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D9 football Week 4: Redbank Valley, Keystone clash of unbeatens

The Redbank Valley Bulldogs celebrate last week's 28-14 win at Punxsutawney. Since last year's season-opening 22-20 loss at Keystone, the Bulldogs have lost just one game — the PIAA Class 1A state final against Bishiop Guilfoyle. They host the Panthers Friday night. (Photo by Mike Maslar)

Five unbeaten teams remain in District 9 football and two lock up in New Bethlehem in a Region 2 showdown as the Keystone Panthers travel to play the Redbank Valley Bulldogs to highlight a 13-game Friday night schedule in District 9.

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It’s a rematch of last year’s season-opening game in Knox when the Panthers edged the Bulldogs, 22-20. Since then, the Bulldogs have won 17 of 18 games with the lone loss coming in last year’s PIAA Class 1A final to Bishop Guilfoyle.

           

Two Region 1 unbeatens remain with St. Marys (3-0) going on the road to Karns City (1-2) while Central Clarion (3-0) hosts Punxsutawney (2-1).

In Region 3, Elk County Catholic (3-0) hosts Sheffield (0-2).

In other games in Region 1, Brookville (0-3) hosts Moniteau (1-2) and DuBois (2-1) visits Bradford (0-3).

The other Region 2 matchup has Otto-Eldred (2-1) visiting Bucktail (1-1). Two non-region counting games between Region 2 teams have Port Allegany (2-1) hosting Cameron County (0-3) and Smethport (1-2) visiting Coudersport (1-2).

Outside of the District 9 League, Clearfield (2-1) travels to Philipsburg-Osceola (1-2) in Mountain League play while Curwensville (2-1) hosts Southern Huntingdon (2-1).

Keystone’s Week 1 win last year didn’t turn into a rematch as it was knocked out of the playoffs before another possible matchup. The Bulldogs never looked back and reached the state final, then have darted out to a 3-0 start this year as have the Panthers and new head coach Todd Smith.

           

While the Bulldogs were working hard to get by Punxsutawney in a 28-14 win, the Panthers eked out a 20-19 wild win at home against Brookville. The Panthers converted on a two-point conversion off a fake extra-point formation with just over six minutes left to set what would be the final score.

The Panthers were run-heavy in wins over Coudersport and Union/A-C Valley, but went to the air more in the win over the Raiders. Quarterback Rayce Weaver completed 5 of 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Running back Kyle Nellis threw a 52-yard TD pass to Tyler Albright, who caught four passes for 121 yards.

Nellis, who ran for 108 yards on 14 carries against the Raiders, is up to 392 yards on 56 carries and seven TDs for the season.

Redbank Valley is a different team than last year, but it’s still fast and dangerous with senior quarterback Cam Wagner leading the way. He’s thrown for 650 yards (42-for-58) with 11 TDs and three interceptions.

Wagner’s top receivers are Aiden Ortz (12-223, 4 TDs), Tate Minich (16-216, 3 TDs) and Ashton Kahle (8-126, 2 TDs). Mason Clouse returned a punt for a touchdown last week while Kahle nearly did on another, setting up a short TD pass from Wagner to Ortz that put the game away in the second half.

In other games:

           

Region 1

St. Marys (3-0) at Karns City (1-2) 

Another potential good game is a matchup on the turn at Karns City where the Gremlins hope to build on their first win of the season in a 28-0 shutout of Ridgway.

The Gremlins went total ground game against the Elkers, rushing for 317 yards and attempting just one pass that fell incomplete as they still don’t have their starting quarterback Eric Booher who is out with an injury that keeps him from playing behind center, but he is playing. He ran twice for 28 yards and a TD against the Elkers. He was one of 11 rushers in the game. Cooper Coyle led the Gremlins with 66 yards on six carries.

The Dutch are led by quarterback Charlie Coudriet, who has completed 29 of 51 passes for 517 yards and eight TDs while also leading the team with 256 rushing yards. Coudriet’s top receivers are Logan Mosier (12-253, 3 TDs) and Carter Chadsey (10-133, 4 TDs).

           

St. Marys beat Karns City last year, 35-28, ending a 12-game losing streak to the Gremlins dating back to its last win in 2010.

