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Regular-season finales in D9 football

The Central Clarion Wildcats try to finish off an unbeaten regular season with a trip to Redbank Valley tonight. Photo by Noah DiTullio of JB Graphics

The last week of the District 9 football regular season has 18 teams involved in 11 games, all of them tonight.

What any of them could be in terms of “playoff implications” might be boiled down to whether teams elect to go with sub-.500 records in filling available bracket spots in the Class 1A and 2A brackets at the very least.

The question is how the Class 1A bracket goes with teams who declare intention to enter the playoffs. One team, Elk County Catholic, has opted out of the postseason despite finishing with a 7-2 record.

That could leave up to nine teams at 4-6 or better depending on what Curwensville (3-6) does in its trip to Glendale (4-5) and if Cameron County (4-5) decides to go if it loses at Brockway (5-4).

           

While the seeding is by committee in Classes 1A, 2A and 3A, the Class 1A seeding at the top at least should have Port Allegany (8-1) and Redbank Valley (8-1) at 1-2 regardless of this week’s results most likely. From there, it’s a group of three with Keystone (5-4), Brockway (5-4) and Union/A-C Valley (5-4) with Coudersport (6-3) and Otto-Eldred (6-3) in some order after that.

It appears to be a three-team bracket in Class 2A with Central Clarion (9-0), Karns City (5-4) and Brookville (4-5). The Wildcats (9-0) travel to Redbank Valley (8-1) in one of the marquee games of the week while Karns City (5-4) hosts Clearfield (7-2). Brookville (4-5) appears to be playoff-bound regardless of its outcome at Bellefonte (1-8).

Three teams look to be headed to the Class 3A playoffs with Clearfield as the top seed most likely while St. Marys (6-3) is also off this week. Punxsutawney (5-4) hosts Union/A-C Valley (5-4). St. Marys and Punxsutawney will probably play for the right to meet the Bison in the D9 final.

DuBois (5-4) hosts Hollidaysburg (1-8) as its Class 4A playoff picture is to be determined. The only other Class 4A team is Bradford (0-9), so the Beavers appear headed to an off week next week in preparation to play the District 6 champion Nov. 11-12.

In other games Friday, it’s Port Allegany (8-1) at Otto-Eldred (6-3), Ridgway (2-7) at Philipsburg-Osceola (2-7), Kane (2-7) hosting Bradford and Keystone (5-4) visiting Moniteau (2-7).

Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:

           

Central Clarion (9-0) at Redbank Valley (8-1)

The Wildcats, with a probable, playoff bye week coming next week, try to finish off an unbeaten regular season against the host Bulldogs.

Central Clarion shares four common foes with the Bulldogs — Port Allegany (29-24, Week 2), Union/A-C Valley (43-6, Week 3), Punxsutawney (45-7, Week 4) and Karns City (26-20, Week 6). The Bulldogs lost 8-7 to Port Allegany two weeks ago, notched a 38-8 win over Union/ACV, beat Punxsutawney 28-14 and Karns City 25-15 in Week 2.

The Wildcats average 410 yards per game with quarterback Jase Ferguson (2,177 yards passing and 27 TDs against 12 interceptions; 366 yards rushing and five TDs), running back Connor Kopnitsky (74-484, 8 TDs) and 1,000-yard receiver Ashton Rex (47-1,204 yards, 10 TDs) leading the way.

For the Bulldogs, it’s quarterback Braylon Wagner (31-for-53, 414 yards, 3 TDs, 3 Ints.), running back Drew Byers (126-649, 5 TDs), and receivers Aiden Ortz (44-692, 10 TDs), Tate Minich (43-602, 8 TDs) and Mason Clouse (16-286, 3 TDs).

In its short history, Central Clarion hasn’t finished unbeaten in the regular season. The last time Clarion went unbeaten in the regular campaign before the co-op with Clarion-Limestone was 2018 (9-0) while C-L went unbeaten in 2003 (9-0)

           

Overall, Clarion football went unbeaten in the regular season 10 times including (2017, 2014, 2012, 2000, 1999, 1986*, 1978*, 1961, 1954, 1947) while C-L went unbeaten three times in its history in the regular season including in (2003, 2002, 1990).
Note: *In 1986 Clarion finished 7-0-2 and in 1978 the Bobcats wenyt 8-0-1 before losing in the Little 12 title game

Clearfield (7-2) at Karns City (5-4)

It’s the first these teams have met since Clearfield beat the Gremlins in back-to-back season-enders in 2016 and 2017.

Sophomore Brady Collins has rushed for 1,221 yards to lead the Bison.

Karns City’s statistics are not updated on Max Preps.

           

Union/A-C Valley (5-4) at Punxsutawney (5-4)

The Chucks host the Falcon Knights as both teams try to guarantee themselves an above-.500 season with a win regardless of how the postseason goes.

The Chucks average 288 yards per game offensively, led by running back Zeke Bennett (198-1,102 yards, 12 TDs), who returned to the lineup in last week’s win over Brookville after missing a game with an injury. Also keying the Chucks attack are quarterback Seth Moore (56-for-101, 668 yards, 7 TDs, 2 Ints.), Justin Miller (31-232, 4 TDs rushing; 11-138, 1 TD receiving), running back Landon Martz (44-240, 1 TDs) and receiver Noah Weaver (22-312, 5 TDs).

