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Down the Stretch They Come: D10 Football Embarks on Week 9

It’s Week 9 of the high school football season, which means the playoffs are on everyone’s minds.

That being said, there’s still a slate of Region 1 and Region 2 action, with some intriguing non-region matchups as well before the brackets are released.

Farrell (Region 1), Grove City (Region 3) Fort LeBoeuf (Region 4), Meadville (Region 5) and McDowell (Region 6) have locked up region titles, while Northwestern and Cochranton sit unbeaten atop Region 2.

There are a limited number of matchups that feature teams with winning records against each other, including Sharpsville at Reynolds, Eisenhower at Maplewood and Cathedral Prep at Meadville.

Region 1

Kennedy Catholic (1-6) at Farrell (5-0)

Farrell is coming off an off week, but don’t expect them to slow down. The Steelers have outscored their opponents 276-6. The numbers speak for themselves. Anthony Stallworth has rushed for 966 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 15.6 yards per carry. Kabron Smith and Train Holden have been an effective quarterback duo, accounting for over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kylon Wilson (328 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Omar Stewart Jr. (130 yards, 3 touchdowns) are the top receivers.

Kennedy Catholic has battled low numbers but does have a win over Lakeview season. They also have a pair of big bright spots in quarterback Rayvion Wilbon-Venable (843 yards passing, 8 touchdowns) and receiver Simeir Wade (461 yards, 4 touchdowns). Blaze Campbell also has four touchdowns receiving.

Sharpsville (5-3) at Reynolds (4-3)

One of those aforementioned matchups featuring a pair of teams with winning records. Sharpsville has been playing some good football, outscoring Kennedy Catholic and Merer 80-6 in back-to-back wins. The defense has been solid and Chris Roth has scored five rushing touchdowns and Ian Smith and Zack Tedrow have four rushing scores each. Caullin Summers has thrown for 802 yards and 11 scores and Geren Levis has seven of those touchdown receptions.

On the flip side, Reynolds is coming off a 47-27 win over Lakeview. Jalen Wagner has put together a special season on the ground, accounting for 16 touchdowns and 1,081 yards, averaging over 10 yards per carry in the process. Haydin McLaughlin has thrown for 472 yards and rushed for 527 for the Raiders.

Wilmington (5-2) at Mercer (3-4)

Wilmington bounced back from its loss to Farrell with a 55-14 win over Kennedy Catholic. Luke Edwards accounted for five touchdowns in that game and on the season has 731 yards and 11 scores on the ground and also has a pair of touchdowns receiving. Tuff McConahy has thrown for six touchdowns, four of which have gone to Cole McAllister (155 yards receiving).

Mercer is looking to bounce back from a shutout loss to Sharpsville. Jake Badger has 409 yards rushing, while Logan Turton has accounted for nine total touchdowns (5 receiving, 4 rushing). Ethan Wiley has thrown for 316 yards.

Region 2

Cambridge Springs (2-4) at Union City (0-6)

Cambridge Springs looks for back-to-back wins when they travel to Union City to take on the winless Bears. Garrett Hodak is coming off a 200-yard rushing performance in a 35-21 win over Saegertown last week for the Blue Devils and has 582 yards on the season, while Van Jones has 304 yards on the ground.

Kyler Shaffer (534 yards rushing, 316 passing) leads the Union City offense. The Bears are coming off a 16-6 loss to Seneca.

Cochranton (6-0) at Saegertown (2-4)

The Cardinals have been dominant this season, shutting out three opponents and allowing just 29 points on the season. Their closest game was a 14-8 win over Cambridge Springs on Oct. 1.

Offensively, Jack Martinec has put together a great season in the backfield, rushing for 1,425 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has accounted for the bulk of the Cardinals’ offense, with Noah Cummings throwing three touchdown passes on the season we well.

The Cardinals will split with Northwestern the Region 2 crown should both teams win on Friday. Saegertown comes in with a record of 2-4 and is coming off a 35-21 loss to Cambridge Springs. Keenen Schaaf, Zach Yoder and Aaron Shartle lead a balanced rushing attack and have combined for 11 total touchdowns on the season.

Eisenhower (5-2) at Maplewood (4-3)

Another one of the matchups featuring teams with winning records, would figure to be a defensive battle. Maplewood has held opponent so single digits in each of its four wins, including a shutout of Cambridge Springs. Eisenhower, meanwhile, also owns a pair of shutout wins this season and is coming off a 41-6 win over Iroquois.

