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Sheffey, State College grind out District 6 6A Championship win over Altoona

Tagged under: Centre County Report, District 6, News, Playoffs

| November 11, 2022

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – D’Antae Sheffey lived up to the hype in his first playoff game as the freshman ran for three touchdowns to help lead State College over Altoona in the District 6 Class 6A Championship game.

The first time that #1 State College (10-0) and #2 Altoona (6-5) met back in Week 4, State College ran for six touchdowns in a 55-14 beatdown. This time around it would be a bit of a different game, as Altoona came to play.

After the State College defense forced a quick three and out, Sheffey wasted no time as he ran for 45 yards to get down deep into Altoona territory. He capitalized on that big play with a seven-yard touchdown run to get the scoring started.


The teams would trade punts back and forth a few times until Altoona got the ball back at their own 16. State College was locking up Altoona star running back Alexander Yost for much of the first half, but change-of-pace back Julian Hazlewood broke off a few big runs to power the Altoona offense.

Not only did Altoona tie the game up on this drive, but they shaved off over eight minutes of clock in the process as Alexander Yost punched in a three-yard score to tie the game up with the half starting to wind down.

The key for Altoona to stay in this game was to keep the high-powered State College offense off the field as much as possible and control the clock. The game was going exactly as they had planned so far.

That was until State College started their drive with under two minutes left looking to get some points before the half.

Finn Furmanek and the State College offense moved quickly, and a big scramble by Furmanek had the Little Lions inside the Altoona 20 with 38 seconds left. Once again it was D’Antae Sheffey making things happen for his second touchdown in as many quarters to put State College up 14-7.

This is a State College team that quite frankly has not faced an incredible amount of adversity this season as a whole, and this drive went a long way in showing what kind of a team Finn Furmanek and his guys really are.

“Finn is special, he’s a great young man, leader, and captain for us and he understands the game of football,” State College Head Coach Matt Lintal said. “I think we scored in maybe 35 seconds, and that was really a game changing drive. We picked up so much momentum in that drive alone and Finn did a tremendous job of executing our offense in a real hurried but controlled way.”

State College had the momentum on their side heading into halftime after scoring and being set to receive the ball, but Altoona wasn’t going to go away without a fight. Not in a rivalry game like this on this stage.

The teams would trade punts once again, and it looked like it was going to be more of the same with a 3rd and 16 coming up for State College. Finn Furmanek and D’Antae Sheffey wanted no part of that, as they connected for a 17-yard reception to move the sticks and keep the drive alive.

Fast forward in the drive, it was WR Donte Nastasi this time rushing for a 19-yard touchdown on a reverse to give the Little Lions a bit of breathing room as they went up 21-7.

Altoona had one last chance to stay in this game as they had a 4th and 7 from the State College 42 with the fourth quarter having just begun, but the Little Lions defense held strong as they did for most of the night and forced the turnover on downs.

“That’s a good Altoona offense with tough kids out there running and executing, so to be able to hold them to seven points is tremendous,” Lintal said. “It’s tough to simulate that in practice, so for our kids to be able to come out, slow them down, and keep them out of the end zone most importantly was huge.”

D’Antae Sheffey put the metaphorical icing on the cake, as he ran for 57 yards to open up the next State College drive. He would get all the way down to the one yard line and proceed to punch it in on the very next play.

Sheffey ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries on the evening.

“D’Antae is a tremendous young man, he’s a freshman doing the things he’s doing by getting the tough yards, running with passion, and running behind his guys,” Lintal said. “You get him in space and obviously he can make some big plays so he’s a fun kid to coach and he adjusts on the fly.”

The clock hit all zeroes and once again the State College Little Lions were District 6 Class 6A Champions. This is the 20th District Championship for the program, and eighth in nine years since Matt Lintal took over.

For Coach Lintal and his team, this is just another step towards where they want to be.

“As I said to the kids in the huddle there, it’s another box that we get to check off,” Lintal said. “One of the goals that you have to start the year is to get to check off undefeated season, then you get to check off Mid-Penn Commonwealth Champions, and now District Champions. I couldn’t be more proud obviously; we’ve met every goal to this point so hopefully we can keep them coming.”

State College will get the chance to continue their magical season on their home field next week, as the winner of Taylor Allerdice (District 8) and McDowell (District 10) will come to town and try to give the Little Lions their first and only loss of the season.

As for Altoona, they finish their season 6-6 and a win shy of a District Championship. It is obviously a very disappointing result for the Mountain Lions, but they played about as well as anyone expected them to and really made it a competitive game.

“Credit to Altoona because they did a great job, they played a different defense against us,” Lintal said. “They did some different things offensively that we had to adjust to so credit to them, they had a great season and put things together. I’m really proud of our kids for staying resilient.”

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