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State College Earns Gritty Win in Cumberland Valley, 16-13

Written by: on Saturday, October 27th, 2018


State College came into to Cumberland Valley stadium Friday night riding a two game winning streak and two dominant wins against District 3 playoff team Central Dauphin and bottom tier Altoona, winning the latter in dominating fashion on Senior Night. Cumberland Valley entered the game with a  three game winning streak of their own and confident, trying to spoil State College’s party before the playoffs.

Throughout the entire season, the State College offense had only been held to under 32 points twice against St. Augustine and Harrisburg and it would be up to the Cumberland Valley Defense to step up to a dynamic two-pronged rushing attack to compete. Led by an experienced secondary in Matthew Barrick and Lukas Wandling, the Eagles defense would make State High one-dimensional, dominating the air and only allowing 7 completions in the air and getting an interception in the process.

The incredible effort in the secondary would force State College to run the ball. Their bread and butter throughout the year, would struggle against Cumberland Valley. Long breakthrough runs were few and far between against strong, experienced linebackers like Derek Sauve and Eli Somerville who would have a combination for 9 tackles.

The State High offense came into the game hot, scoring on the first drive, but a quick Eagles response to tie it at 6 gave the Eagles momentum for the rest of the half. A Jeremy Bullock 13 yard TD reception before the half gave State High the lead before the half.

Throughout the matchup, the State High defense shined against the mystical Wing T offensive attack. Very early on, it became clear that the passing game would be rendered useless against a very strong State High secondary in Keaton Ellis, Tom Bucha and Sam Knipe. Jake Hart and Max Dell’anno combined for 190 yards on the night, but key sacks from Nate Lusk and Jereme Thompson gave State High control of the game. “We did what we could,” Lusk said following the game “13 points is pretty good against a solid offense on senior night, they were coming out to play.”

The Little Lions defense came up huge in the 4th quarter with the Cumberland Valley offense driving in State College territory. Jared Plessinger dropped back on a 4th and 3 and delivered a dart to Stone Huffman to give what looked like Cumberland Valley a deep redzone set of downs, but a strip by Keaton Ellis and recovery led to a Cam Renfrew field goal to put the Lions up by 10.

A quick response by the Eagles was needed as Jared Plessinger and De’llanno led Cumberland Valley down the field for a touchdown. “We were just trying to contain him (Plessinger),” Lusk remarked  “They’ve done the Wing T since 7th grade and you don’t know what they’re gonna do coming out of the same formation.”

The State High offense had to get at least two first downs with 3 minutes remaining in the game and with the Eagles having only one timeout. A personal foul penalty would give the Lions one first down, and a 49 yard rush by Dresyn Green would give the Lions another one to seal the win. “There was a lot of emotion we were going through on that last drive,” Green said “That gave us a lot of momentum.”

Synopsis: A gritty win in ugly weather on a grass field sums up the Lions win succinctly. The State High offense was hot and cold throughout, but the defense came up big in key situations. Although the running game was lethal from the Eagles, the State High secondary dominated in forcing a fumble to turn the tide of the game. For Cumberland Valley, it’s the fitting ending to a disappointing season, but for State High, the game gives things to improve on heading into the Playoffs

What’s Next?: State High will play a home playoff game against Mifflin County, who they had previously beat 35-12 in the first week of the year. If they win, McDowell will be waiting for them in the 6, 8, 10 District Final.

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