Benji Bauer (711 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Keegan Eckstrom (540 yards, 6 touchdowns) lead the Ike ground attack, while Shawn Pascuzzi has done a nice job after taking over at quarterback, with Wyatt Lookenhouse as his top receiver.

Ben Gilberto (610 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Connor Burns (265 yards, 1 score) lead the Maplewood ground attack, while Dominick Kinney has thrown a pair of scoring strikes to Connor Palmiero.

Iroquois (2-4) at Northwestern (6-0)

Northwestern has rolled through its Region 2 slate, although the one thing missing was a showdown with fellow unbeaten Cochranton (COVID-19 wrecked that matchup). The Wildcats, who are coming off a 22-7 win over Class 4A Warren, have allowed just 32 points all season. Offensively, Ryan Tewell has a perfect 18-0 touchdown to interception ratio to go along with 1,101 yards. His top receivers are Jake Kelley (201 yards, 5 touchdowns), Cam Perkins (233 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Eric Steinle (316 yards, 3 touchdowns). On the ground, Gage Hanisek-Brockett, Ben Campbell and Lloyd Fountain have all rushed for over 200 yards.

Iroquois comes in following a loss to Eisenhower. Michael Hoopsick has rushed for 614 yards and seven scores.

Non-Region

Grove City (6-2) at Mercyhurst Prep (3-3)

Grove City wrapped up the regular-season title in Region 3 last week with a 20-7 win over Hickory and now will look to keep things rolling as they head toward the playoffs. The Eagles have won four straight and have allowed just 34 points in those four games.

Offensively, the Eagles are explosive both in the run and pass game. Curtis Hovis has rushed for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Hunter Hohman has 1,307 yards through the air and 13 scores. He has a plethora of receivers to throw to, including Gavin Lutz, Joey Hathaway, Zach Rodgers and Anthony Pereira. Anthony Nemec also has six rushing touchdowns on the season.

After a two-week COVID hiatus to begin the season the Lakers have put together a solid campaign. David Bahm leads the way, accounting for 14 combined touchdowns passing and rushing.

Hickory (5-3) at Corry (0-5)

The Hornets look to bounce back from a tough loss to Grove City (20-7) when they make the trip up north to take on winless Corry. The Hornets’ offense sputtered a bit last week after scoring 179 points during their 4-game winning streak. They have got it done primarily through the air, with Logan Woods throwing for 19 touchdowns and 1,476 yards. Ramarion Whitehead (499 yards, 5 touchdowns), Keenan Scullin (552 yards, 4 touchdowns) and tight end Jackson Pryts (315 yards, 6 touchdowns) lead the talented array of playmakers.

Nathan Lesher has directed the Corry offense to the tune of 366 yards passing and 221 rushing. The Beavers are coming off a 55-14 loss to Region 4 champ Fort LeBoeuf.

Sharon (5-3) at North East (2-5)

The Tigers are coming off a close 35-33 loss to Slippery Rock and look to bounce back with a trip north to take on the Grapepickers. The Tigers do own impressive wins over Hickory and Fort LeBoeuf this season. Mikey Rodriques directs the offense to the tune of 1,239 passing yards and 13 touchdowns and also has scored five times on the ground. He’ll look often for Ja’on Phillips (765 yards, 9 touchdowns). Jayveerh White, Cortez Nixon and Labrae Norris lead a talented stable of backs.

North East is coming off its second win of the season, 36-23 over Girard. Casey Burch and Tyler Wittman have combined for 1,200 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, while Zane STrong has 351 yards receiving from quarterback Jackson Humes.

Slippery Rock (5-1) at Girard (0-6)

The Rockets have battled injury and other teams’ COVID misfortunes and have still come out with a 5-1 record. They’ll look to make it 6-1 when they take on winless Girard. Last week, Eli Anderson stepped in at quarterback and Maddox Allen at running back in a 35-33 win over Sharon with talented players such as quarterback William Mokel and others unable to play. Quite simply, this is a team that keep finding a way.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off of a loss to North East. Gunner Bax and Gavin Lowe have combined to rush for over 600 yards and six touchdowns.

Greenville (5-3) at Harbor Creek (3-5)

The Trojans are red-hot, as they come in with a four-game winning streak, with victories over Kennedy Catholic, Mercer, Reynolds and McDonald (Ohio), scoring 162 points in those games. Levi Swartz has put together a terrific season on the ground, rushing for 819 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jalen Ritzert has thrown for 703 yards and five scores, with Jase Herrick accounting for 353 of those yards and three scores.

