Powell: Bald Eagle Area is looking at a potential undefeated season

By ANDREW POWELL

apowell@lockhaven.com

WINGATE — After the three performances that Bald Eagle Area has put up to have them at 3-0 this season, Wingate has to be rockin’.

I mean, seriously, it’s been blowout after blowout after blowout.

Their wins have came by outscoring opponents by an incredible total of 148-48 — not to mention the massive statistics that BEA has been calculating as well.

If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on over at Bald Eagle Area High School, now is the time to pay attention.

Let’s start with week one — the 50-6 blowout against Troy in BEA’s season and home opener.

Quarterback Jaden Jones was nearly flawless in that game, putting himself on the map for the 2018 season right away. He threw 16 of 23 with a mammoth 487 yards and five touchdowns to go along with it, along with a 99-yard bomb — he also rushed for 18 yards and punched in another touchdown on the ground. And his QB rating came in at a whopping 115.5.

Jones had to make his wide receivers happy too — all three of Gage McClenahan, Kaden Bittinger and Mathew Reese each had over 100 yards. McClenahan pulled in 168 yards and two touchdowns, Bittinger racked in 146 yards and had a touchdown himself, and Reese joined the action with 129 yards and also had a touchdown. Another wide receiver, Kael Gardner, also caught a touchdown that night as well.

Lord have mercy, put these kids on my fantasy team.

And if you think things couldn’t have gotten any better for BEA’s offensive production, you might want to take a look at the rushing game — Blake Roberts had 83 yards on just six attempts.

That night, Bald Eagle Area combined for a total of 589 all-purpose yards.

And then on the opposite end of the ball, they dominated as well — altogether, the defense collected 74 total tackles, three interceptions, three fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks.

Just a beautiful, dominant brand of football.

And the steamrolling continued in week two facing off against Philipsburg-Osceola — a contest they won, 49-14.

Jaden Jones had another great game, throwing 15 of 21 for 219 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, he’d punch in 55 yards and two touchdowns. He’d collect six touchdowns altogether when the smoke cleared.

Nick Turner was the star wide receiver that night, pulling in four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Turner became the fourth Bald Eagle Area receiver in two games to pull in 100 receiving yards, proving that BEA has weapons in multiple directions.

Reese and Gardner would also get back in the action themselves, collecting a touchdown reception apiece against the Mountaineers. Wide receiver Gage McClenahan would see his impact on the ground, rushing for 57 yards.

And speaking of the rushing game against P.O., Blake Roberts once again got close to an 100-yard game — he’d rush for 89 yards on just 11 attempts. Tommy Snyder would also join in, gathering a rushing touchdown.

Last Friday night in Week 3, yet another dominating performance took place from the Bald Eagles — this time winning against Penns Valley, 49-28.

The stats, once again, were something to marvel at.

Star quarterback Jaden Jones once again lit it up, throwing a nearly perfect 17 of 20 for 323 yards and four touchdowns.

Assisting Jones in the receiving department was Gage McClenahan with four receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Kaden Bittinger put up another power performance himself, collecting six receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown. Tommy Snyder was also involved catching a 68 -yard bomb that ended up being a touchdown catch. Matthew Reese also pulled in three receptions for 46 yards.

McClenahan also continued his star statistics on the ground, rushing for 62 yards and one touchdown. Blake Roberts once again had a good performance, rushing for 63 yards and one touchdown himself.

Watch out for that duo between McClenahan and Roberts in the rushing game, there’s obviously something developing there. It’ll be interesting to see how high of a peak those two can hit together. Statistically, they keep increasing the production, so there’s a lot of potential there — and man, just imagine the damage it could do with that already-lethal passing game.

Defensively against Penns Valley, the play wasn’t stellar from the Bald Eagles, but there shouldn’t be too much concern. The Rams’ quarterback Aaron Tobias threw for over 400 yards the week prior against Clearfield in a 56-42 loss.

After three weeks of football have been completed, the Bald Eagles now sit with a 3-0 undefeated record — playing dominant and exciting football. And, that’s the thing that gets me the most with this team — they’re dominant AND entertaining. You know the stats will fly every time BEA plays, and it’s incredibly fun to watch.

The potential is incredibly high for the Bald Eagles in 2018. I knew this in the preseason when I predicted them to have a winning record, and they’re delivering on their expectations — and much higher on an analytical basis.

