State College at St. Augustine Game Preview
Written by: Nate Grella on Thursday, August 30th, 2018
The Little Lions looked strong last week during a 35-12 win over Mifflin County at home. Tommy Friberg was a near-perfect quarterback and Wide Receivers, Keaton Ellis and Cohen Russell, gave Friberg a healthy dose of weapons. The defense was strong, although faced containment issues late in the 2nd quarter. This week, State High will take a four hour drive southeast to play New Jersey catholic prep school, St. Augustine. While most of the nation had their opening games last Friday, St. Augustine was an exception and will be opening up at home at 6 PM against the Little Lions.
Last year, Coach Pete Lanceletta went 5-5 and 2-2 at home and 3-3 on the road. The team really never had any consistency and their offense, although having a maximum of yards in both the passing and running game, struggled to score points throughout the season. The defense, on the other hand, looked stellar in their wins, as in all five of them, no team scored over 7 points. Even in their losses, the Defense looked looked above average, as only once throughout the year they gave up more than 27 points.
St. Augustine Offense
St. Augustine returns starter Chris Allen from a year ago. A true passing quarterback, Allen had 1211 passing yards last year and averaged 13.2 yards a pass. Allen also had -17 rushing yards. Also in the backfield, St. Augustine had a three-headed monster in Patrick Smith, True Robinson, and Sincere Rhea. Over the offseason, rushing leader, Patrick Smith was recruited to play for rival, Holy Spirit, leaving Robinson and Rhea returning. Robinson had 488 yards on 129 carries while Rhea had 75 yards on 14 carries. St. Augustine loses their two top receivers as well in Xavier File and Shamere Collins, who combined for over 70% of the receiving yards. In their stead are returning letter winners, Jaylen DeCoteau, Justin Shorter, and Anthony Bevilacqua. All three shined when they played a year ago, but it remains to be seen how their play translates with more reps. St. Augustine loses all five starters on the offensive line over the offseason and only have one upperclassmen, Justin Mirenda.
Synopsis: The State High secondary and linebackers should have their hands full with the amount of weapons and skill players St. Augustine has, but the Offensive Line is extremely mismatched. St. Augustine needs to score a lot of points to beat State High in this game and with a brand new O-Line, even with the amount of talent at skill positions, that doesn’t seem likely
St. Augustine Defense
The defense as a unit shined last year for St. Augustine, but they lose most of their talent on the Defensive line and in the secondary. FS Shamere Collins and CB Sean Mulhern leave large gaps that need to be filled by inexperienced freshmen and sophomores. The same can be said for losing Yiannis Balis and twins Matthew and Jack Compton on the line. St. Augustine does return all of it’s linebackers in Joe Bonzcek and Shane Quast, who both were first and second on the team in tackles in 2017. In the secondary, Jaylen DeCoteau, Anthony Bevilacqua, and Logan Hone will lead a group of youngsters. Up front, only Isaiah Raikes is returning.
Synopsis: St. Augustine has to replace a lot, especially up front. Another mismatch on the line should aid the State High running game like it did last week. The strategy going into the game should be similar to Mifflin County. If State High keeps the ball away from the linebackers, scoring points should not be a problem.
Score Prediction: 23-13
The mismatch on the lines are extremely hard to ignore. On St. Augustine’s entire roster, only five players are over 230 pounds, while State High has fourteen. There isn’t a huge difference between the teams in regards to skill players. The devil’s advocate could say that St. Augustine has been preparing for State High for months while State High was preparing for Mifflin County, and while that is true, one cannot ignore the warning signs when looking at what St. Augustine lost over the offseason.
Fun Fact: In the past ten years, State High has only played out of state three times, in 2014 against Martinsburg (WV), in 2010 against Our Lady of Good Council (MD), and in 2011 against St. Anthony’s (NY).
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