Punxsutawney (2-1) at Central Clarion (3-0)

On the high end of the interesting games in the district, the Chucks head to the C-L Sports Complex to face the unbeaten Wildcats. 

While Central Clarion was routing Union/A-C Valley, 43-6, the Chucks dropped their first game in a 28-14 loss to unbeaten Redbank Valley in a game decided a lot by a couple of special teams plays on punt returns.

Chucks senior running back Zeke Bennett has rushed for 545 yards on a whopping 74 carries, leading the Chucks’ run-heavy offense. Also running some is Landon Martz (26-170) while quarterback Seth Moore has completed 19 of 38 passes for 220 yards. Noah Weaver (9-145, 2 TDs) is the top receiver.

The Wildcats hadn’t run the ball much in their first two wins, but put up 221 yards on the ground against the Falcon Knights last week, a balanced attack led by Connor Kopnitsky’s 83 yards and three TDs.

For the season, quarterback Jase Ferguson has thrown for 750 yards, completing 30 of 53 passes with eight TDs and five interceptions. His top receivers are Ashton Rex (10-403, 3 TDs), Drew Hotchkiss (6-140, 2 TDs) and Dawson Smail (7-130, 1 TD).

Ferguson also has four interceptions on defense.

Moniteau (1-2) at Brookville (0-3)

The Raiders get to player their first home game of the season under the new lights that was part of the construction delay that took away the scheduled home game with Tyrone two weeks ago, They’ll be playing under them as the Warriors come to town on what’s also a very early Senior Night.

Easton Belfiore’s varsity debut at quarterback gave the Raiders a lift in their 20-19 loss at Keystone. He threw for 138 yards and three TD passes, two of them to Brayden Kunselman while running bck Jackson Zimmerman ran for 89 yards on 24 carries. Kunselman caught seven passes for 100 yards.

The Warriors are led by running back Hunter Stalker, quarterback David Dessicino and receiver Ashton Grossman. Stalker ran for 68 yards on 27 carries in last week’s 20-12 win last week at Cameron County. Logan Campbell actually scored all the team’s TDs on runs of 33, 3 and 6 yards.

DuBois (2-1) at Bradford (0-3)

The Beavers travel north to play an Owls team coming off a 33-26 loss to Otto-Eldred, its 20th straight setback dating back to the end of the 2019 season. The Beavers are also looking to rebound after a 41-7 loss at Clearfield.

Last year, the Beavers routed the Owls, 55-0, their sixth straight over their former D9 League rival. The Owls last beat the Beavers, 54-26, back in 2010.

Beavers quarterback Cam-Ron Hays (18-for-33, 123 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.) also leads the team in rushing with 178 yards on 25 carries and five TDs. Austin Henery (27-147, 2 TDs) is the leading rusher behind Hays in the backfield.

Most of Bradford’s offense goes through the air with quarterback Talen Reese (61-for-118, 713 yards, 4 TDs, 4 Ints.) leading the way. Lukas Laktash (20-139, 1 TD), Troy Adkins (16-195, 1 TD) and Isaiah Fitton (12-186, 1 TD).

Region 2

Union/A-C Valley (1-2) at Brockway (2-1)

The Rovers are coming off a 70-16 rout of Coudersport while the Falcon Knights were routed for the second straight week in a 43-6 loss to Central Clarion. 

Brockway played two close games in a win over Kane and loss to DuBois before blowing out Coudersport. Sophomore quarterback Brayden Fox has thrown for 882 yards, completing 62 of 100 passes with 10 TDs against no interceptions. Alex Carlson (30-413, 5 TDs) and Dylan Hanna (9-208) are the leading receivers.

The Falcon Knights have been outscored 86-13 in losses to Central Clarion and Keystone. Backup quarterback Owen Bish scored the team’s lone points in last week’s loss with a 25-yard run. They gained 184 yards overall. Dawson Camper and Mikey Card are their leading rushers.

Kane (0-3) at Ridgway (0-3)

Both teams have played similar schedules and tough opponents as the combined six foes the Wolves and Elkers faced are 13-5. The common foe is unbeaten St. Marys, which blanked Kane 30-0 last week and beat Ridgway 27-6 in Week 2.

