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HS football preview: Can 3 Centre County teams remain unbeaten?

Bellefonte’s Trae Bauman makes a catch over Philipsburg-Osceola defenders at Lock Haven University.
Bellefonte’s Trae Bauman makes a catch over Philipsburg-Osceola defenders at Lock Haven University. adrey@centredaily.com

Centre County football continues this week with all five teams in action against teams from outside of the area. Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, and State College all look to stay undefeated, while Philipsburg-Osceola tries to get its first victory of the season. Penns Valley hopes to snap a two-game losing streak as it heads to Martinsburg to take on Central. Here’s a look at all five matchups.

Bellefonte (3-0) at Central Mountain (0-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Bel. – Shanon Manning (sixth season); CM – James Renninger

Last meeting: Bellefonte 34-31 (3OT), last season

Players to watch: Bel. – Kyle Myers, Sr., QB; CM – Collin Jones, Sr., WR

The skinny: Bellefonte heads to Mill Hall this week looking to stay undefeated on the season. The Red Raiders’ record is more impressive than most, considering they haven’t had a true home game all season while Rogers Stadium undergoes construction.

Central Mountain comes into the game shooting for its first victory of the season after losing to Shamokin Area 35-6 last week. The Wildcats are also looking to avenge their triple overtime loss to the Red Raiders last season.

Red Raider quarterback Kyle Myers will have an opportunity for a breakout game against the Wildcats. Myers has thrown for 307 yards and four touchdowns on the season, while adding 47 carries for 193 yards. If the Wildcats key in on junior running back C.J. Funk, it will open the door for Myers to have a big day on the ground and to work the field on play action.

The Wildcats will have to get senior wide receiver Collin Jones going if they want to crack Bellefonte’s stingy defense. Jones is Central Mountain’s leading receiver with 14 receptions for 277 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats will be reliant on Jones to crack the Red Raider defense with big plays.

Bishop Carroll (1-2) at Bald Eagle Area (3-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: BC – Sean Billings; BEA – Jesse Nagle (third season)

Players to watch: BC – Jake Zazvrskey, Jr., QB; BEA – Jaden Jones, Jr., QB

The skinny: Bishop Carroll heads to Bald Eagle on a two-game losing streak after a 44-7 loss to Tyrone. The Huskies only victory this season came over East Hardy, West Virginia, which they beat 19-13 in overtime.

Bald Eagle comes into the game scorching hot on both sides of the ball. Last week, they defeated Penns Valley, 49-28 with just 14 of the points they gave up coming against their first team defense.

The Huskies are led by junior quarterback Jake Zazvrskey on offense. While Zazvrskey has only thrown for 58 yards on the season, he leads Bishop Carroll with 222 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The junior quarterback will have to keep up his rushing pace and make the occasional throw if the Huskies want to keep pace with Bald Eagle’s high-flying offense.

The Eagles’ offense is averaging 48.3 points per game this season and is paced by a passing attack that has dominated so far. They’re led by junior Jaden Jones, who has been lighting up opponents through three weeks; he has 1,031 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns and has added three rushing touchdowns. He should be in for another big performance this week.

Carlisle (3-0) at State College (3-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Car. – Brett Ickes; SC – Matt Lintal (fifth season)

Last meeting: State College 70-14, last season

Players to watch: Car. – Trystin Sulich, Jr., RB; SC – Keaton Ellis, Sr., WR

The skinny: Carlisle enters the game undefeated on the back of a stingy defense; the Thundering Herd have allowed 6.7 points per game this season. State College is also looking to stay undefeated after a 49-22 victory over Hollidaysburg on the road. The Little Lions will be playing at home for the first time since week one.

The Thundering Herd are led by junior running back Trystin Sulich, who is averaging 6.3 yards per rush with 279 total rushing yards. His five rushing touchdowns also lead the team. Sulich is coming off a 13-carry, 86-yard performance against South Western in Carlisle’s 35-7 victory.

State College is likely to utilize the big-play ability of Penn State commit Keaton Ellis to get going early in the game. Ellis has made big plays in the running and passing game this season for the Little Lions, scoring three total touchdowns. He is averaging 40.3 yards per rush on only three attempts, while tallying 103 receiving yards on six receptions.

Penns Valley (1-2) at Central (1-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: PV – Martin Tobias (23rd season); C – David Baker

Last meeting: Central 51-8, last season

Players to watch: PV – Aaron Tobias, Jr., QB; C – Noah Muthler, Sr., QB

The skinny: Penns Valley takes on Central looking to break a two-game losing streak. The Rams weren’t able to keep pace with Bald Eagle last week, losing 49-28. Central also comes into the game on a two-game skid. Their last game was a 42-14 defeat at the hands of Clearfield.

Penns Valley’s junior quarterback Aaron Tobias leads the Rams’ passing attack this season. Tobias has 827 passing yards and 10 touchdowns this season, including a 431-yard passing performance against Clearfield.

He’s looking to break 300 yards for the second time this season; last week, he was an efficient 24-of-32 for 227 passing yards with three passing touchdowns. The Rams hope for similar efficiency from Tobias this week to secure the win on the road.

Central needs to ignite their stagnant offense if they want to keep pace with the Rams. The Dragons’ offense is led by senior quarterback Noah Muthler, who leads the team in passing and rushing. Muthler comes into the game with 415 passing yards and four touchdowns. However, he’ll have to clean up on his turnovers, as he’s thrown five interceptions and lost one fumble this season.

Tyrone (3-0) at Philipsburg-Osceola (0-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: T – Jason Wilson (fifth season); P-O – Brian McGonigal (first season)

Last meeting: Tyrone 42-21, last season

Players to watch: T – Zac Albright, Sr., RB; P-O – T.J. Thompson, Sr., WR

The skinny: Tyrone heads on the road to take on Philipsburg-Osceola as they look to go 4-0. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 44-7 drubbing of Bishop Carroll at home last week. Philipsburg-Osceola is still looking for its first win of the season and it’s coming off a 55-7 loss to Bellefonte in an away game at Lock Haven University last week.

Tyrone senior running back Zac Albright has been at the forefront of the Golden Eagle offense all season. Albright has 396 rushing yards this season on 64 carries. His biggest game of the season came in week two when he lit up Central for 200 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Albright is set to have another big performance this week against a P-O defense that has allowed at least 200 rushing yards in every game this season.

If the Mounties want to keep the game close, they’ll be relying on senior wide receiver T.J. Thompson, who had a big performance in P-O’s week three loss to Bellefonte. Thompson, who had only one catch for 11 yards through two games, broke out with four catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Red Raiders. Thompson will continue to be the Mounties’ biggest receiving threat as long as sophomore Ryan Whitehead starts at quarterback.

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