First-round state playoff games dot the calendar for District 9 and 10 teams this weekend, including a D9 vs. D10 matchup in Class 2A.
The aforementioned Class 2A matchup sees D9 champ Karns City travel to take on unbeaten D10 champ Wilmington, while Oil City battles Juniata in Class 4A and Cathedral Prep squares off with Hollidaysburg in Class 5A.
Here’s a look at each game.
KARNS CITY (6-2) at WILMINGTON (7-0), 7 p.m.
Karns City pulled off a stunning upset to get to this point, knocking off Brookville in the D9 title game (16-14) after losing to the Raiders 44-0 in the regular season. Wilmington, meanwhile, won its fifth straight District 10 title after beating Farrell for the third time this season, 19-14.
The Greyhounds have yielded just 20 points in the four games not against Farrell this season.
Here’s how the teams match up
Wilmington Offense (39.4 ppg.)
The Greyhounds are going to come at Karns City with a tremendous rushing attack, led by their excellent offensive line and a pair of talented backs.
Ethan Susen and Darren Miller are the bell cows, with Susen rushing for 793 yards and eight touchdowns and Miller 596 yards and 10 scores. Luke Edwards, who scored a touchdown in the win over Farrell last week, has 328 yards on the ground and quarterback Caelen Bender 251.
Bender has also thrown for 281 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Karns City Offense (31.1 ppg.)
The Gremlins rely on a stable of running backs, but will also put the ball in the air their fair share.
Cole Coon (350 yards, 4 touchdowns), Jayce Anderson (241 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Kaden Scherer (201 yards, 2 touchdowns) lead the ground game.
Quarterback Eric Booher has completed 45 percent of his passes for 725 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. His top targets are Micah Rupp (17-266-4) and Scherer (13-232-1).
Wilmington Defense (10.6 ppg.)
This is a unit that flies to the ball, and it’s led by the likes of Mason Reed (who had a pick six in the Farrell win), Morgan Whiting, Elon Horchler, Susen, Miller and a host of others.
Karns City Defense (16.5 ppg.)
The Gremlin defense has played their best football of the season of late, and it’s led by Coon (80 tackles, 17 TFL).
Also playing key roles are Nathan Waltman (66 tackles, 12 TFL), Luke Garing (64 tackles, 14 TFL) and Scherer (four interceptions).
HOLLIDAYSBURG (4-2) at CATHEDRAL PREP (4-2), 7 p.m.
The Ramblers find themselves in familiar position in the PIAA playoffs, where they will face a Hollidaysburg team that made the move up from Class 4A.
Prep has a pair of losses to McDowell on its resume this season, while Hollidaysburg has rattled off four-straight wins since starting the season 0-2, including 35-12 over Central Mountain in the D6 title game last week.
Here’s how the teams stack up.
Cathedral Prep offense (36.0 ppg.)
The Ramblers have found most of their success this season on the ground.
A big reason for that is running back Michael Parks, who has rushed for 773 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Quarterback Tamar Sample is a true dual-threat, accounting for 435 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground and 457 yards and four scores through the air.
When Sample looks to throw, Patrick Fortin (139 yards, 2 TDs) and DaMario Crawford (104 yards) are among his top targets.
Hollidaysburg Offense (21.5 ppg.)
The Golden Tigers like to run the ball, but they will put it in the air as well.
Bryce Martellacci is also a dual-threat, leading the Golden Tigers in rushing with 412 yards and five touchdowns, while completing 52 percent of his passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns. Backup quarterback Jake McGinnis also threw a touchdown pass last week.
Gage Shawley has also rushed for 207 yards.
The top receivers are DeShawn Moss (13-272-3 and Tyler Faber (11-111-1).
Cathedral Prep Defense (20.5 ppg.)
Headlining this unit for the Ramblers are Kelyn Blossey (39 tackles, 4 TFL), John David Campbell (30 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 sacks), Damario Crawford (27 tackles, 3 interceptions).
Hollidaysburg Defense (20.0 ppg.)
The Hollidaysburg defense has been much better in its last four games Leading them are Rocco Grassi (54 tackles, 3 TFL), Ben Estep (41 tackles, 3 TFL), Hunter Gibbons (35 tackles, 5 TFL) and Jamel Boykin (2 intercpetions).