So something has to give in this winless matchup. Last year, the Elkers beat the Wolves, 42-6 and have won three of the last four with Kane beating the Elkers 25-21 back in 2019.

Running back Ricky Zampogna (53-326, 4 TDs) leads the Wolves while quarterback Kyle Zook has completed 30 of 64 passes for 298 yards with two TDs and six interceptions. Landon Darr (11-155) is the top receiver.

The Elkers are looking to burst out offensively with just two touchdowns and 281 yards of offense so far this year. Quarterback Cam Larkin (14-for-39, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 4 Ints.) is also the team’s top rusher (15-46).

Region 3

Otto-Eldred (2-1) at Bucktail (1-1)

The Terrors won their second straight game of the year after an opening loss to Elk County Catholic with a 33-26 win over Bradford, their second straight against their bigger next-door neighbors. They’ll travel nearly two hours to meet the Bucks.

Quarterback Andrew Schenfield (41-for-68, 555 yards, 8 TDs, 3 Ints.) and running back Hunter App (30-270, 2 TDs) lead the Terrors.

After a bye week, the Bucks dropped a 30-16 decision at Elk County Catholic. Brody Pentz ran for both TDs for the Bucks while Tanner Pettingill rushed for 134 yards on 20 carries.

Sheffield (0-2) at Elk Co. Catholic (3-0)

Noah Cherry continued his hot start for the Crusaders with four more touchdown runs in last week’s win over Bucktail. That’s seven TDs for the season for Cherry as he and the Crusaders face Sheffield which is coming off a bye week.

Non-Region

Cameron County (0-3) at Port Allegany (2-1)

Its not that the Red Raiders haven’t been competitive in their 0-3 start, getting outscored 69-32, including a 20-12 loss at home to Moniteau last week. Port has sandwiched two wins around a 29-24 loss to Central Clarion, including last week’s 28-0 shutout win at Smethport.

Quarterback Maddox Baughman (24-for-59, 306 yards, 1 TD, 4 Ints.), running back Logan Reed (32-115) and receiver Koby Shepard (6-111) pace the Red Raiders.

Port quarterback Drew Evens (25-for-49, 229 yards, 2 TDs, 3 Ints.) runs a powerful offense that also features running back Blaine Moses (65-330, 6 TDs) and Noah Archer (35-203, 2 TDs rushing; 12-112, 1 TD receiving).

The Gators have topped the Red Raiders six straight times dating back to Cameron’s 48-28 win in 2016. Last year, Port won, 34-14.

Smethport (1-2) at Coudersport (1-2)

This is a rare non-conference, or league or region, whatever you want to call it between one of the district’s longest running rivalries. The Hubbers are coming off a 28-0 shutout loss to Port Allegany while the Falcons were walloped 70-16 by Brockway.

The Falcons beat the Hubbers, 6-0, last year and have won 16 of their last 21 meetings.

Mountain League

Clearfield (2-1) at Philipsburg-Osceola (1-2)

The Bison are coming off a lopsided win over DuBois that saw Brady Collins run for 161 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns. They’ll try to beat the Mounties for the 11th straight time dating back to their last loss in 2011.

The Bison put up 41 points in their 41-7 win over Clearfield. Collins (49-331, 4 TDs) is the team’s top rusher for the season while quarterback Will Domico (7-for-34, 68 yards) runs the run-heavy offense up to this point.

Neither team share a common foe yet. The Mounties opened with a win over West Branch before two straight losses to Huntingdon and Tyrone (49-0) last week. 

Inter-County Conference

Southern Huntingdon (2-1) at Curwensville (2-1)

Both teams have played Juniata Valley so far and won, the Rockets 28-14 last week and the Golden Tide 36-15 two weeks ago.

Tide quarterback Dan McGarry has had a hand in nearly all of the team’s yards from scrimmage, passing for 741 yards and rushing for 292 yards. 

The Tide look to bounce back from a 40-14 loss at Bellwood-Antis last week. The Rockets, coming off the win over Juniata Valley, are led in a similar way by their quarterback Nate Myers. He’s thrown for 888 yards and leads the team in rushing with 403 yards.

The Rockets routed the Tide last year, 45-17.

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