But can Bald Eagle Area continue to play at this level and continue their undefeated ways as the season continues?

BEA’s next two opponents, Bishop Carroll and Central, are both sitting with 1-2 records right now — neither are delivering on either side of the ball, offensively and defensively. It’s been a horrendous performance from both teams. Both have wins, yes, but the competition hasn’t exactly been ‘Grade A.’

Bald Eagle should continue to shine and put up numbers on the way to an undefeated 5-0 record.

Then we get to Tyrone, who are currently sitting at 3-0 themselves — and are playing a brilliant brand of football, especially on the defensive side. They’ve only allowed 28 points in three games. After the first game, the Golden Eagles had offensive blowouts. Problems could arise for BEA in this one, but the chances look good for the Bald Eagles with it being their homecoming game, and, well, having the monster talent that they have.

Bald Eagle Area could be looking at a potential 6-0 record when it’s all said and done.

BEA’s next opponent, Huntingdon, has entered the new season much weaker than they were last year. They’re now at 1-2 for the season after only suffering two losses the whole year in 2017. Offensively however, the Bearcats aren’t bad. With the exception of the shutout against a Bellefonte defense that’s been fantastic this year, Huntingdon has been able to put up some points. They’ve put up 61 in two games.

With it being a road contest for the Bearcats, trouble could be on the horizon in this game — but will Huntingdon honestly be able to stop BEA’s explosive offense?

Time will tell, but I’m seeing yet another potential win — sitting at 7-0 for the season if they achieve so.

In week eight, things get even trickier for the Bald Eagles — they face off against a 3-0 Clearfield, a team who has also had an explosive offense throughout the season. It hasn’t been better than BEA’s, but it’s still pretty damn good.

I do have to give the edge to Bald Eagle Area, however. Clearfield was splendid defensively against DuBois and Central, but allowed an insane 42 points against Penns Valley. BEA was able to shut them down a bit better than that. Defense wins championships, and I can’t help but to give BEA the narrow edge as a result — but I wouldn’t be surprised with a shootout in this game, both teams can score. But that Bald Eagles defense is slightly better to be able to pull out yet another potential win. Plus, Bald Eagle Area is in Wingate for this one.

8-0?

Then we arrive into rival territory of the schedule: Jersey Shore and Bellefonte — and both games are on the road.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

This will obviously be the toughest part of the schedule for BEA, but have a strong shot of being 8-0 heading into this game — already accomplishing a solid playoff seeding appearance, but it would still be nice for the Bald Eagles to win their rivalry games, right?

In the first of the two-game series, Bald Eagle Area squares off against the Bulldogs of Jersey Shore. Yeah, they sit at 1-2 right now, but there’s been signs of recovery for JS. After struggling massively on the offensive side of the ball, they lit up rival Montoursville on the road to pull an upset, 30-20.

It looks like the Bulldogs’ offense will be well-recovered by the time Bald Eagle Area heads into Jersey Shore, and it prepares us for an ultimate toss-up game. I’m not sure who to lean for in this game, not even a nudge.

And oh yeah, the Bulldogs’ defense has had a great year up to this point — only allowing a game-high of 20 points against Montoursville. With the offense beginning to click, Shore can become a scary team, but it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up in a shootout with Bald Eagle’s offense.

And then you have BEA’s main rival to close out the season, Bellefonte — a team who has been magnificent on defense, and have things clicking on the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Kyle Myers and running back CJ Funk.

The only thing I can say for this one is it’ll be fun to see the offense of Myers/Funk go up against Jaden Jones and the massive talent that surrounds him — both defenses are shutting down opposition as well.

Again, I have no idea who to pick in another toss-up game, but man, these two games will be so fun to pay attention to as the season closes.

But here’s what you got to look at: Despite the tough competition and toss-up rivalry games, Bald Eagle Area is realistically looking at a potential 10-0 season.

No, I’m not saying it’s going to happen. I’m just saying the potential is strong. Really strong.

This is a really, really good — actually, great — team over in Wingate, and it’s looking like it could be an extraordinarily special year for the Bald Eagle Area High School football program.

I advise all to keep an eye on the Bald Eagles, these kids are rolling right now. And are playing dominant high school football this season that you don’t see every year in this area.

The wins come in monster fashion, the talent is extraordinarily effective, the statistics are video game-like, great coaching is leading the program, the community support is present, the perfect formula is there.

Sky is the limit for these Bald Eagles in 2018.

COMMENTS