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Written by: Billy Splain on Sunday, December 5th, 2021
Matt Lintal congratulates his players after 49-28 season ending loss. Pics Mark Helbley
For the Little Lions in 2021, the season was about as down and up as it gets. After opening the year with a win, the Little Lions dropped their home opener to Downingtown East, their season went win, win, loss, loss, win, loss, and then something clicked in a 15-13 loss to Harrisburg. It was a game State High had a chance to win but came up a two point play short of the tie. “We had Owen Yerka and Brady Bendik running the ball early in the season but with the injuries we had to switch it up” said head coach Matt Lintal.
State High started the season using three different quarterbacks, none of which were starters at the end of the season. “We put Owen at quarterback and went more with Brady before the Harrisburg game. They are kind of a two back set with just one back. That gave us a extra blocker and it worked for us” said Lintal. The Little Lions also benefitted from getting the very athletic Jashaun Green back in the game after missing time with an injury. Green had 2 touchdown receptions and 120 yards receiving Saturday. Lintal said that “changing quarterbacks all season was challenging but we have a great coaching staff that studies the game and does a great job. ”
After the loss to Harrisburg, State high rattled off four playoff wins, including a revenge win of sorts over Mid Penn champ Harrisburg, to reach the state semi-final game for the first time since 2009. There, they ran into the best athlete they’ve seen all year in Eli Heidenreich, who torched the Lions for 5 touchdowns and 350 yards handing them their final loss of the season.
“He’s a dude. He’s a tremendous player and we knew that we had to stop him coming in”said Lintal of Heidenreich. “Credit to them though, they found ways to use him and get the job done.” But you could still see the bag of changes that got State High that far. Bendik ran for 98 yards and Yerka added 62.
I’m proud of these kids. Obviously you want to keep winning. They never quit believing. They trusted the process and they’re certainly better for it.
State College’s season ends with a 8-6 record.
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