The PIAA high school football regular season has come to an end and four out of five Centre County teams have made the playoffs. The Bald Eagle Area Eagles, the Bellefonte Red Raiders, the Penns Valley Rams and the State College Little Lions have all qualified for the postseason.
Bellefonte will advance to the District 6 Class 4A finals after Johnstown declined to participate in the playoffs, and State College will win the District 6 Class 6A title after Mifflin County also declined to participate. Both teams will receive a bye this weekend. That leaves Bald Eagle Area and Penns Valley as the only two Centre County teams in action this weekend.
Let’s take a look at their matchups:
Central (4-6) at Bald Eagle Area (7-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: Dave Baker (C), Jesse Nagle (BEA)
Last meeting: Bald Eagle Area 29-7 in Week 5
Players to watch: QB/WR Jeff Hoenstine (C), QB Jaden Jones (BEA)
The Skinny: Bald Eagle Area will open the playoffs with a familiar opponent Friday night. The Central Dragons traveled to Wingate to take on the Eagles in Week 5 of this season and will do the same this week.
Central relies on do-it-all offensive weapon Jeff Hoenstine to get its offense going. Hoenstine is a freshman and lines up all over the field on offense. Hoenstine has 731 passing yards, 299 rushing yards, and 345 receiving yards this season and has accounted for 14 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. The freshman weapon will play a pivotal role for the Dragons this weekend as they’ll try to earn coach Dave Baker his 200th win. Hoenstine will have to be a star if the Dragons want to upset Bald Eagle Area this weekend.
The Eagles are led by senior quarterback Jaden Jones, who can impact the game in multiple ways. Jones is a dual threat and has proven his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs all season. Jones has 1,095 passing yards and 16 touchdowns this season while only throwing two interceptions, according to MaxPreps. He also has 423 rushing yards on 77 carries this season. Jones is the engine that makes the Bald Eagle offense run and will play a big role in deciding if the Eagles can advance to the District 6 Class 3A title game next week.
Marion Center (7-3) at Penns Valley (9-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: Adam Rising (MC), Marty Tobias (PV)
Players to watch: RB Garet Wells (MC), QB Aaron Tobias (PV)
The Skinny: Penns Valley enters the week coming off a bye in the final week of the season. The Rams didn’t play in Week 10 after the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties forfeited the game due to injuries. They’ll take on a Marion Center Stingers team coming off a loss.
The Stingers fell to Meyersdale last week, 24-14. They’ll need to rebound to take down the Rams. Marion Center will lean on senior running back Garet Wells. Wells is the focal point of the Stingers’ offense and he’ll be key to earning a win Saturday. The Stingers are expected to run the ball heavily against Penns Valley and Wells is the team’s best back. The most important aspect of the Marion Center offense will be its ability to keep the Penns Valley offense off the field. If Wells and the Stingers can do that, they’ll keep this game low-scoring and close.
The Rams haven’t lost since Week 2, when they fell to Clearfield in a 56-49 shootout. They’ve been led by senior quarterback Aaron Tobias, who has been at the top of his game for most of the season. Tobias led the team to its first Mountain League title and is five passing touchdowns away from tying the state’s record for passing touchdowns in a single season. His 47 touchdowns have been evenly distributed throughout the season. He’s thrown at least four touchdowns in nine of the team’s 10 games this season, according to MaxPreps. If he can keep up his high level of play, the Rams will have an excellent shot to advance to next week’s District 6 Class 2A semifinals against Richland.