Centre County went 3-2 for the second week in a row of PIAA high school football action. The Bald Eagle Area Eagles, the Bellefonte Red Raiders, and the Penns Valley Rams all won in Week 8, while the State College Little Lions lost their first game of the year and the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties fell to 1-7.
Let’s look at what we learned from Week 8’s action.
1. The State College offense has work to do
The Little Lions came up short Friday night in a game that was much closer than the final score. They fell to the Central Dauphin Rams, 34-13. State College led by seven with less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, thanks to its defense. The Little Lions were up 13-6 before the Rams drove down the field and tied the game with less than eight minutes left in the game. From there, it was the State College offense that gave the game away.
Senior quarterback Brady Dorner was sacked and fumbled near the goal line after the Rams’ score, and a Central Dauphin defender picked it up and scored. The Central Dauphin defense came up big on the next drive, too, intercepting State High and returning the interception 33 yards for a touchdown and a 27-13 lead. The Little Lions turned the ball over again, setting up the Rams near the goal line, where they punched it in for their fourth touchdown of the game’s final quarter.
The Little Lions will need to maintain composure offensively if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs this year. They’ll have a chance to bounce back next Friday when they take on Altoona on the road at 7 p.m.
2. Bald Eagle Area showed its resilience
The Bald Eagles got off to a slow start Friday night but showed just how good they can be in their 36-28 win over Clearfield. They trailed the Bison 28-14 in the second quarter of Friday night’s game but scored 22 unanswered points. The Bison scored touchdowns on their first four offensive drives of the game, but it was the Eagles’ defense that would have the last word.
After the early onslaught from Clearfield, the Eagles didn’t give up a score the rest of the game. Their defense stood tall against Clearfield for multiple stands near the goal line to help secure the victory for the Eagles. And all of this they did in honor of teammate Caleb Burns, who suffered a mini stroke earlier in the week. With Clearfield’s loss and Bellefonte and Penns Valley’s wins, the Mountain League title is sure to go to a Centre County team this season. The Eagles will be back in action next week when they take on Jersey Shore at home Friday at 7 p.m.
3. Bellefonte got back on track offensively
The Red Raiders struggled to get the ball going last week, but came out and lit up the scoreboard Friday night. They defeated Central, 54-7, on the road Friday night. Star senior running back C.J. Funk, the school’s all-time leading rusher, ran for 135 yards on 10 carries and found the end zone three times in the game after he was held scoreless in Week 8. He continues to be vital to the Red Raiders’ offense, and must play well for this team to win games.
This was a good win for a Bellefonte team that struggled to score against Penns Valley in Week 7. The win keeps the Red Raiders alive in the race for the Mountain League title. They’ll take on Bishop Carroll at home next Friday at 7 p.m.
4. Penns Valley continues to roll
The Rams look like the best team in the Mountain League and continued to light up the scoreboard Friday night when they defeated Bishop Carroll, 55-12. They’ve been the best team in the Mountain League all season and that showed once again Friday night.
After only scoring 14 points against Bellefonte in Week 7, the Rams’ offense exploded against Bishop Carroll. Star senior quarterback Aaron Tobias threw five touchdowns after being held to one against the Red Raiders.
If the Penns Valley offense can keep playing at a high level, and the team’s defense continues its momentum, this team could make some noise in the playoffs. They’ll head on the road next Friday when they play Tyrone at 7 p.m.
5. Philipsburg-Osceola gets shut out again
The Mounties were dominated on the road Friday night. They lost to Huntingdon, 56-0, failing to score in a game for the second time this season. There isn’t a whole lot to say about Philipsburg-Osceola at this point in the season. The team has been decimated by injuries and has struggled to stop teams, and struggled to score. The Mounties scored a total of 57 points against Tyrone and West Branch, both in the first four weeks of the season, but have only scored 28 points in their other six games. In those six games, they’ve maxed out at seven points in a game, which happened four times to account for all 28 points.
With the offense struggling, the defense hasn’t helped much. The team has allowed at least 31 points in those same six games this season. There isn’t much hope left for the Mounties to find a second win in a season for the first time since 2011, but they’ll give it another go next week when they take on Clearfield at home Friday at 7 p.m.