This week’s action is highlighted yet again by State College.
After moving to 6-0 on the season last weekend, edging then-undefeated Cumberland Valley, the Little Lions look to keep their unblemished mark intact when they visit Central Dauphin East (4-2) on Friday night.
In other action, Bellefonte hosts Central, Bald Eagle Area welcomes Clearfield, Penns Valley travels to Chestnut Ridge, Philipsburg-Osceola aims for its first win of the season against Huntingdon, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy visits Columbia Montour Vo-Tech.
Here’s a look at the matchups.
Bald Eagle Area (3-4) vs. Clearfield (6-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: BEA — Jesse Nagle (first season); C — Tim Janocko
Last meeting: Clearfield 49, BEA 12, last season
Players to watch: BEA — Blake Roberts; C — Seth Caldwell
The skinny: Clearfield loves to pound the rock.
Just ask Bellefonte and Tyrone.
Coming off 28-0 and 22-3 wins over the Red Raiders and Golden Eagles, respectively, the past two weeks, Clearfield is rolling — and the Bison are doing so thanks to a consistent running game.
In its four-touchdown dismantling of Bellefonte, the Bison totaled 262 rushing yards, led by running back Seth Caldwell’s 118 on 27 carries.
Last week, Caldwell totaled 115 yards on 23 attempts against the Golden Eagles, with quarterback Isaac Rumery chipping in 66 rushing yards and a score.
BEA will need Blake Roberts to balance things out.
Roberts rushed for 89 yards and three touchdowns in last Friday’s 30-19 loss to Huntingdon, and he’ll likely need a similar — or greater — performance if the Eagles are to upset Clearfield.
Bellefonte (4-3) vs. Central (6-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: Bel — Shanon Manning (fourth season); C — Dave Baker
Last meeting: Central 55, Bellefonte 20, last season
Players to watch: Bel — Cade Fortney; C — Alex Hoenstine
The skinny: Rebounding with a 35-7 drubbing of Penns Valley last Friday, Bellefonte will need to rekindle its big-play capabilities if it wants to topple Central.
Cade Fortney not only had two interceptions — one of which went for an 85-yard touchdown — but he also had five catches for 105 yards and a score against the Rams.
He and the Red Raider defense will have to step up in order to stop Central’s freight train of an offense.
The Dragons are led by a running back yet to be halted this season, as Alex Hoenstine has amassed 1,188 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.
Hoenstine, a 6-foot-2, 184-pound senior, has reached the end zone at least twice in every game this year, and his lowest rushing total (122 yards on nine carries) came last week when Central ran away with a 50-14 win over Philipsburg-Osceola.
Penns Valley (2-5) at Chestnut Ridge (4-3)
Coaches: PV — Martin Tobias (21st season); CR — Max Shoemaker
Last meeting: Chestnut Ridge 23, Penns Valley 12, last season
Players to watch: PV — Andrew Tobias; CR — Logan Hauck
The skinny: Chestnut Ridge quarterback Logan Hauck is going to be a handful for the Rams to deal with.
Hauck, a junior, is the focal point of Chestnut Ridge’s offense, throwing for 1,102 yards and 11 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and three scores.
With 1,602 total yards this season, Hauck has accounted for 80 percent of the Lions’ offense.
On the opposite sideline, Penns Valley quarterback Andrew Tobias will be eyeing a cleaner performance than last week. In a 35-7 loss to Bellefonte, the 6-foot-4 senior signal-caller completed only 13 of 28 passes for 122 yards and four interceptions.
Tobias has showcased his ability to break out; season highlights include a five-touchdown night in an early-season win over BEA and a four-touchdown showing against P-O.
Philipsburg-Osceola (0-7) vs. Huntingdon (3-4)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: P-O — Mike Mann (first season); H — Mike Hudy
Last meeting: Huntingdon 56, P-O 6, last season
Players to watch: P-O — Matt Johnson; H — Ian Border
The skinny: The Bearcats are going to run, run, and run some more with Ian Border. A junior, Border has carried the rock 131 times this season for 806 yards and 14 touchdowns.
A few weeks ago in a 55-27 rout of Penns Valley, Border recorded 201 rushing yards and four touchdowns. The past two weeks he’s been slowed down a bit, tallying 120 combined yards on the ground against Juniata and Bald Eagle Area.
However, P-O’s run defense has been porous, and the Mounties’ passing attack has been less than stellar (21 interceptions to just four touchdown passes).
That considered, P-O’s shot to earn its first win of the year might be on the shoulders of running back Matt Johnson.
He’s not particularly a break-loose kind of back, averaging only 2.8 yards per carry, but Johnson has been a constant in the P-O offense, garnering 11.7 carries per game.
Perhaps he can pop a few long-gainers.
State College (6-0) at Central Dauphin East (4-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: SC — Matt Lintal; CDE — Aaron Blanding
Last meeting: State College 35, Central Dauphin East 7, last season
Players to watch: SC — Tyler Snyder; CDE — Kane Everson
The skinny: Riding high after a 20-16 win over Cumberland Valley last Friday, State College will need a seasoned performance from its senior quarterback at Central Dauphin East.
The Little Lions are undefeated thanks in large part to the composed play of signal-caller Tyler Snyder, who has totaled 883 passing yards and eight touchdowns to four interceptions while completing 59 percent of his passes.
Snyder has thrown an interception in each of his past three games, something he’ll try to avoid against a Central Dauphin East defense hoping to feed off the home crowd.
The Panthers’ lone two losses of the year are against Harrisburg (5-1) and Central Dauphin (5-1), owning a 3-1 record at home.
Brandon Hickerson-Rooks is a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball, wreaking havoc in the backfield from the linebacker/defensive end position.
Offensively, quarterback Kane Everson is a dual-threat, one that the Little Lions will need to keep their eyes peeled on. Everson has recorded 958 passing yards while using his legs to score in last week’s 34-18 loss to Central Dauphin.
St. Joseph’s (1-4) at Columbia Montour Vo-Tech (1-6)
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Coaches: SJCA — Steve Guthoff (first season); CMVT — Mark Varner
Players to watch: SJCA — Brendan Robinson
The skinny: The Wolves are coming off a 53-8 loss to Halifax last Friday, hoping to bounce back against a team that’s had its fair share of struggles, as well.
Columbia Montour Vo-Tech defeated Bucktail, like SJCA, a few weeks back, but has lost decidedly in most games this season.
SJCA quarterback Brendan Robinson has been the reliable lightning rod for offense this season, even producing in such a lopsided loss last week. Robinson ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts against Halifax.