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State College’s Finn Furmanek leads the West over East, 24-16, in the big school PFCA East-West All-Star game

Written by: on Saturday, May 27th, 2023. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.


Photos courtesy of Matt Topper

HARRISBURG, PA — Finn Furmanek had to think about it for a second. Then, it slowly sunk in for the State College 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback: He probably threw his last pass in an organized football game on Sunday in the Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association (PFCA) East-West Large School All-Star game at Bishop McDevitt’s Rocco Ortenzio Stadium in Harrisburg.

In leading the West over the East, 24-16, Furmanek was named the West MVP after completing 8 of 13 passes for 109 yards and rushing for 71 yards on 10 carries. He’s going to Penn State as a preferred walk-on—and as a tight end.

So, he clung to his MVP plaque and absorbed the moment.

The East MVP was McDevitt’s, Kade Werner.

“This is probably the last time I threw a pass in a game, and it’s definitely different because I played quarterback my whole life,” Furmanek said. “I’m excited for the challenge. I have to beef up a little bit to play tight end, and I can use what I experienced at quarterback. It will be almost like I’ll be playing a different game. I think I had seven receptions this year.

“This is my last high school game.”

He reports to Penn State on August 1. The Nittany Lions want him up around 240. He’s currently 215.

“I can definitely eat what I want, but I do have to eat clean,” he said. “I have to eat proteins and good carbs. This will hit me later that this is my last high school game. And hey, you never know, I may throw a pass at Penn State, though it’s not too likely. I’m not going to give my hopes completely away. I’m always going to be ready to throw a ball.”

For a game in which offense came as a premium over the first 24 minutes, both teams opened up in the second half, scoring on four consecutive series.

The West opened the second half of a one-score game with a 19-play, 9-minute, 54-second drive. The West team converted four third downs and one fourth down on the series, which ended on McKeesport’s Bobbie Boyd slipping into the end from two yards out, giving West a 17-3 lead.

Of the 19 plays, the West pounded the East with 17 runs, which exhausted the East defense on a stuffy afternoon.

East responded with its best drive of the day, going 86 yards over 10 plays, helped along by a West interference penalty. That series ended when Coatesville’s Harrison Susi scrambled into the end zone from the one with 9:05 left in the game.

The West put an exclamation point on it, answering the East score with a six-play, 75-yard drive, giving West what seemed to be a safe two-score 24-9 lead when State College’s Donte Nastasi ran in for a 3-yard score with 7:28 left to play.

Not willing to relent, the East team came back again to pull within a score, when Emmaus’ Jake Fotta hit Central Dauphin’s David Chase in the corner of the end zone with a 19-yard touchdown pass with 5:25 left, pulling to within 24-16.

Inside of two minutes to play, the East had a chance to tie it when it drove to the West 10. The big play came on a 66-yard completion from Susi to Elizabethtown’s Braden Cummings. But unable to budge an inch from there, the East tried a gadget play that backfired, when Peters Township’s Brendan McCullough intercepted the East’s last-gasp at the five with 1:19 left.

From there the West drained the clock towards a 24-16 final.

On the East side, Imhotep Charter’s Mysir Mayo had a fantastic game, with a few sacks, a tackle for loss, and multiple quarterback pressures. The IUP-bound defensive end also went through something no one else on the field did—play in two all-star games in two days, appearing for the Philadelphia Public League on Saturday in the Philadelphia City All-Star Game.

He lost 14 pounds in two days, and if possible, played far better tired then he did in the first day on Saturday. He’s projected to play strong-side defensive end at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“I’m tired, man,” Mayo said with a smile. “I can’t wait to go home and sleep 18 hours. I took an ice bath last night and fell asleep on the way here. I felt I played better today than I did on Saturday. I played everywhere on Saturday. Today, I was just a d-end.

“It was my last high school game. I’m not sad at all. I can’t wait to test my skills against the older guys at IUP. I weighed this morning at 230, and Saturday morning, I was around 244. I can’t wait to sleep.”

The first half was a defensive struggle. The West went into intermission with a 10-7 lead, thanks to one play made by Cumberland Valley’s Isaac Sines’ 84-yard touchdown run with 9:20 left in the half. On the play, Sines pulled off a great fake, sending the East defense towards the center of the field, while he tucked the ball and scooted through the right side.

Hardly anyone noticed.

Sines’ considerable speed made the TD possible. No one could catch up to him as he ripped down the near sideline for a 10-0 West lead.

It could have been worse for the East.

On the ensuing kickoff, there was a mix-up on the East return, leaving the ball free down the field at the East 18. It is where Carlisle Area’s Ez Thomas fell on it. The West looked like it was going to take a big lead when the East defense stepped in and stopped the West offense. A West penalty stymied the drive, and the West was forced to try a 34-yard field goal, which missed.

The East offense, energized by the good fortune, drove to the West 18, before Altoona Area’s Manny Miller pulled down Fotta for a 6-yard loss, back at the 24.

That forced Parkland’s Gryffin Mitstifer to boot a 41-yard field goal with 2:52 left in the half. Cedar Cliff’s Derek Witmer put the West on the board first with a 19-yard field goal on the West’s opening drive.


Scoring Summary

West 3 7 7 7-24

East 0 3 0 13-16

1st Quarter

West – Derek Witmer 19 FG, 6:39

2nd Quarter  

West – Isaac Sines 84 run (Derek Witmer kick), 9:29

East –  Gryffin Mitstifer 41 FG, 2:52

3rd Quarter

West – Bobbie Boyd 2 run (Witmer kick), 2:06

4th Quarter

East – Harrison Susi 1 run (kick failed), 9:05

West – Donte Nastasi 3 run (Witmer kick), 7:28

East – David Chase 19 pass from Jake Fotta (Tom Quintois kick), 5:25

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball.

Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball

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