State College in the driver’s seat as the regular season winds down
Tagged under: Centre County Report, District 6, News
Brendan Ricciardi | October 17, 2022
They heard the critics.
All year long while State College has been rolling their way to a 7-0 start, they still continue to hear that none of that matters until they beat defending Mid-Penn Commonwealth Champion Harrisburg.
State College went into Harrisburg on Saturday as a team that had been picked to lose in this matchup by a majority of beat writers, and held them to just 6 points in a dominating defensive effort.
What will the critics say now?
D’Antae Sheffey was the bell-cow back in this game for State College, rushing 23 times for 91 yards and a touchdown. Big games have been the standard for the freshman star, but there are some games where you find that you’re going to have to grind out a win instead against a very physical team.
Finn Furmanek did what he had to do at quarterback, competing 8 of 14 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 41 yards on the ground.
That Furmanek touchdown was completed to Michael Gaul, a sophomore wide receiver who has really stepped up and had a fantastic season.
After allowing 6 points in the first quarter, the Little Lions defense decided that was enough and kept Harrisburg off the board for the remainder of the game. With State College leading 17-6 at halftime, there would be just three more points scored in the game as they took this one by a final score of 20-6.
It is remarkable to see what one deep playoff run can do to a program’s morale.
State College went 4-4 last season in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth, a pretty pedestrian regular season. Harrisburg took down State College in the regular season last year before the Little Lions got them back where it mattered most in a thrilling 16-13 postseason win.
That win propelled them into the State Semi-Finals where they ultimately lost to Mt. Lebanon, but it’s not difficult to see what that run did to these kids. This is a team playing with confidence and the mindset that they are going to win no matter who they play. They play like a team that has unfinished business from last season.
So what’s next?
According to the District 6 website, it appears that State College has virtually locked up the #1 seed in the District Playoffs. They sit with a record of 8-0, and Altoona sits in second at 5-3. With only two games to play, it is very likely the Little Lions will earn a bye week into the District 6 6A Championship and take on the winner of Altoona and Mifflin County.
A rematch with Harrisburg would have to wait until later in the state playoffs.
We will have our full Pennsylvania Football News playoff previews later, so for right now, we’ll focus on the rest of the regular season.
State College returns home this Friday to take on Cumberland Valley, who will be hosting the PIAA Football State Championships for the foreseeable future. The Little Lions will end their season with a road matchup against Chambersburg.
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