STATE COLLEGE — In high school football, the title of team captain is generally reserved for seniors.
Jordan Misher is the exception.
A junior tailback for the State College High football team, Misher has stepped into a leadership role for the Little Lions in his third year in the program.
“He’s such a great kid,” State College coach Matt Lintal said. “He does a tremendous job every day in practice, and he does a tremendous job out here on Friday nights.”
Misher is more than just a leader. Eight games into the season, he has established himself as one of the elite running backs in the Mid Penn Conference.
So far, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior has rushed for 906 yards on 166 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry, and eight touchdowns. He also has 15 receptions for 129 yards and a score. When needed, he comes off the bench to play defensive back. He’s also returned kickoffs and punts and is averaging 148 all purpose yards per game.
“This season has been good for me,” Misher said. “I think I’ve been successful because of my (offensive) line. They’ve been doing a good job, and our quarterback, Johnny Weakland, has been having a very good season, as well. He picks the whole team up when we’re down.”
“I think he’s the best back in the Mid Penn,” Lintal said. “He’s not only fast and elusive but he’s got great vision and he’s tough. He just plays hard.”
In what has been an up-and-down season for the Little Lions, Misher has been arguably the brightest spot for the 3-5 squad.
Against Harrisburg on Oct. 10, Misher was his usual explosive self, rushing for 100 yards on 22 carries and scoring once in a game that the Little Lions fell 43-29 for their second straight loss.
Asked about his performance, he kept things in perspective.
“We’re beating ourselves up,” Misher said. “There’s a lot of mental mistakes we made. We just need to find it within ourselves, and the one thing the team is doing a good job with, is keeping our heads up and going into next week with motivation.”
After Friday’s 14-12 loss to Central Dauphin East, the Little Lions still have two regular-season games left before the District 6/9 Class AAAA playoffs.
They will need Misher to continue producing.
With his average of 113.3 yards per game, he likely will keep it up, despite being a focus for opposing defenses.
He has been impressing State College fans for almost two years now. As a sophomore, Misher started and ran for 753 yards and nine touchdowns on 137 carries.
Having tasted the spotlight, Misher still approached the offseason as if he had something to prove.
“I worked very hard in the offseason,” Misher said. “I was hoping I would have a season like this. My goal was to work on my speed and have a higher level of burst.”
Misher has another year before he has to decide on his plans after State College. He knows that he wants to play football past high school.
Though he said he would love to stay local and play for Penn State, he understands he may have to go elsewhere to fulfill his dream of playing college football.
“I would work really hard anywhere to earn a spot,” he said.