They will be facing a Harbor Creek team that has won back-to-back games after starting the season 1-5. Matt Cassidy has put together a good season at running back, rushing for 680 yards and six scores, and has taken on a bigger load since Cam Williamson was lost due to injury.

Conneaut, Ohio (4-5)at Fort LeBoeuf (6-1)

Fort LeBoeuf’s philosophy is simple – play great defense and run the ball. The Bison have four different backs and a physical offensive line that can beat you. Tristin Harris (712 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Justin Leuschen (510 yards, 7 touchdowns) lead the way. The Bison have given up more than 14 points in a game just once this season (a 40-27 loss to Sharon).

To stop Conneaut, they will have to slow down the dynamic Zach Rice, who has eclipsed 1,000 yards combined rushing and receiving and accounted for 18 total touchdowns. Quarterback Kiefer Mandagelo has thrown for eight scores.

Warren (4-4) at Seneca (2-5) – Canceled because of COVID-19 concerns at Seneca

Warren has seen plenty of highs and lows this season, and they are coming off a 22-7 loss to unbeaten Northwestern. Eric Dippold has thrown for 1,104 yards and 13 touchdowns, with Ben White one of District 10’s top receivers, accounting for 619 yards and eight touchdowns. Tommy Nyquist (585 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Ethan Senz (266 yards, 3 touchdowns) are the top backs.

Seneca is coming off a 16-6 win over Union City. Quarterback Nolan Seabury directs the offense to the tune of 822 yards passing, 582 rushing and 11 total touchdowns. Collin Libra (306 yards, 2 scores) is the top target.

Franklin (1-7) at Butler (3-4)

Both teams are looking to come off tough losses, Butler to Cathedral Prep and Franklin to General McLane. Max Schnur has thrown for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, with Ethan Trettel, Lance Slater and Braylon Lijttlejohn all figuring in heavily at receiver. Cooper Baxter has six rushing touchdowns as well for Butler.

For Franklin, Carson Wilbe is approaching 500 yards on the ground with six touchdowns.

Cathedral Prep (6-1) at Meadville (6-2)

An intriguing non-region matchup as the Ramblers make the short trip south to take on the Bulldogs. Prep is coming off a 58-7 win over Butler, while Meadville is riding an impressive 4-game shutout streak.

The Ramblers have been very balanced offensively this season. Carter Barnes has a 12-2 touchdown to interception ratio and has also rushed for nine scores. Mike Parks (863 yards, 7 touchdowns) and Suhtaun Lewis (347 yards, 3 touchdowns) led the ground attack. It’s also a defense that has yielded single-digit points four times this season.

Meadville is going to run, run and run some more. The Bulldogs could be on the verge of having three 1,000-yard rusher in Khalon Simmons (989 yards, 18 touchdowns), Griffin Buzzell (980 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Brady Walker (719 yards, 14 touchdowns). 50 of their 81 points allowed on defense came in a 50-48 loss in their opener to Grove City.

McDowell (6-1) at Conneaut (0-7)

McDowell looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season against winless Conneaut. Artis Simmons (731 yards rushing), Christian Santiago (350 yards rushing) and Ray Jackson (317 yards) lead the ground game. Ben Moore has thrown for eight touchdowns as well.

Braeden Groover has 234 yards on the ground to lead Conneaut, while Logan Groover has thrown for 223 yards.

Titusville (2-4) at Fairview (5-2), Saturday

Fairview has bounced back from a two-game losing streak with a 38-14 win over Mercyhurst Prep last week. Jared Gennuso continued his strong season and has 15 rushing touchdowns and over 800 yards on the ground. Tyler Corbin has also connected with Logan Frazao on four scores this season.

Titusville is coming off a 49-14 loss to Conneaut (Ohio). Garrett Knapp has thrown for seven scores this season – three of which have gone to Brock Covell and three more to Antonio Malave.

Erie (2-6) at Oil City (3-4), Saturday

Erie is coming off a 20-14 loss to Canisius, while Oil City was blanked by Meadville.

The Royals will have to contend with District 10’s top rusher in Ethen Knox, who has 1,631 yards and 12 touchdowns

Erie will lean on the ground game of Jermaine Selby, Kree Thompson and Adrian Tate. Look for talented tight end Marquell Darnell in the pass game as well.

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