If you like defense, Friday’s game between State College and Central Dauphin was the game to watch.
Both teams boast two of the top defenses in the Mid Penn and at the end, it was the Rams’ defense that came up the biggest in a 34-13 victory at the South Track Field. The win puts Central Dauphin (6-2) in the driver’s seat for the Commonwealth Division crown.
“Two very good football teams tonight,” Central Dauphin coach Glen McNamee said. “There was a strong desire to win and a lot of championship implications. I’m really proud of our guys. In the end, when it mattered the most, they rose to the occasion.”
McNamee’s squad scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, 2.5 minutes apart, to blow open an otherwise tightly contested match, 27-13, midway through the fourth quarter. In all, the Little Lions gave up 28-unanswered points in the final seven minutes of the game.
State College dominated all facets of the game offensively. The Little Lions amassed a total of 418 yards to the Rams’ 233. They were led by Dresyn Green, who had 110 yards rushing on 18 carries. Isaiah Edwards had six receptions for 90 yards before quarterback Brady Dorner was knocked out of the game with four minutes left.
Defensively, State College gave up just 68 yards rushing but couldn’t match the scoring of the Rams as the 7-1 Little Lions dropped their first game of the season.
“Life is going to knock you down every now and again,” Little Lions coach Matt Lintal said. “We got to pick ourselves back up and go 1-0 next week. We need to learn from this and grow from this. The goal each and every week is to be better than we were last week. I still think that is a possibility even after a loss.”
State College led 13-6 with 10:50 left in the game after Green zigged and zagged his way through Central Dauphin’s defense for a 30-yard score. It all went down hill from there for the Little Lions, even though the ensuing kickoff came from the Rams’ 30-yard line.
Central Dauphin went on an 11-play drive that spanned just over three minutes to tie the game at 13-13. The drive was highlighted with a 33-yard pass from quarterback Max Mosey to receiver Nick Chimienti, who also recorded the first score of the game.
It was at that moment, the Rams’ stellar defense came alive. Dorner was sacked by linebacker Shamarr Joppy at the Little Lions’ 1-yard line and he fumbled the ball into the end zone. Joppy’s teammate Jackson Talbott fell on the ball to score for Central Dauphin.
On the ensuing drive, Dorner was knocked out of the game with an injury. To add insult to that injury, Dorner threw an interception to the Rams’ Malachi Bowman, who returned it 33 yards for a score. It gave Central Dauphin a 27-13 lead in a span of three minutes.
The Rams finished the night with three interceptions as Dorner’s replacement, Conrad Moore, threw two other turnovers trying to get his team back in the game. State College became just the fourth team this year to score double digits on Central Dauphin’s defense, which is giving up just nine points a game this year.
“It was two good defenses out there. Everybody that watched the game knows that,” McNamee said. “Our defense put some points on the board and that was really special.”
The Little Lions fell behind late in the first quarter but they responded well. They went on a 12-play drive that saw an 18-yard pass from Dorner to Nathan Lusk and Green ripped off a 15-yard run. The drive was also aided by two of Central Dauphin’s 15 penalties in the game. The drive ended with Dorner going in from one-yard out on a quarterback dive. With 10:50 left in the half, State College led 7-6.
The Little Lions defense stifled the Rams to the tune of just 67 total offensive yards in the first half. They got the ball back to their offense with 1:33 to go in the half too.
State College started the drive from its 10-yard line. It drove down to Central Dauphin’s 8-yard line, but penalties forced the Little Lions back to the 26, where a field goal was attempted by Aiden Spitler as time expired at the half. Spitler’s attempt was no good.
So, what was Lintal’s message to his squad after such a heartbreaking loss?
“Let’s go 1-0 next week. Let’s shake it off. Let it hurt tonight and get over it,” he said. “We’ll get re-grouped and hopefully get guys healthy to roll again.”
Notes: State College finished the game with 12 penalties for 116 yards. Meanwhile, Central Dauphin ended the night with 145 penalty yards on its 15 penalties. ... Dorner was named Homecoming King during halftime.
Central Dauphin 34, State College 13
Friday at South Track
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Dauphin 6 0 0 28 — 34
State College 0 7 0 6 — 13
CD — Chimienti 3 pass from Mosey (kick blocked), 3:18.
SC — Dorner 1 run (Spitler kick), 10:50.
SC — Green 30 run (kick blocked), 10:50.
CD — Vargas 3 pass from Mosey (Pomeroy kick), 7:20
CD — Talbott 1 fumble rec (Pomeroy kick), 6:33
CD — Bowman 33 interception return (Pomeroy kick), 4:03
CD — Smith 4 run (Pomeroy kick), 1:56
TEAM STATISTICS CD SC
First downs 12 17
Total yards 233 418
Rushes-yards 33-68 40-230
Yards passing 165 188
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 13-21-0 16-31-3
Punts-avg. 7-37.6 5-29
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 15-145 12-116
RUSHING—Central Dauphin, Smith 14-59, Vargas 6-17, Mosey 9-2, Ficca 1-5, Holton 1-(-1), Bowman 1-(-11), Team 11-(-3). State College, Green 18-110, Edwards 7-63, Dorner 11-2, Moore 4-55.
PASSING—Central Dauphin, Mosey 13-21-0-165. State College, Dorner 15-25-1-180, Moore 1-6-2-8.
RECEIVING—Central Dauphin, Chimienti 6-94, Smith 2-19, Fuller 3-30, Joppy 1-9, Vargas 1-3. State College, Howell 4-45, Edwards 6-90, Green 3-18, Knipe 1-7, Lusk 2-27.