High School Sports

Previewing Centre County high school football games in Week 4

‘These moments are everything,’ Penns Valley QB Aaron Tobias says

Penns Valley senior quarterback Aaron Tobias and his father, coach Martin Tobias, talk about their relationship on and off the field.
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Penns Valley senior quarterback Aaron Tobias and his father, coach Martin Tobias, talk about their relationship on and off the field.

We’re on to Week 4 of PIAA high school football action, with all five Centre County schools in action. State College is the lone unbeaten county team at 3-0, and will play Carlisle on the road. Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte and Penns Valley all sit at 2-1, with the Bald Eagles taking on Bishop Carroll in Ebensburg, the Red Raiders playing Central Mountain at home, and the Rams taking on Central at home. Philipsburg-Osceola will try to get to 2-2 when it travels to Tyrone for Friday night’s game.

Let’s take a look at all five of Friday’s matchups.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

State College (3-0) at Carlisle (1-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Matt Lintal (SC), Brett Ickes (C)

Last meeting: State College 56-17 in 2018

Players to watch: RB Isaiah Edwards (SC), RB Tristyn Sulich (C)

The Skinny: State College is in an excellent position to stay unbeaten this week. The Little Lions will take on the Carlisle Thundering Herd on the road. The Thundering Herd have lost two of their first three games and don’t look likely to pose much of a threat to State College. They’ll rely on running back Tristyn Sulich to control the ground game and try to keep this one close. Sulich had 17 carries for 127 yards in the team’s week two game, a 21-14 loss to Northeastern.

The Little Lions will be in a spot to go run-heavy against Carlisle, assuming they can build a lead early. That could mean more touches for senior running back Isaiah Edwards, who has seen limited touches but has been highly efficient. Edwards has 18 touches for 193 yards and four touchdowns this season and could continue that efficient streak this week. Edwards and the Little Lions come into the matchup ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 6A, according to PennLive.

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State College’s Isaiah Edwards scored twice in the Little Lions’ 42-6 win over Mifflin County on Friday. Grace Brennan Photo provided

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

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Jesse Nagle (BEA), Sean Billings (BC)

Last meeting: Bald Eagle Area 35-6 in 2018

Players to watch: WR Kaden Bittinger (BEA), QB Hunter Dumm (BC)

The Skinny: Bald Eagle Area will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it travels to Ebensburg to take on Bishop Carroll. The Eagles fell to Penns Valley last week, 42-7, after losing two of their key players, quarterback Jaden Jones and offensive weapon Gage McClenahan. Both could play this week, but even if they don’t, the Bald Eagles should be fine. Wide receiver Kaden Bittinger played some quarterback with Jones out last week, and could do so again if he remains out of commission with a shoulder injury. A win could vault the Bald Eagles back into the top 10 in Class 3A after they fell from No. 3 to “a team to watch,” in PennLive’s rankings.

Bishop Carroll will rely on quarterback Hunter Dumm if it wants to upset the Bald Eagles. Dumm has thrown for 648 yards on 26-of-49 passing this season. He has six touchdowns, but has thrown five interceptions this season, according to MaxPreps. The senior quarterback will need to hang onto the ball to prevent the Bald Eagles from earning any extra chances for their dominant offense to score.

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Bald Eagle Area’s Jaden Jones makes a pass during the game against Penns Valley on Friday Sept. 6, 2019. Jones left the game after the first quarter. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Philipsburg-Osceola (1-2) at Tyrone (1-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: Brian McGonigal (PO), John Franco (T)

Last meeting: Tyrone 32-14 in 2018

Players to watch: WR Hunter Weitoish (PO), Brandon Lucas (T)

The Skinny: Philipsburg-Osceola is still searching for its first multi-win season since 2011 and will have another chance to get there this week when it travels to Tyrone. The Mounties will need to get their offense going this week, and that could center around wide receiver Hunter Weitoish. Weitoish has 204 receiving yards this season on only six catches, according to MaxPreps, but his big-play ability will help the Mounties. The junior wide receiver has two catches of at least 75 yards this season, both of which ended with him in the end zone.

Tyrone will also be in search of its second win of the season, but unlike P-O, is coming off a win. The Golden Eagles will look to junior quarterback Brandon Lucas to carry the load on offense. Lucas will start under center for Tyrone and head coach John Franco who returned to the program after leaving in 2012.

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Philipsburg-Osceola’s Ryan Whitehead looks to make a pass during the game against Bald Eagle Area on Friday, August 30, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

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

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: AJ Hoenstine (C), Martin Tobias (PV)

Last meeting: Penns Valley 31-29 in 2018

Players to watch: QB Jeff Hoenstine (C), TE Logan Snyder (PV)

The Skinny: Penns Valley will stay home Friday to take on an upstart Central team. The Rams are playing well, too, defeating Bald Eagle Area last week at home, 42-7. They’ll try to earn a home win on the back of the duo of senior quarterback Aaron Tobias and senior tight end Logan Snyder, who have already connected on six touchdowns this season. Aaron Tobias, son of head coach Martin Tobias, has also found Snyder for 439 yards through the air in the team’s three games this season. The Rams are listed as “a team to watch” in PennLive’s Class 2A PIAA high school football rankings.

Central will utilize Jeff Hoenstine in multiple ways against the Rams. The freshman has been used as a quarterback, running back, and wide receiver this season, and has contributed heavily in both of the team’s wins. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more against Northern Bedford County, a 49-21 Central win, and had eight catches for 91 yards in a 12-7 win over Tyrone. Hoenstine’s impact could decide if the Dragons have a chance to beat Penns Valley.

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Penns Valley’s Logan Snyder makes a catch and runs with the ball during the game against Bald Eagle Area on Friday Sept. 6, 2019. Penns Valley won, 42-7. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Central Mountain (0-3) at Bellefonte (2-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Coaches: James Renninger (CM), Shanon Manning (B)

Last meeting: Bellefonte 44-7 in 2018

Players to watch: QB Zane Probst (CM), QB Ethan Rossman (B)

The Skinny: Bellefonte is gaining momentum after its opening-week 55-35 loss to Jersey Shore. The Red Raiders have won their last two in blowout fashion, combining to outscore Huntingdon and P-O and 102-10. Quarterback Ethan Rossman was efficient through the air in both games, completing 13-of-19 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and effective on the ground, carrying the ball 13 times for 92 yards and a touchdown, according to MaxPreps. His ability to keep pressure off the team’s run-game will be important for Bellefonte in this one.

Central Mountain will counter Rossman with quarterback Zane Probst. Probst leads the team’s passing attack and has thrown for 521 yards through three games, according to MaxPreps. The team’s offense has struggled to score when Probst is off, scoring seven points when he threw for under 200 yards, and 18 when he passed for over 200. His throwing ability will dictate how this game goes for Central Mountain.

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Jon Sauber earned his B.A. in digital and print journalism from Penn State and his M.A. in sports journalism from IUPUI. His previous stops include jobs at The Indianapolis Star, the NCAA, and Rivals.
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