Cougars trounce Altoona | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers
Altoona’s CJ Seward tries to get to the edge against Harrisburg on Friday.

Midway through the season, State College and Harrisburg are the frontrunners in the Mid-Penn’s Commonwealth Division.

State came to Mansion Park two weeks ago and blew out the Mountain Lions, largely by rushing around and through them.

Harrisburg took a different tact Friday night, going up top for four first-half touchdown passes while showing off its superior speed that torched Altoona, 48-0, and dampened homecoming.

For the game, the Cougars outgained Altoona 522-87 and limited the Lions to zero net yards in the second half.

Play of the game: Already leading 18-0, Harrisburg’s Shawn Lee Jr. threw a short pass to the left sideline to Kyle Williams, who eluded a tackler and blazed 85 yards for a touchdown with 2:27 left in the second quarter.

Player of the game: Lee completed 9-of-14 for 289 yards and five touchdowns.

Unsung heroes: Harrisburg’s offensive line gave Lee a comfortable pocket and blew open enough holes for the Cougars to rush for 216 yards.

Rugged runner: Mahkai Hopkins, a 240-pound bruiser, led the Cougars with 147 yards on 11 carries, including three for 97 in the first half.

Statistically speaking: Altoona punted eight times and had one partially blocked … The Lions managed one first down in the second half … Harrisburg had three plays of more than 50 yards in the first half.

Altoona coach Vince Nedimyer: “It looks like they’re really fast, but we made a lot of mistakes and they were behind us. Tonight we were not assignment sound. We didn’t do what we were coached to do, and I take responsibility for that. We have to be better as a staff.”

On comparing this game with State College, which beat the Lions 55-14: “The game against State College kind of opened our eyes to the physicality of the league and what we’re used to. Unfortunately, it’s like the same exact thing — this result here, at home.”

Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett: “Our kids played extremely well. They worked hard in practice all week, and we were pretty prepared for tonight, and things went our way. We saw some things we wanted to take advantage of, and our guys did a good job executing.”

Lee: “We had a good game today. It all starts with the O-line and they gave me a lot of time in the pocket. And my wide receivers delivered, getting open.”

Nedimyer on Lee, who is a sophomore: “He throws the ball really well. He does a nice job in the pocket and is a dual-threat kid who will be tough to keep the reins on for two more years.”

Dynamic WRs: Williams and Amir Jones both caught two touchdown passes after Elias Coke — a freshman — opened the scoring with a 56-yard TD reception.

Missed opportunity: You can’t say there’s a turning point in a 48-0 loss, but Altoona did force three Harrisburg punts in the first half and missed a chance early in the second quarter. Down 12-0, the Lions faced a fourth-and-1 at the Cougars’ 35. “You’re in an advantageous place but unfortunately we had another penalty (false start), and things sputtered from there,” Nedimyer said.

Records: Altoona (4-2 overall, 1-2 in the Mid-Penn), Harrisburg (4-1 overall, 3-0 in the Mid-Penn)

Next week: Altoona visits Chambersburg on Friday; Harrisburg hosts Central Dauphin East on Saturday.

Resiliency to be tested: Nedimyer was pleased with how the Lions responded to their loss to State College by going on the road and beating Central Dauphin East the next week. “This has been a resilient group. They’re accountable to everything, and I’m confident we’ll come back strong Monday. Chambersburg is always good and well coached. We have to be ready to move on.”

Notes: Harrisburg’s only loss came to Manheim Township … Lee’s dad, Shawn, is a former Penn State defensive back and coaches the DBs for the Cougars … Lion freshman Logan Wuckovich made a 25-yard return of a fourth-quarter kickoff … Kolin Hite intercepted a Lee pass in the first half, the Cougars’ lone turnover … The honorary captain was Altoona native and local businessman Phil Devorris, a former Mountain Lion track standout and Cornell graduate … Abbie Herncane was named Altoona’s homecoming queen at halftime.


Harrisburg 12 14 16 6 — 48

Altoona 0 0 0 0 — 0

First Quarter

H – Coke 56 pass from Lee (run failed), 11:05

H – Jones 39 pass from Lee (run failed), 1:00

Second Quarter

H – Jones 26 pass from Lee (run failed), 7:35

H – Kyle Williams 85 pass from Lee (Brannon pass from Lee), 2:27

Third Quarter

H – Kyle Williams 33 pass from Lee (Hopkins run), 5:17

H – Hopkins 2 run (Coke pass from Lee), 2:22

Fourth Quarter

H – Lewis 3 run (run failed), 4:32


First downs 15 5

Total yards 522 87

Rushes-yards 30-215 33-38

Yards passing 307 49

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 11-18-1 7-13-1

Punts-avg. 4-29.0 8-32.8

Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1

Penalties-yards 9-62 6-40


RUSHING–Harrisburg, Hopkins 17-147, Lee 5-14, Kyle Williams 6-10, Z. Lewis 2-21, Newman 4-20, J. Lewis 3-8. Altoona, Yost 9-25, Jackson-Shepard 4-14, Freiwald 7-2, Reid 4-4, Wuckovich 1-4, Bettwy 2-3, Seward 3-2, Hardison 1-2, Hazelwood 1-2, Emeigh-Ballos 1-(-20).

PASSING–Harrisburg, Lee 9-14-289, Z. Lewis 1-1-9, Newman 1-2-9. Altoona, Freiwald 7-12-49, Emeigh-Ballos 0-1.

RECEIVING–Harrisburg, Kyle Williams 4-123, Jones 2-65, Coke 1-56, Grandberry 2-45, Proctor 1-9, J. Lewis 1-9. Altoona, Yost 3-23, Hardison 1-15, Reid 2-8, Seward 1-3.

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