For the Falcon Knights, it’s quarterback Brody Dittman (55-for-122, 650 yards, 4 TDs, 7 Ints.; 27-166, 5 TDs rushing), running backs Dawson Camper (90-469, 6 TDs) and Mikey Card (75-341, 2 TDs) and receivers Skyler Roxbury (24-316, 2 TDs), Zach Cooper (15-170, 2 TDs) and Ryan Cooper (11-157, 2 TDs) leading the way. Camper did not play in last week’s win over Ridgway.

Port Allegany (8-1) at Otto-Eldred (6-3)

The Gators look to win their ninth game of the season with a trip to Duke Center to play the Terrors. Port had to grind out a 20-10 win at Keystone last week. 

Gators quarterback Drew Evens has thrown for 859 yards and rushed for 420 yards to lead the offense. Running back Blaine Moses (149-740, 14 TDs), Noah Archer (99-488, 6 TDs rushing; 39-475, 4 TDs receiving) are other leading Gators.

Quarterback Andrew Schenfield (131-for-217, 2,025 yards, 26 TDs, 7 Ints.), running back Hunter App (96-543, 8 TDs) and receiver Manning Splain (40-706, 9 TDs) led the Terrors offense.

Cameron County (4-5) at Brockway (5-4)

The Rovers host the Red Raiders to wrap up their schedule. Last week’s loss to Redbank Valley ended a three-game winning streak. Cameron won its fourth straight game with a 28-22 overtime win over Otto-Eldred.

The Rovers’ Jendy Cuello ran for 178 yards on 32 carries last week and he’s approaching 1,000 for the season at 812 yards with seven TDs. Quarterback Brayden Fox (158-for-277, 1,909 yards, 22 TDs, 7 Ints.), and receivers Dylan Hanna (20-443, 8 TDs; 35-208 rushing) and Alex Carlson (74-831, 11 TDs) lead the passing game.

Brookville (4-5) at Bellefonte (1-8)

The Raiders head to Centre County to face the one-win Red Raiders, whose lone win was a 9-8 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola in Week 5. Both teams lost to Tyrone, Brookville 30-0 in Week 2 and Bellefonte 37-7 in Week 4.

Raiders running back Jackson Zimmerman has rushed for 916 yards and 7 TDs, but he didn’t play in last week’s loss to Punxsutawney. His status is uncertain for Friday. Brayden Kunselman (42-444, 5 TDs) is the Raiders’ top receiver.

Bellefonte quarterback Trevor Johnson has thrown for 626 yards with one TD and six interceptions. The Red Raiders have rushed for 327 yards all season.

Hollidaysburg (1-8) at DuBois (5-4)

The Beavers host the one-win Tigers, whose only win came in a 31-0 shutout of Bellefonte in Week 6. The Beavers ended a three-game losing streak with a 42-0 rout of Moniteau.

DuBois is keyed by quarterback Cam-Ron Hays (66-for-117, 596 yards, 6 TDs, 6 Ints.; 286 yards rushing), and running backs Austin Henery (70-306, 5 TDs) and Dalton Yale (84-408, 2 TDs).

Hollidaysburg quarterback Tucker Rossman has thrown for 1,446 yards and 14 TDs with 13 interceptions.

Ridgway (2-7) at Philipsburg-Osceola (2-7)

The Elkers wrap up their schedule with a trip to District 6 to take on the Mounties. Luke Zimmerman is coming off a 218-yard, 2 TD rushing game against Union/A-C Valley last week. The Elkers played without starting quarterback Cameron Larkin.

The Mounties ended a seven-game losing streak with a 64-7 rout of Montgomery last week.

Keystone (5-4) at Moniteau (2-7)

The Panthers, who have lost three of four, try to get into the postseason on a positive note with a trip to Moniteau. They led Port Allegany 10-8 in the fourth quarter before the Gators scored twice to finish off their win.

Kyle Nellis has rushed for 835 yards and 13 TDs to lead the Panthers while Tyler Albright has rushed for 587 yards and three TDs while catching 25 passes for 517 yards.

Moniteau’s stats are not complete on Max Preps.

Curwensville (3-6) at Glendale (4-5)

The Tide head to Flinton to face the Vikings. Quarterback Dan McGarry is close to a 2,000-1,000 season as he’s sitting at 1,817 yards passing and 930 rushing. He’s accounted for 305 of the team’s 353 yards from scrimmage per game. Nick Fegert (45-604, 4 TDs) and Chris Fegert (44-586, 6 TDs) are his top receivers.

The Vikings, who have won four of five, are led by running back Zeke Dubler (165-1,221, 16 TDs).

Bradford (0-9) at Kane (2-7)

The Wolves host the Owls after ending a four-game losing streak with a win over Smethport last week. Bradford’s losing streak has hit 27 straight games.

Kane quarterback Kyle Zook has thrown for 1,013 yards with seven TDs and 15 interceptions. Ricky Zampogna has rushed for 647 yards and 10 TDs.

Bradford quarterback Talan Reese has thrown for 1,776 yards with 10 TDs and 12 interceptions.

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