No local team is vying for perfection — but several are still aiming to do well and go far into the postseason.
The area’s top teams, Bellefonte and State College, will both take on winning teams this week. The Red Raiders will face Central, a squad it hasn’t beaten since 2010, while the Little Lions are trying to bounce back against one-loss Central Dauphin East.
Three other games are on tap Friday night, with a confident Penns Valley hosting Chestnut Ridge, Bald Eagle Area taking on Clearfield and Philipsburg-Osceola hoping to avoid a blowout against Huntingdon. There’s even extra action Saturday, as St. Joseph’s is set to play Columbia Montour Vo-Tech at Memorial Field.
Here’s a look at all the matchups:
Central Dauphin East (5-1) at State College (5-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: CDE — Aaron Blanding; SC — Matt Lintal (fourth season)
Last meeting: State College 33-14, last season
Players to watch: CDE — Kane Everson, ATH; SC — Tommy Friberg, QB
The skinny: The Little Lions are coming off a humbling 36-21 loss to Cumberland Valley after defeating their previous five opponents by at least four touchdowns apiece. And, with undefeated Harrisburg looming on next week’s schedule, they have no time to waste in rebounding.
Central Dauphin East’s offense really goes through versatile athlete Kane Everson, who does just about everything for the Panthers. So the defensive gameplan has to start and stop with him.
Everson boasts 542 passing yards, 508 rushing yards and 154 receiving yards so far this season — which means he’s accounting for more than 58 percent of the Panther offense.
Offensively, State College still has numerous weapons even without an injured Keaton Ellis and with Isaiah Edwards missing nearly all of the last contest. Tommy Friberg remains the most efficient QB in the area — 68 percent completion rate, 15 TDs, four INTs — but he’s coming off his first multi-interception game of the season and also needs to bounce back, and lead this team.
Bellefonte (6-1) at Central (5-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: B — Shanon Manning (fifth season); C — David Baker
Last meeting: Central 40-0, last season
Players to watch: B — Dylan Deitrich, QB; C —Trystan Detwiler, RB
The skinny: Bellefonte may have struggled last week in stopping Penns Valley’s passing offense, but the Scarlet Dragons are a run-first team. And the trenches pose the problem this week.
Central boasts six linemen on its roster who weigh more than 250 pounds. (Two weigh 299, including senior Tyler Vollkommer who already has 29 pancake blocks to his name.) The Red Raiders’ biggest player, Cam Stephens, is 6-foot and 245 pounds.
Just to show the size advantage here: Bellefonte has nine players over 200 pounds; Central has 25.
The Red Raiders haven’t beaten Central since 2010, but they’ve already made history this season with wins over Tyrone and Clearfield. Even if Bellefonte doesn’t have the size advantage, they’ve relied on a blue-collar work ethic and outstanding offensive play from quarterback Dylan Deitrich and wideout Cade Fortney.
Bald Eagle Area (3-4) at Clearfield (4-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: BEA — Jesse Nagle (second season); C — Tim Janocko (33rd season)
Last meeting: Clearfield 37-0, last season
Players to watch: BEA — Jaden Jones, QB; C — Isaac Rumery, QB
The skinny: The Eagles have lost four straight games, and they’ll face another tough matchup Friday night.
Clearfield boasts an impressive passing attack led by quarterback Isaac Rumery, who is averaging 238.7 yards per game. Rumery has also thrown for 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, connecting with seven different receivers for scores. Bald Eagle Area’s best chance to match the Bison may be with quarterback Jaden Jones.
Jones has completed 62.1 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and three interceptions for the Eagles. He’s thrown for more than 100 yards twice during the losing streak, while BEA has continued to struggle to establish the running game. Leading rusher Gage McClanahan, who left last week’s game with an injury, has been limited 50 or fewer yards in each of the team’s losses.
Chestnut Ridge (6-1) at Penns Valley (2-5)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: CR — Max Shoemaker; PV — Martin Tobias (22nd season)
Last meeting: Chestnut Ridge 41-26, last season
Players to watch: CR — Logan Hauck, QB; PV —Aaron Tobias, QB
The skinny: This game should be determined by what happens under center and what transpires in the second half.
Chestnut Ridge has pulled away in several second halves this season — it held a slim 7-6 lead against Bald Eagle Area before winning 43-6 — while Penns Valley is coming off a loss last Friday, in which it led Bellefonte 6-0 at halftime before falling 35-20.
But the Rams proved last week they can hang in with the Mountain League’s best, and a big reason for that is quarterback Aaron Tobias. The sophomore threw for a county-best 343 yards in his last game, and he’s the player to watch this contest. Likewise, Chestnut Ridge boasts an incredibly talented quarterback in senior Logan Hauck.
Hauck has passed for 945 yards and rushed for 666 yards to account for about two-thirds of the offense. Stopping him is a tall order for Penns Valley — but the Rams have a new-found confidence this week.
Philipsburg-Osceola (1-6) at Huntingdon (7-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: P-O — Mike Mann (second season); H — Mike Hudy (sixth season)
Last meeting: Huntingdon 56-15, last season
Players to watch: P-O — Daniel Slogosky, QB; H — Ian Border, RB
The skinny: While Philipsburg-Osceola remains winless in Mountain League play, Huntingdon sits atop the conference standings with a perfect record.
The Mounties have been overmatched in six straight losses, allowing their opponents to score 40-plus points in all six games. They allowed 507 total yards — 342 rushing — in their 55-0 loss to Central last week, and they’ll face another prolific offense this week.
Huntingdon running back Ian Border has rushed for 975 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He’s rushed for more than 200 yards twice and found the end zone in every game for the Bearcats. The rushing attack has been complemented by quarterback Andrew Hudy, who has thrown for 956 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Mounties have relied on their passing game to move the ball, as quarterback Daniel Slogosky has thrown for a county-best 846 yards while completing 45.7 percent of his passes.
Columbia Montour Vo-Tech (1-5) at St. Joseph’s (0-5), at Memorial Field
Time: 5 p.m. Saturday
Coaches: CMVT — Mark Varner; SJCA — Murray Fetzer (first season)
Last meeting: St. Joseph’s 21-18, last season
Players to watch: CMVT — Trevor Welsh, QB; SJCA — Brendan Robinson, QB
The skinny: St. Joseph’s has been moving the ball downfield more and more as the weeks have passed, so this has the potential to be a competitive game. It will also act as the Wolves’ homecoming game.
Col Mon Vo-Tech and SJCA have shared one common opponent so far, and that’s been Bucktail — which both teams lost to. The Wolves played Bucktail twice, in a 12-0 loss and a 48-27 loss, while CMVT fell 22-20.
Brendan Robinson remains the key to St. Joseph’s offense, while Zac Sechler is coming of a 75-yard rushing performance. SJCA’s defense will need to step up — it’s allowed 40-plus points in five straight games — for this to stay close.