Little Lions Football Fall to Mt. Lebanon 49-28 in Semifinals


Photo Courtesy of Leighton Smithwick

The Little Lions and Blue Devils square up at the start of a play at Mansion Park, Altoona, on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Jacopo Congiu-Hughes, Staff Writer

On Dec. 4, the State College Little Lions varsity football team competed in their first PIAA semifinals game of the 6A football tournament since 2003. The Little Lions competed against the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils at Mansion Park, Altoona, and after a hard-fought game, lost with a final score of 28-49.  

At the start of the game, Mt. Lebanon took an early lead in the first quarter, with two touchdowns by wide receiver Eli Heidenreich and one by running back Alex Tecza. Rounding out the first quarter, senior Jashaun Green, wide receiver for the Little Lions, scored a touchdown for State College, making the score at the end of the first quarter 7-21.

Throughout the second quarter, Mt. Lebanon was able to score three more touchdowns. However, senior Brady Bendik scored another Little Lion touchdown right before the half, making the score before halftime 14-42.

Going into the second half of the game, the Little Lions needed to make up some ground, and Bendik and Green did just that. Both sides were not giving up any points throughout the 3rd quarter. Mt. Lebanon was able to score another touchdown at the end of the quarter, but the Little Lions were not backing down.

Opening up the fourth quarter, junior Stephen Scourtis caught a 22-yard pass, opening up the path for the Little Lions to gain momentum. After that pass, the Little Lions were on the 35-yard line, and Bendik was able to run in for another Little Lion touchdown. Following, the Little Lion’s defense stopped Mt. Lebanon’s offense after 3 plays, allowing for the Little Lion offense to restart their momentum up the field.

With a combination of running and passing plays, the Little Lion offense was knocking at the door of another touchdown. Sophomore uarterback Owen Yerka threw a side pass to Green who ran in for a touchdown, but after a penalty was called, and the offense was pushed back, further from the end zone. However, Yerka and Green ran the same play, and this time with no penalties, Green scored the final touchdown of the game, ending the game with a final score of 28-49. 

“I’m proud of everyone on the team for giving it their all the whole season,” Yerka said. “I want to thank all of the seniors for being great leaders and I’m looking forward to next year.” 

The team competed in more PIAA 6A tournament games this year than they have in 18 years, and is looking forward to coming back next year a stronger team.