.
“Tyler has a very, very quick release, and does a great job making reads,” Lintal said. “Drew can really see the field, take advantage of his 6-foot-6 height, and uses his anticipation skills he’s gained from basketball.”
In 2015, Snyder saw the majority of time leading the huddle. The right-handed gunslinger threw for 1,061 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 51 percent of his passes (74 of 144).
Friberg, meanwhile, completed 65 percent (44 of 68) of his passes in less time. He tallied 536 passing yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.
“Both are great, great kids, and have done a lot to help make us a better football team,” Lintal said. “Obviously they both want the opportunity to be out there, but when they’re not, they’re still supporting one another.
“We’ll see how it plays out.”
Josh Bryan wanted to be on the field when he went to Philipsburg-Osceola football games the past few years.
But he could only watch. Bryan wasn’t on the team.
He’ll be on the field on Friday nights this fall after deciding to join the team during preseason practice last Monday. Bryan and offensive lineman/linebacker Brandon Kephart are among a handful of new faces on the Mounties’ roster of about 30 players. First-year coach Mike Mann has tried to convince kids lifting in the weight room to come out for the team.
“Some have played previously, hadn’t played for a few years, tried to get ‘em back out,” Mann said. “Kids just don’t want to come out. That’s what we’re working on.”
Bryan, a junior, last played in eighth grade, but he stopped playing after dislocating his hip.
“After that, I didn’t want to get hurt again,” said Bryan, who will play slotback and cornerback.
He started thinking about coming out for the team three weeks ago. P-O running back Levi Hughes talked to him and others about joining the team. Bryan finally decided to play and showed up to practice last Monday.
“I wasn’t going to play at first, but then I kind of talked myself into it,” Bryan said. “And I’m very glad I did.”
Bryan said he wanted to help the team, which heads into the season on a 27-game losing streak.
“It’s just a slow process,” Mann said. “You just kind of have to rebuild and try to get kids out.”
New Bald Eagle Area coach Jesse Nagle is employing a spread offense this fall, and helping to make it work are a number of receivers who should be easy to find.
Standing above the crowd are senior Kyle Gill (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) and junior Rilee Bichdel (6-1, 195). Nagle said Bichdel can run the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds.
“He’s a physical freak,” Nagle said. “He’s a 275-pound bench (press).”
Throwing in a couple promising athletes in the slot along with freshman receiver Matthew Reese (5-9, 165) — “Reese is a special athlete,” Nagle said — and there is the potential for big things for the Eagles.
“We definitely have some weapons on the outside,” Nagle said. “But they’re young, they’re inexperienced. They look the part, but we don’t know that they’re going to play the part just yet.”
Five local teams open the season Friday night.
Bald Eagle Area hosts St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in the first meeting between the Wolves and a Centre County program in football. Bellefonte hosts Jersey Shore, Philipsburg-Osceola hosts West Branch and Penns Valley takes on Marian Catholic on the road.
State College opens its season Sept. 2 at J.P. McCaskey in Lancaster.