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Little Lions falter in Harrisburg 32-17

Written by: on Sunday, October 7th, 2018

 

State College entered their first real road test Saturday on Harrisburg coming off of a perfect victory at home against the Central Dauphin East Panthers. Their opponent, Harrisburg, was also coming off of five straight wins against lower opponents. The game was essentially the de facto MidPenn Commonwealth Championship, as the Cougars had beaten Central Dauphin the week before with the Rams still on the schedule for the Lions.

State College had been battling injuries all year, with senior defensive linemen, Cole Urbas and Titus Thompson both out, along with center Jason Cameron. To complicate matters, main running back, Isaiah Edwards and starting left tackle, James Pone were suspiciously missing in action on Saturday, leaving State College to fill two key offensive line positions against a very strong Harrisburg defense.

The missing players on the offensive side of the ball could be felt throughout the game for the Little Lions. “We had a lot of mistakes in the first half,” State College coach Matt Lintal said, “A lot of fresh faces out there that saw significant time, the kids stepped up and had a nice game.”

One of those fresh faces was Logan Leib, who saw significant time at both tackle positions, rotating with Addison Darcy, “(the game) was kinda all over the place,” Leib said “I was trained to play right tackle, you just gotta focus and go in.”

The Harrisburg defense was unbeatable in the first half, holding the electric State College offense to just a field goal as well as an Elijah Scott pick 6 midway through the second quarter to give Harrisburg an 18-3 lead.

As for the Harrisburg offense, Kane Everson was lights out once again. Donte Kent caught two touchdown passes in the first half while the backfield for State High struggled.

Coming into the second half, State High began to swing momentum. Two consecutive three and outs for the State High defense followed by an interception would help to turn momentum despite the score still being 24-3 entering the 4th. A long State High drive at the beginning of the 4th capped by a TD, followed by a Nathan Lusk interception and another State High touchdown would put the Lions within 7 with 6 minutes remaining, however on the ensuing drive, Harrisburg would march down the field and put 8 on the board to effectively finish off the game. Harrisburg coach, Calvin Everett was pleased, “We had our back against the wall, I think pretty much the first half we were in control, but you know State College is a great football team and I knew they were going to come out and continue to swing, but our guys stuck in there and fought and fought, and the old saying, bend but don’t break, that’s exactly what happened in the fourth quarter.”

Synopsis: State College was outmatched. Despite the resiliency shown in the 4th quarter, for much of the game, the offensive line struggled without the veteran leadership of James Pone. The lack of a power running game after the departure of Edwards was blatant, and Tommy Friberg wasn’t given enough time to throw downfield for much of the game. The Defense played the best the have played all year in the second half, and it gave the team a chance, but the lack of presence in the backfield on the final drive would hinder their chances of a comeback.

What’s Next?: The State College offense has to figure out a solution at running back, left tackle, and center quickly as they face the vaunted CD Rams defense next week on the road, while Harrisburg will travel to Chambersburg. 

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