SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP — The Cumberland Valley Eagles knew they gave away last week’s game against Central Dauphin by making mistakes.
The focus was on making plays and not coughing up the ball. Behind a mistake-free offensive game, the Eagles pounded the unbeaten State College Little Lions 36-21 at Chapman Field Friday night.
“We made it a point to focus on every play and not make mistakes,” CV quarterback Jared Plessinger said. “We have confidence in our team and we made plays on both sides of the ball.”
Cumberland Valley took the opening kickoff and drove 73 yards for the first score. The Eagles survived a fourth down play and Galen Witmer drove in from 4 yards out. Connor Strous directed the 10-play drive.
After a possession on each side went nowhere, Jake Palmer intercepted a Tommy Friburg pass and the Eagles moved the ball down the field and scored on a Plessinger 8-yard keeper. The Little Lions blocked the PAT, but a roughing the kicker call gave the Eagles a second chance. Cole McCoy ran the ball in from inside the two for a 15-0 Eagle lead.
State College responded and got on the board as they drove the ball 80 yards. Friburg found Cohen Russell on a wheel route for 23 yards. Cam Renfrew cut the deficit to eight at 15-7 at the half.
State College (5-1, 1-1 Commonwealth), despite missing PSU recruit Keaton Ellis to injury for several weeks, needed a victory to maintain their top spot in the Commonwealth Division as they travel to Harrisburg in two weeks and then play at Central Dauphin on Nov. 3. Each outcome will determine the winner of the Commonwealth. State College tied for the title last year after losing to Central Dauphin in the final regular season game.
Cumberland Valley (4-1, 2-1 Commonwealth) held on the Lions first drive and then drove 62 yards with the final 22 coming on a Plessinger to Zach Snow touchdown catch.
The Eagle defense again made a big stop as they tackled Friburg 1 yard short of a first down on a fourth-down scramble.
Charles Katshir scored the next Eagle touchdown as he took a hand-off in the backfield, sidestepped a defender and raced 16 yards untouched for the score.
State College scored twice in the final quarter to keep the game in reach, but the Eagles just ran the ball down their throats and controlled the clock and the ball.
“We have a lot of confidence in our team — we went for it on fourth down and the play to Katshir was on third and long — if we don’t make it we just punt,” Eagle coach Mike Whitehead said. “We knew we didn’t play well last week and the kids came out focused and ready to play.”
The third down and 9 play was a fade route to Katshir that Plessinger put right on the money for a 43-yard gain. Plessinger scored on a keeper two plays later to salt the game away in the final quarter.
Palmer was a workhorse for the Eagles. He lugged the ball 23 times for 86 yards and added two interceptions in the secondary. Plessinger completed seven of eight passes for 140 yards and a score and ran the ball in twice.