Tigers happy to reunite with State College

After beginning the 2018 season with two impressive road victories, the Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers open the home portion of their schedule tonight against a formidable foe.

Unbeaten State College (2-0) visits Tiger Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The Hollidaysburg-State College rivalry, which began back in 1919, was rekindled a couple years ago, and Tigers coach Homer DeLattre is glad to have State College back on the schedule.

“We’ve played them the last two years, and it’s great to get them back on our schedule,” said DeLattre, whose team left the WPIAL after the 2015 season and is now playing an independent schedule. “They’re definitely one of the top six to eight teams in the state of Pennsylvania. They’re a very athletic team, a very well-coached team with great skill players, they’re good up front, and they’ve got a good kicking game.

“They’re just a real solid program,” DeLattre said. “We like to challenge ourselves with playing a very good schedule. We want to play the best, and we put them (back) on the schedule because of that.”

State College opened the season with a 35-12 victory over Mifflin County. Last Friday, the Little Lions traveled to New Jersey and defeated Saint Augustine Prep, 19-7.

Senior quarterback Tommy Friberg threw for 191 yards in last week’s game, including a pair of touchdown passes of 77 and 74 yards to senior slotback Cohen Russell.

“It was a really intense game,” State College coach Matt Lintal said. “We traveled four and a half hours, we got (ahead) early, and we were able to maintain that lead. The kids really stepped it up when they had to against a very good football team.”

For the season, Friberg has completed 12 of 21 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and Russell has caught four passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Isaiah Edwards has rushed for 126 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard TD run in last week’s game.

“They’ve got great speed, so limiting the big plays against them will be very important,” DeLattre said of State College. “Last week, they scored three touchdowns from over 70 yards, and in their first game, they had (451) yards in total offense. Their quarterback can both throw the ball well and run the ball well, and they’re a very explosive team that is capable of scoring on every play.”

Hollidaysburg opened the season with a 42-27 win over Altoona at Mansion Park, and defeated Mifflin County, 39-28 last week.

Senior quarterback Brady Walters has given the Golden Tigers a splendid mix of running and passing. In the Tigers’ first two games, Walters has rushed for 226 yards on 40 carries and 3 touchdowns, while completing 23 of 41 passes for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last week against Mifflin County, Walters completed 17 of 33 passes for 234 yards and 2 scores.

Senior Jacob Sensenig has caught 6 passes for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns for Hollidaysburg, while junior Hunter Barr has rushed for 137 yards on 20 carries — a 6.9 yards-per-carry average — and a TD.

“Hollidaysburg is an extremely well-coached football team,” Lintal said. “I think Homer (DeLattre) does a fantastic job dealing with the players as players and as people. Their kids play extremely hard, and I have a ton of respect for their program.”

Hollidaysburg is looking toward tonight’s game with great anticipation.

“We’re extremely excited for the game,” Walters said. “They’re a really good team, but we’ve practiced hard all week and prepared for this game just like we prepare for any other team. We’ve just got to stay focused, play hard for all four quarters, and minimize their big plays.”

Senior center Trevor Mitchell is part of a Tigers’ offensive line that drew high praise for DeLattre for its play over the first two weeks of this season. Mitchell said that the Golden Tigers will be raring to go tonight.

“State College definitely has a great program, and it’s definitely a big game for us,” Mitchell said. “They’ve been very successful, but we have a lot of guys coming back (from last season), and we’re ready to give them a game, and take it to them.”