Penn State

State College-University Prep preview capsule

PIAA Class AAAA First Round

State College (7-4) vs. University Prep (11-1)

When: Noon, Today

Where: Mansion Park, Altoona

Radio: WQWK 1450

Series: First meeting

The skinny: State College is seeking its fifth PIAA quarterfinal appearance in six years. This year’s team started 0-3 start and faced a nomadic schedule. The Little Lions have met teams from Districts 3, 7, 9, 10 and 12. Missing from the list is District 6, the Little Lions’ home district. University Prep represents District 8, commonly known as the Pittsburgh City League. ...The Little Lion defense allows 27.7 points per game but the unit has forced 12 turnovers in its past five games. Safety Darian Herncane intercepted passes at the goal line to seal district playoff victories over DuBois and Strong Vincent. ...Injuries are forcing State College to rely on underclassmen. Herncane, Dan Fry, Ryan Goeke, Elias Seeland, Mike Rizzuto, Amir Haywood, Andrew Kelly and Sean King are among the juniors receiving significant defensive or offensive time. Sophomore Adam DeBoef started on the offensive line in both district playoff games. ...Jack Haffner has eclipsed 200 rushing yards in four of the past seven games and enters today with 1,837 yards on 231 carries. Larry and Tony Johnson are the only players head of Haffner on Center County’s single-season rushing list. Larry had 2,162 yards in 1997. Tony gained 1,915 yards two years later.

Up next: Winner faces Upper St. Clair (11-1) or North Allegheny (12-0) in next week’s PIAA quarterfinals