WHVL Game of the the Week: Carlisle at State College
Written by: Billy Splain on Thursday, September 28th, 2017
This Friday at Memorial Field in State College, two teams will meet up for a Mid Penn conference battle. But they are coming in on completely opposite results. Carlisle comes to Happy Valley off a tough loss to Central Dauphin, giving up 65 points, while the Little Lions were busy putting together a box full of 1 play drives en route to scoring 62 points at Mechanicsburg, a team that the Thundering Herd needed OT to beat in week one 27-20. But using common opponents to just Mid Penn games just doesn’t work. This conference is brutal and any week you could see an upset. The Herd are hoping this is that week while State College has no intentions of ruining another shot at going deep in the playoffs. Nor do they want to lose their Mid Penn Commonwealth Crown.
“They’re a very talented group, and (WR/PR/DB) Gavin Barnes has played a lot of football for them over the past few years” said SC Head Coach Matt Lintal. “He’s the wildcard for them. We’ve got to minimize his impact.” The State College defense has been playing very well so far, the Carlisle defense has somewhat struggled. On the other side of the ball, again the State College team has been dominant, scoring over 45 points per game. Put that up against the Thundering Herd’s average of just 21 points per game and this matchup looks like another blowout from the Little Lions, but that’s on paper only and as I said, in the Commonwealth league any week you could see an upset.
Offensively for State College it’s simple, or maybe not so simple. Control the tempo and get the ball to their play makers. And they have a lot of play makers. Starting at quarterback Tommy Friberg. He’s tall, has a gun for an arm but can also run. Friberg has thrown for 450 yards and 9 TDs so far. He’s also run for 150. He’ll have plenty of protection up front. The line is led by 6-6, 280 lb Colin DeBoef. It’s a young line but a very good line. SC has a bevy of talented back to carry the rock. Tristen Lyons and Isaiah Edwards have combined for nearly 600 yards and 12 TD. Both are threats to break long runs. At the receiver position the Lions are deep, very deep. Brandon Clark is a tall target that can get up in the air, while Cohen Russell and Keaton Ellis have that break away move and speed after the catch and can score from anywhere on the field. “We’re real excited about Drysen Green who plays the slot” said Lintal. “He does a tremendous job for us as a young guy.”
For Carlisle on offense, they’ll use 2 quarterbacks. Christian Watts and Cole Wolaver have combined for over 500 yards and 6 tds. Their main weapon is Barnes, who’s hauled in 21 passes for 314 yards and 5 of those 6 scores, but look for 6-6 TE Joe Mastrangelo to make a few key catches. When the Herd runs the ball, they look to senior Tristyen Sulich, who has 305 yards on 64 carrie, scoring 4 times. It’s easy to see he’s the workhorse, but when they need the big play they turn to scatback Rojen Porcopio who averages 6.6 yards per carry. Elijah Owens leads a young line. The Herd needs to get of to a fast start if they want to keep up with State College, but they can’t let it turn into a scoring battle or they’ll find themselves behind quickly.
To do that, they’ll have to create confusion, which is something Lintal is very aware of. Defensively Dajuan Barnes and Guiseppe Mazzola lead the Herd line. Sulich and Porcopio will line up at the linebacker spot and Barnes is a DB the Little Lion QBs will want to avoid throwing near. The Herd defense will need to play solid, mistake free ball if the Herd is to have a chance in this game. They will need to get pressure on Friberg, but avoid being burned on the jet sweep with State College runs very well.
Defensively, the Little lions have a whole host of leaders, and defensive end Jackson Heasley leads a line that can be tenacious at times. Heasley leads the team with 28 tackles, 6 for loss and 4 sacks. Tyson Brennan and Cole Urbas join him on that line. Leading the linebackers is Sr. Ian Barr. He’s an old school linebacker that likes to hit. Roaming the backfield are Paul Olivett and PSU Commit Keaton Ellis. Both have extremely fast closing speed. The Herd QBs will have trouble if they try to go deep. Olivett has 2 interceptions. Sam Knipe is another player Lintal is excited about defensively. “He just a great player, he made nearly every tackle for us on kicks last week and he’s going to be in at safety a lot for us.”
the WHVL Game of the Week, broadcast live. Check your local listings for channel.
Friday, Sept 29, Memorial Field in State College 7 pm kick off.
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