VOTE: Which Center County, PA football team will win the most

State College quarterback Owen Yerka makes a pass during the PIAA Class 6A Semi-Final on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 at Mansion Park.  Mt. Lebanon won, 49-28.

State College quarterback Owen Yerka makes a pass during the PIAA Class 6A Semi-Final on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 at Mansion Park. Mt. Lebanon won, 49-28.

adrey@centredaily.com

Center County football is scheduled to begin in August and all five programs will begin camp soon.

The Center Daily Times is conducting a poll for fans to choose the team they think will win the most games in 2022. Will it be Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola or State College? The non-scientific poll will close at noon on July 27, and you can vote as many times as you like.

Here is an overview of the contenders:

Bald Eagle

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Bald Eagle Area’s Camron Watkins stops Jersey Shore’s Brady Jordan during the game on Friday, October 22, 2021. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Bald Eagle had an impressive run last season, going 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain League. The Eagles went 5-2 at home, 2-1 on the road and 1-0 in neutral site games. One of the Eagles’ most impressive feats was beating their opponents 296-163 last season. They accomplished it by running the ball downfield with quarterback Carson Nagle (rising sophomore), who went 168 for 289 (58.1%) for 1,897 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His receivers, rising juniors Cam Watkins and Kahale Burns, as well as rising seniors Elliot Splain and Gavin Eckley, will give Nagle a litany of weapons to work with.

Defensively, Trey Greene (senior rising) leads the middle with 98 total tackles (64 solo) and a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss. Watkins reaches quarterback consistently, racking up 10.5 sacks in 11 games and three quarterback rushes.

Bellefonte

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Bellefonte’s Nolan Weaver lifts the Luther Trophy and after defeating Philipsburg-Osceola High School in a high school football game Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 in Bellefonte, Pa. Noah Riffe nriffe@centredaily.com

Bellefonte are looking to improve on their 2-8 record from last season, going 2-1 at home, 0-6 on the road and 0-1 in neutral site clashes. The Red Raiders finished fifth in the Mountain League in 2021, with a 2-4 record in the league. They beat Philipsburg-Osceola 22-6 on September 3, 2021 and Huntingdon 40-7 on October 8.

Quarterback Trevor Johnson started to see more time as the season progressed. The rising junior played in nine games, going 28 for 66 passing for 397 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Tyler Rice has provided 75 total tackles (34 solo) and is expected to be a defensive leader in his senior year in 2022.

Penns Valley

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Penns Valley football coach Martin Tobias talks with Tanner Ilgen during the game against Philipsburg-Osceola on Friday, September 17, 2021. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Penns Valley surprised many with its 6-5 record, despite losing a number of outstanding seniors the previous year. The Rams made the playoffs, losing 49-28 to Bellwood-Antis on Nov. 5, 2021. They also went 4-3 in Mountain League play.

Rising junior quarterback Jackson Romig impressed, going 85 for 120 (70.8%) on passes for 1,261 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. Romig will have fellow rising junior running back Ty Watson in the backfield. He rushed for 584 yards on 92 carries (6.3 yards per carry) with nine touchdowns. Rising senior Mason Greene rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries (7.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Receiver Miles Brooks, a rising senior, caught 46 passes for 703 yards and seven touchdowns. Flanking him is junior receiver John Meyer, who had 14 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Philipsburg-Osceola

The Mounties went 2-8 last season with their two wins coming up against Huntingdon (September 10, 2021) and Moshannon Valley (September 24, 2021). They will return starting quarterback Ben Gustkey, who went 39 for 109 (35.8%) for 615 yards through the air with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Philipsburg-Osceola will have to replace the trio of senior runners in its Wing-T offense in Matt Martin, Andrew Faust and Luke Hughes, who have combined for over 1,000 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

Martin (80 total tackles) and Hughes (67 total tackles) also led the team defensively last season. Gustkey plays defensive back and returns his performance of 37 tackles last season as a defensive back. He also had one interception and three pass deflections.

Center linebacker Hunter Lyons is a rising senior who had 67 total tackles, along with rising senior defensive end Gavin Lyons, who added 41 total tackles and tied for first with six sacks. Defensive lineman Scott Hess returns with six sacks last year as a junior.

State University

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State College football coach Matt Lintal talks to his players and praises the seniors following the loss to Mount Lebanon in the PIAA Class 6A Semi-Final on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at Mansion Park. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

State College finished with an 8-6 record, advancing to the state semifinals. The Little Lions have a trio of returning quarterbacks in Finn Furmanek (senior), Jack Morris (senior) and Owen Yerka (junior). Furmanek led the team in passing, going 51 for 94 (53.4%) with seven touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 223 yards on 48 carries for six touchdowns. Yerka added 135 carries for 571 yards and four touchdowns. The Little Lions will need to replace outgoing senior receivers Jashaun Green, TJ Yoder, Braden Price and tight end Kyle Kurzinger.

Rising senior JW Scott returns as the leading tackler with 139 total tackles (87 solo), five for loss and three sacks. Stephen Scourtis, a Harvard clerk, has 102 total tackles (59 solo) and a team-high 18 tackles for loss. The senior defensive end led the team with 4.5 sacks in 2021. Rising sophomore linebacker Michael Gaul made 61 total tackles last season and is expected to continue to play an important role in the middle of defense.

This story was originally published July 23, 2022 06:00.

Kyle J. Andrews graduated in 2018 from the University of Baltimore, home of the eternally undefeated bees. Before heading to the Center Daily Times, he spent time as a sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, covering the Ravens and Orioles for 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore Beatdown and Fox Sports 1340 AM.

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