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HS football: It’s a battle of the unbeatens for 2 Centre County teams

A Philipsburg-Osceola defender misses Bellefonte’s quarterback Kyle Myers during a game on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 at the Lock Haven University.
A Philipsburg-Osceola defender misses Bellefonte’s quarterback Kyle Myers during a game on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 at the Lock Haven University.

It’s a full slate of action this week with two area teams involved in separate clashes of unbeaten teams. Bellefonte will travel to Tyrone to take on the undefeated Golden Eagles, while State College battles undefeated Chambersburg at home.

Meanwhile, Philipsburg-Osceola goes on the road in search of its first win and Penns Valley tries to string together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. First up, a matchup between Bald Eagle Area and Central, as Bald Eagle aims to win its fifth straight game to start the season.

Bald Eagle Area (4-0) at Central (1-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: BEA – Jesse Nagle (third season); C – David Baker

Last meeting: Central 35-7, last season

Players to watch: BEA – Blake Roberts, Sr., RB; C – Zach Parks, Sr. WR

The skinny: Bald Eagle heads to Martinsburg in search of its fifth win of the season, and second win on the road. The last time they were 4-0 and traveled to face Central, the Eagles were shut out by the Dragons in 2012.

Central enters the matchup following a difficult two-point loss to Penns Valley. The Dragons are hoping to win their first game of the season this week.

Bald Eagle showed that they can run the ball last week when they rushed for 180 yards against Bishop Carroll. The Eagles were paced by senior running back Blake Roberts, who amassed 14 carries for 88 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. If the Dragons sell out to defend the pass, it should open rushing lanes for Roberts, who could be in store for another big game.

Central will need to air it out if they want to keep pace with Bald Eagle’s offense this week. The Dragons’ passing offense has been fairly balanced, with three players with at least seven catches and 180 yards. Last week, it was senior wide receiver Zach Parks who stepped up for Central, and he will need to step up again. Parks caught four balls for 169 yards and two touchdowns in their loss to Penns Valley.

Bellefonte (4-0) at Tyrone (4-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Bel. – Shanon Manning (sixth season); T – Jason Wilson (fifth season)

Last meeting: Bellefonte 49-14, last season

Players to watch: Bel. – Kyle Myers, Sr. QB; T – Denver Light Sr., QB

The skinny: Bellefonte travels to Tyrone to play the Golden Eagles in what should be a tight matchup. These two teams last faced off as unbeaten in 2010 when both teams were 2-0. Tyrone won that matchup going away by a final of 42-8.

Bellefonte comes into this matchup in a much better place than that 2010 team, and with a much stingier defense. The Golden Eagles will need to play better than they did last week if they hope to beat the Red Raiders. They only scored 32 points last week on a Philipsburg-Osceola defense that gave up 55 to Bellefonte.

Bellefonte quarterback Kyle Myers will lead the charge against Tyrone, and he’ll need to pick his spots if the Red Raiders want to win. Myers will be taking on a defense that is allowing just 10.5 points per game this season. Bellefonte will most likely try to grind out yardage on the ground with Myers and junior running back C.J. Funk, which should open up the field on play action. This will be Myers’ chance to gash Tyrone’s defense for big plays.

Tyrone’s offense will rely on senior quarterback Denver Light to find time to allow his wide receivers to get open. Light will see a pass rush from Bellefonte senior defensive end Caleb Rockey all game, and he’ll need to evade him to find success. Light will likely have to find receivers on short and intermediate routes to avoid Rockey’s rush.

Chambersburg (4-0) at State College (4-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: C – Mark Luther (third season); SC – Matt Lintal (fifth season)

Last meeting: State College 70-20, last season

Players to watch: C – Keyshawn Jones, Jr., RB; SC – Cohen Russell, Sr., WR

The skinny: Chambersburg travels to State College after a 48-28 victory over Altoona last week. The Trojans come in riding an offense that has scored 43.75 points per game this season. State College will try to keep riding the momentum they’ve built this season in this undefeated matchup. The Little Lions defeated Carlisle last week in a matchup of unbeatens, 56-17.

