Four playoff games featuring District 9 football teams make up this week’s schedule.
In addition to the Class 2A Championship game between Central Clarion and Brookville (See story here), the Class 1A semifinals have Port Allegany facing Brockway in Bradford and Redbank Valley meeting Coudersport in Kane.
In Class 4A, DuBois visits Juniata in the District 6/9 Sub-Regional final.
All games kick off at 7 p.m.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS
Redbank Valley (9-1) vs. Coudersport (8-3), Kane H.S., 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs and Falcons meet on the new artificial turf at Kane High School with the winner landing a finals berth against Port Allegany or Brockway next week.
The teams didn’t meet this season, their last meeting a 52-6 Bulldogs win in the 2021 regular season. While the top-seeded Bulldogs had a bye in the quarterfinals, the Falcons had to pull out a fourth-quarter rally to top Cameron County, 21-20.
Redbank Valley weighs in a 371 yards per game offensively, but it may have a different look Friday due to some key injuries. Sophomore quarterback Braylon Wagner (153-for-214, 2,541 yards, 39 TDs, 3 Ints.; 44-302, 8 TDs rushing) left their Week 10 game against Central Clarion with an injury as did backup quarterback/linebacker Jaxon Huffman. Head coach Blane Gold indicated their availability would be a game-day decision and if it’s not either one of them on the field, it could have a mix of plays with Drew Byers, Ashton Kahle or Mason Clouse taking snaps.
Byers (107-696, 9 TDs) is the team’s top rusher while Kahle (43-789, 10 TDs) and Clouse (51-907, 16 TDs) are the team’s top receivers with Ashton George (30-478, 9 TDs) and Rylan Rupp (19-282, 3 TDs) other key targets.
The Bulldogs’ top tacklers are Caden Adams (70), Brandon Ross (65), Mason Clouse (62) and Owen Clouse (49), a 100-plus goal scorer for the D9 champion soccer team.
Coudersport started 1-3 with losses to Bradford (24-12), Brockway (49-6) and Smehtport (33-26). The Bulldogs beat Brockway (52-28) and Smethport (71-7). But after the Falcons’ slow start, they’ve won seven straight games.
Falcons senior Gavyn Ayers is a huge part of his team’s offensive attack while also leading the defensive unit with 74 tackles while sharing the team lead in interceptions with four.
Ayers has thrown for 992 yards and 12 TDs (67-for-166) with 12 TDs and seven interceptions and he’s rushed for a team-best 766 yards on 113 carries with 18 TDs. Running back John Wright (94-415, 4 TDs) and receivers Danny Vanvladricken (17-337, 4 TDs) and Jackson Moss (16-325, 2 TDs) are other key Falcons.
Port Allegany (9-2) vs. Brockway (8-3), Parkway Field, Bradford, 7 p.m.
The Rovers and Gators last played in Week 5 when the Gators notched a 29-7 win at the Rovers’ Varischetti Field.
In that game, the Gators ran for 209 yards with Peyton Stiles gaining 131 yards on 20 carries while Aiden Bliss ran for 64 yards on 15 carries. Bliss, quarterback Nick Wilfong and Tristan Kiser also ran for touchdowns. For the Rovers, quarterback Brayden Fox threw for 105 yards on 23-of-33 passing with a touchdown and four interceptions and running back Jendy Cuello ran for 99 yards on 13 carries. Blake Pisarcik caught 12 passes for 52 yards.
Port averages 352 yards per game offensively, 251 of it through the running game led by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers Bliss (131-1,082, 18 TDs) and Stiles (133-1,050, 15 TDs). Wilfong has thrown for 811 yards on 48-for-82 passing with 11 TDs and six interceptions. His top receivers are Stiles (19-299, 3 TDs), Kiser (12-249, 4 TDs) and Bliss (13-246, 2 TDs).
The Rovers go into the game averaging 404 yards of offense per game, led by the junior Fox (149-for-251, 2,284 yards, 21 TDs, 16 Ints.), running back Jendy Cuello (210-1,295, 10 TDs), and receivers Blake Pisarcik (67-1,096, 7 TDs), Caleb Dougherty (27-671, 11 TDs), Mathew Brubaker (26-394, 5 TDs) and Isaac Crawford (22-369, 2 TDs).
Fox is moving up the D9 all-time passing yardage and TD lists. His 7,463 yards and 77 TDs rank No. 6 and No. 7 respectively.
Defensively, Johnny Varischetti (87), Ben Yale (53) and Reese Yahner (48) lead the Rovers while Bliss (57), Wilfong (36) and Miska Young (34) lead the Gators.
The Gators have beaten the Rovers four straight games, including 21-14 in last year’s Class 1A final.
DISTRICT 6/9 SUB-REGIONAL
DuBois (4-6) at Juniata (6-5), 7 p.m.
The last time these teams met was last year’s sub-regional final won by the Indians, 17-7.
Juniata outgained the Beavers, 283-272, but lost most of its skill position lineup to graduation. For the Beavers, Trey Wingard completed 18 of 32 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown. Garrett Nissel ran for 33 yards on four carries.
This year, Wingard has thrown for 793 yards and 7 TDs (54-for-102) against three interceptions. He’ll be making just his fifth start of the season after an injury in a Week 2 loss forced him to the sideline for six games. In the Beavers’ Week 10 loss to Hollidaysburg, Wingard threw for 403 yards and two TDs.
Nissel (162-1093, 12 TDs) is over 1,000 rushing yards for the season with 12 TDs with Dalton Dixon (80-493, 1 TD) and Landon Schrock (56-231, 7 TDs) getting carries as well. Kaden Clark (33-411, 3 TDs), Nathan Kougher (21-305, 2 TDs), Carter Vos (18-247, 1 TD) and Nissel (17-81) are the leading receivers.
Carter Wilson (62), Nissel (38) and Dixon (35) are the Beavers’ leading tacklers on defense.
For Juniata, the offense averages 347 yards per game with a fairly balanced approach led by quarterback Wyatt Ehrenzeller (92-for-162, 1,624 yards, 19 TDs, 9 Ints.; 74-275, 3 TDs rushing), running backs Javier Lopez (77-391, 3 TDs) and Heath Hutchinson (51-259, 5 TDs), and 1,000-yard receiver Jasper Shepps (55-1,086, 11 TDs).
The Indians and Beavers share no common foes. After starting the season 0-3 with losses to Troy (56-21), Selinsgrove (38-8) and West Perry (39-21) before winning five straight over Newport (33-6), Halifax (35-14), James Buchanan (46-16), Boiling Springs (48-28) and Upper Dauphin (33-6) before losing to Line Mountain (40-30). An 18-7 loss to Susquenita ended the regular season. The Indians blanked Bellefonte 37-0 in the District 6 final last week.
The combined record of Troy, Selinsgrove, West Perry and Line Mountain is (40-3-1).
The Beavers are still looking to end a long playoff drought dating back to their last postseason win over Hollidaysburg in 1996. That’s a string of 16 straight losses.