State College overcomes turnovers, gets one of their own to squeak out win (gallery) @scoachlintal @HermitsFootball
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, August 31st, 2019
There were several things missing/odd last night in State College for the home opener featuring a Little Lion team expecting to make a deep run in the state playoffs once again. There was no “stadium” per say. No visiting bleachers. The press box consisted of what appeared to be an aluminum tree stand, 2 pop up tents and another open aluminum structure. The scoreboard was on the 50 yard line. (go ahead, ask me how many times I looked to the endzone for info/time/etc….). There were bleachers in each endzone. No locker rooms, well, ok, that was normal at Memorial Field. There were players laying all over the field cramping up all night. What wasn’t missing was a crowd, lights, concession stands, an optimistic Athletic Director (Chris Weakland) and his assistant (Loren Crispell) (who I compliment greatly as well as the SCASD Grounds crew, for getting this field ready while Memorial undergoes major renovations), some major talent that put on one heck of a show, a nice showing of Hermit faithful who made the trip to State College and somehow, a football atmosphere that did seem electric. In the end, State College squeaked out a 20-17 win over the Hermits in the debut of the South Track Field “Stadium”.
Little Lions have high expectations for this 2019 season, but so did the Hermits of St. Augustine NJ. Coming into the game The Hermits featured 6-5, 325 pound Texas A & M commit Isaiah Raikes, a defensive tackle built like a bus that oh yeah, just happens to play full back as well. State College countered with 6-3, 300 pound Addison Darcy. The game started off slow, both teams trading possessions. On their second try with the ball, the Little Lions found some speed and Drysen Green streaked down the sidelines 75 yards to the endzone, but another common factor on the night, penalties, negated the play. Brady Dorner found Jr wide receiver Conrad Moore for a 30 yard gain to the Hermit 28. Several plays later Brady Dorner went in from three yards out to make it 7-0 with 3:14 left in the first quarter.
The Hermits gave State another chance, coughing up the ball at their 41 but Dorner was picked off in the endone by Angelo Vokolos. On the next SC drive, the senior qb appeared to be on his way to a big gain but was stripped of the ball and the Hermits were in business right back at their 41. Hermit QB Trey McLeer hit a nice pass to a receiver inside the ten. Two plays later Raikes plowed his way into the endzone to tie the game at 7 with 6:28 left in the half. Then with just under 2 minutes to play in the half, Green got loose down the sidelines for a 67 yard td and the Little Lions went into the break up 14-7.
St Augustine came out in the second half and took control of the game. After recovering the SC onside kick attempt, the Hermits went to a play that head coach Matt Lintal said “they knew was coming but darned if it didn’t work. We practiced for that play all week.” McCleer lined up wide and took the pitch, then found Vokolos for a big gain inside the 15. Austin Leyman tied the score with a td run and that quick the Hermits tied the game.
Another big break for St Augustine came when the SC punter shanked one, giving the ball to the Hermits at the Little Lion 21. This time the defense held and forced at 38 yard field goal that put the Hermits up 17-14. To start the fourth quarter, the State College defense turned it up a notch and aided by a timely Hermit penalty or two, they slowly put the Little Lions in winning position by flipping the field position advantage. With just over 7 minute to play, Trevor Beck hit Leyman from behind forcing a fumble the rolled right into the arms of Kevin Kurzinger. On fourth down and with just 6:39 to play, Edwards lined up in the wildcat and scored from three yards out in what turned out to be the winning TD.
The Little Lion defense played great all night long, and made the stop to win the game. State College faces Hollidaysburg next week at the now historic South Track Field on Friday night at 7.
Mark Helbley photos
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