Chambersburg junior running back Keyshawn Jones is the focal point of the Trojans’ offense, and he showed why last week. Jones ran roughshod over Altoona’s defense, toting the ball 36 times for 245 yards and four touchdowns. If Jones can repeat that performance, it will cause serious issues for the Little Lions.

State College’s balanced offense will try to hit receivers for big plays as long as they have Tommy Friberg at quarterback, and senior wide receiver Cohen Russell could be this week’s beneficiary.

Russell had six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown last week, but his biggest performance came in the Little Lions’ biggest game. He had four catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns in State College’s closest game, against St. Augustine Prep in New Jersey. Russell should have a similar role in this week’s big matchup.

Huntingdon (1-3) at Penns Valley (2-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: H – Michael Hudy; PV – Martin Tobias (23rd season)

Last meeting: Huntingdon 56-8, last season

Players to watch: H – Andrew Miller, Jr. WR; PV – Ryan Ripka, Sr. RB

The skinny: Huntingdon enters this week’s game trying to put a halt to its three-game losing streak. The Bearcats dropped last week’s contest to Clearfield, 42-21. Penns Valley, on the other hand, will try to get back above .500 for the first time since week one when they were 1-0. The Rams enter the matchup after a tight 31-29 victory over Central.

Huntingdon’s passing attack has been much more effective than their running game this season, with 735 total passing yards, and only 250 rushing yards. The Bearcats utilize two quarterbacks, but both seem to have the same favorite target. Junior wide receiver, Andrew Miller has had the eye of both senior Andrew Hudy and junior Nick Troha. Miller has hauled in 16 receptions for 315 yards and a touchdown, averaging 19.7 yards per reception. His ability to get open will be vital for the Bearcats when they face Penns Valley.

The Rams have had a much more balanced (and dynamic) offense, rushing for 487 yards and passing for 1,091. Their rushing attack is led by senior running back Ryan Ripka, who has rushed for 357 yards and six touchdowns on 66 carries this season. Ripka has been a threat in the passing game as well, catching 22 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns. Ripka will be the Rams’ key to victory this week, much like he’s been all season.

Philipsburg-Osceola (0-4) at Bishop Carroll (1-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: P-O – Brian McGonigal (first season); BC – Sean Billings

Players to watch: P-O Ryan Whitehead, So., QB/WR, BC – Trevor Hogue, Sr., RB

The skinny: Philipsburg-Osceola travels to Ebensburg in search of its first win of the season, and with a real chance to earn it. The Mounties are taking on Bishop Carroll after a tough loss to Tyrone in which they unexpectedly had a 14-6 lead over the Golden Eagles. Bishop Carroll will play their first home game of the season when they take on P-O this Friday. The Huskies will also be in search of their first win against a Pennsylvania opponent, as their only victory came against East Hardy from Baker, West Virginia.

The Mounties have a legitimate chance to score their season high in points this week against the Huskies. If they plan on doing that, they’ll need sophomore Ryan Whitehead to play a major role.

Whitehead splits the snaps at quarterback with senior Daniel Slogosky, and will try to find senior wide receiver T.J. Thompson when he’s at the helm. When Slogosky leads the offense, Whitehead will become one of his biggest weapons in the passing game, as a wide receiver. His impact will largely dictate how the Mountie offense does this week.

Bishop Carroll will need senior running back Trevor Hogue to grind down the Mounties if they want to win. Hogue leads the running backs with 172 rushing yards on 39 carries and has added one touchdown. He’ll try to complement junior quarterback Jake Zazvrskey who has been the Huskies’ biggest weapon on offense. If Hogue can relieve some of the pressure on Zazvrskey, then the Huskies should win their first in-state game of the year.