BROCKWAY — Play on.
The looming weather for Friday night will be at least wet and windy, so how it’ll factor into the District 9 Class 3A Championship game at Varischetti Field depends on what teams try to do the most.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to next week’s first round of the PIAA playoffs against the District 6 champion, either Penn Cambria or Central-Martinsburg.
Pass in the rain? The Dutch (7-3) have the ability pass or run. Senior quarterback Charlie Coudriet has thrown for 1,836 yards (116-for-215) with 23 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. Coudriet is also the second-leading rusher with 636 yards and 10 TDs with Matt Davis leading the Dutch with 651 yards and four TDs.
Clearfield (7-3) is definitely run-heavy, averaging 267 of their 335 offensive yards per game on the ground with sophomore Brady Collins sitting at 1,285 yards on 153 carries and 13 TDs. Carter Chamberlain (94-531, 9 TDs) will also get carries for the Bison.
So both teams could win the game on the ground if the wet and windy night dominates game plans. They’re coached by two of the deans of District 9 with its winningest coach in Clearfield’s Tim Janocko (306-120-3) and St. Marys’ Chris Dworek (137-121), who are in their 37th and 24th overall seasons respectively, Janocko all at Clearfield and Dworek with stints at Brookville and Keystone as well.
It’s the third straight year that the Bison and Dutch will play for the Class 3A title. Last year, the Bison beat the Dutch 49-27 for the D9 title and in 2020, they topped the Dutch, 41-30. It’s been six straight wins for the Bison over the Dutch dating back to St. Marys’ last win in 2007 with a 30-14 final.
So it’s the perennial power in Clearfield with 14 to St. Marys’ zero district titles. The Dutch are 0-4 in championship games with three of those losses coming to the Bison in 2005 (21-18), 2008 (42-20) and 2011 (28-7). They also lost to Bradford (17-0) in 2007.
The teams did not meet during the regular season. Clearfield lost its opener to District 6/9 Class 4A Sub-Regional champion Juniata (20-7), which beat DuBois Thursday night 17-7, and then won five straight games over Bald Eagle Area (7-3), DuBois (41-7), Philipsburg-Osceola (55-0), Penns Valley (42-14) and Huntingdon (42-0). The Bison lost to Tyrone (21-14), beat Bellefonte (55-16) and Central Mountain (21-6), and finished the regular season two weeks ago with a 35-27 loss to Karns City.
St. Marys started 3-0 with wins over Moniteau (47-14), Ridgway (27-6) and Kane (30-0) before losing to Karns City (14-6). It beat Punxsutawney (34-21) then lost to Brookville (22-19). The Dutch held off DuBois (34-27) and blanked Bradford (31-0) prior to their last loss in a 48-27 setback to Central Clarion.
With Clearfield getting a first-round bye, the Dutch faced Punxsutawney in the semifinal in DuBois last Friday and squeaked out a 12-7 win, rallying for a late score to beat the Chucks when Coudriet went in the end zone from one yard out with 1:44 left in the game, culminating a huge 18-play, 80-yard drive that took over nine minutes off the clock.
Coudriet threw for 183 yards and ran for 65 with Carter Chadsey catching three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Davis was limited to eight yards on two carries.
Coudriet’s top receiving targets are Chadsey (44-699, 14 TDs), Logan Mosier (33-571, 5 TDs) and Collin Reitz (24-419, 3 TDs). Mosier returned to the Dutch lineup for the first time in almost a month in last week’s win.
The Dutch’s Eli Rippey leads the defense with 85 tackles with Mosier’s 6.8 tackles per game second behind him. Davis (77), Waylon Wehler (59) are also at the top of the team’s leaderboard. Chadsey and Coudriet each have three interceptions.
Also for Clearfield, quarterback Will Domico has thrown for 546 yards (33-for-68) with seven TDs and two interceptions. Carter Freeland (20-408, 4 TDs) is the leading receiver.
Defensively, Isaac Samsel (76), Collins (71), Freeland (54) and Chamberlain (47) are the top Bison tacklers. Samsel has an impressive 20 1/2 tackles for losses.