OIL CITY (8-0) vs. JUNIATA (5-1), Mansion Park, Altoona, 1 p.m.
The Oilers have been nothing short of dominant this season, including last week’s 51-14 drubbing of previously unbeaten Harbor Creek in the D-10 Class 4A title game.
OC is seeking a state playoff victory for the second consecutive season after beating Hollidaysburg in 2019.
Juniata, meanwhile, is coming off a 24-21 win over Bellefonte in the District 6 title game. They have won a pair of overtime games this season as well.
Here’s how the teams match up.
Oil City Offense (56 ppg.)
The Oilers are a dominant run team, thanks to a dominant offensive line and a number of athletic, powerful backs. Cam Russell leads, the way, but it was actually Sean Stack who had a career game in the win over Harbor Creek with 202 yards and four touchdowns.
Russell has been one of the premier backs in D10, rushing for 1,483 yards and 20 touchdowns (12.7 yards per carry), while quarterback Holden Stahl has rushed for 235 yards and Stack 666 yards.
Stahl has completed 68 percent of his passes this season for 779 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception. His primary targets are Dakota Cole (16-353-5 touchdowns) and JT Stahlman (11-409-5)
Juniata Offense (24.7 ppg.)
The Indians feature a balanced attack, and are led on the ground by Yaniel Ortiz (357 yards, 4 TDs) and Caleb Seeger (352 yards, 3 TDs).
Quarterback Jacob Condo is completing 54 percent of his passes for 637 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
Condo’s top receivers are Ortiz (19-187-3) and Seeger (10-155).
Oil City Defense (5.9 ppg.)
Harbor Creek’s 14 points were the first time the Oilers have given up scoring of any kind in a month. Quite simply, they have been dominant. Spearheading the unit are Zac Kiefer (66 tackles), Brayden Crocker (61 tackles, 9 tackles for loss), Mario Fontanazza (49 tackles, 9 TFL), Russell (47 tackles, 8 sacks), Justin Fagley (43 tackles, 11 sacks) and Dakota Cole (5 interceptions).
Juniata Defense (20.0 ppg.)
The Indians have been much better on defense since allowing 57 points to Middletown in their season-opener. They are led by Trent Martin (30 tackles, 2 sacks), Jonathan Kauffman (3 sacks) and Seeger (3 interceptions).
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D9 REGULAR SEASON
Curwensville (1-5) at Keystone (3-2)
It’s been quite awhile since Keystone has played a football game, almost a month, since the Panthers lost to Redbank Valley on Oct. 9. COVID-19 concerns following that game has prevented the Panthers to get back on the field and they’re resuming what appears to be one more game in a rematch with Curwensville.
On Oct. 2 in Curwensville, the Panthers held off the Tide for a 26-16 win. In that one, Nick Weaver ran for 145 yards on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns. Tide quarterback Dan McGarry threw for 102 yards and a touchdown while running for the team’s other TD.
For the year, Weaver (65-385, 7 TDs) leads the team’s running game that’s averaged 158 yards per game.
Curwensville notched its first win with a 36-0 rout of Bucktail two weeks ago. The Tide then picked up a game with West Branch last week and lost 21-14. McGarry has thrown for 561 yards (70-for-125) with his top receiving target being Ty Terry (26-267, 1 TD).
Otto-Eldred (3-3) at Cameron County (0-6)
The teams are making up their earlier game that was postponed on Oct. 2, so to speak, in Duke Center due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Terrors look to win their third straight game, picking up wins over Kane (41-34) and Bradford (39-13) last week out of the D9 Large School Bubble Division. Last week, quarterback Cole Sebastian threw for 276 yards and three TDs while rushing for another score. For the year, he’s passed for 1,283 yards (105-for-176, 12 TDs, 6 Ints.) and is 268 yards shy of reaching the 6,000-yard career passing milestone.
The Red Raiders lost 44-6 to Port Allegany last week. The Red Raiders’ lone score came when Eyan Smith recovered teammate Dylan Baney’s fumble in the end zone. Baney threw for 85 yards while Dylan Reider ran for 39.