Centre County will only have three teams in action in the final week of the regular season. The State College Little Lions will take on the Cumberland Valley Eagles Saturday in the Beaver Stadium Classic, while the Bald Eagle Area Eagles and the Bellefonte Red Raiders will clash Friday night in the latest edition of the Curtin Bowl.
The Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties and the Mountain League champion Penns Valley Rams will not play after the Mounties decided to cancel their season and forfeit their final two games, including this weekend’s matchup with the Rams.
The Rams, who claimed the program’s first-ever Mountain League championship with last week’s win over Tyrone, will honor the senior members of their football team, marching band and cheerleading squad after the conclusion of their first round district game, which they will host. Time, date and opponent for that game are yet to be determined.
Let’s take a look at the two games scheduled to take place.
Bellefonte (7-2) at Bald Eagle Area (7-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: Shanon Manning (B), Jesse Nagle (BEA)
Last meeting: Bellefonte 10-9 in 2018
Players to watch: RB C.J. Funk (B), QB Jaden Jones (BEA)
The Skinny: Bellefonte enters Friday night’s Curtin Bowl matchup with their No. 1 seed in District 6 on the line. The Red Raiders will need to win to fend off the Clearfield Bison for the top seed in Class 4A. To earn that victory, the Red Raiders will have to rely on C.J. Funk in his final Curtin Bowl.
Funk, a senior and the team’s all-time leading rusher, has carried the Bellefonte offense so far this season. The senior running back has 1,139 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on 97 carries in eight games played this season, according to MaxPreps. Funk’s stats would likely be more prolific, but the Red Raiders received a forfeit victory last week against Bishop Carroll. His play has had a major impact on Bellefonte’s results. Funk has fallen below 135 rushing yards twice this season, once in the Red Raiders’ 55-35 loss to Jersey Shore and once in their 14-6 loss to Penns Valley. He has at least 136 rushing yards in all six of the team’s non-forfeit wins this season. If Funk has a big game, expect a Bellefonte win.
While the Red Raiders have their top seed on the line, Bald Eagle Area is locked into its playoff spot. The Eagles will be the No. 1 seed in District 6 in Class 3A. They’ll take on either the Central Dragons or the Huntingdon Bearcats next week in the first round of the playoffs. Even without playoff implications, the Eagles will still have a chance to redeem themselves from last year’s 10-9 Curtin Bowl loss. To do that, the Eagles will likely rely on senior quarterback Jaden Jones.
Jones has played in eight games this season, although missed most of one of those and half of another due to injury. The senior leader has still been dominant when he’s taken the field for the Eagles. He has 1,095 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns while adding 423 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground, according to MaxPreps. Jones’ ability to make plays on the ground and in the air has given the Eagles balance in their offense and allowed them to make plays in both facets. Jones could be in for a big game in his final Curtin Bowl and his Senior Night game.
Cumberland Valley (5-4) at State College (8-1)
Coaches: Michael Whitehead (CV), Matt Lintal (SC)
Last meeting: State College 16-13 in 2018
Players to watch: FB Dontey Rogan (CV), RB Dresyn Green (SC)
The Skinny: State College already has its first playoff matchup set, rendering this matchup meaningless for playoff purposes. The Little Lions will take on Mifflin County in the District 6 Class 6A finals next week regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game. However, that doesn’t make the game meaningless. The Little Lions will send their seniors off with a Senior Day game at Beaver Stadium in the inaugural Beaver Stadium Classic. The team hasn’t been able to play at its typical home, Memorial Field, this year due to construction. State College head coach Matt Lintal previously said that getting to play at the home of the Nittany Lions was a special sendoff for a senior class that’s had to make some sacrifices.
To get a win in their final regular season game of the year, the Little Lions will look to a junior to make big plays. Running back Dresyn Green has been the team’s primary source of big plays this year and that’s likely to continue this weekend. Green has 131 carries for 865 yards and 13 touchdowns in nine games this season, according to MaxPreps. He has home-run ability with 60+ yard runs in three games this season. Green will have the opportunity for more big plays Saturday when he takes the field at Beaver Stadium.
If Cumberland Valley wants to earn the upset on Saturday, it’ss need senior fullback Dontey Rogan to have a big game. Rogan had a big performance against Harrisburg, one of the Eagles’ best opponents this season. He ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in the game, according to MaxPreps. Cumberland Valley lost the game, but it’ll need a big performance from Rogan to challenge the Little Lions on Saturday.