For sure, there will be one less undefeated team in District 9 football after this weekend’s schedule of games — 12 on Friday and one Saturday — are completed.
It’s a battle of unbeatens in Brookville as two 4-0 teams clash in the Large School Division when the Raiders host Karns City Friday night.
It’s a rematch of last year’s Class 2A Championship game won 16-14 by the Gremlins in the closing seconds by an Owen Colwell field goal.
Four other teams are unbeaten, two of them on the road with the other unbeaten at home as Smethport (4-0) hosts Otto-Eldred (1-3) in the Small School North while Ridgway (4-0) travels to DuBois (1-3) in another Large School matchup. In the Mountain League, Clearfield (4-0) visits Bellefonte (1-3).
Also in the Large School, Kane (2-2) hosts Punxsutawney (0-3) — an 80-minute trip north for the Chucks — while Central Clarion (0-3) visits St. Marys (3-1) and Bradford (0-4) treks to Moniteau (0-3) — the Owls would have a shorter trip to Buffalo — in a battle of winless teams.
In the Small School South, Bucktail (0-3) travels westward to Keystone (3-0) — almost 128 miles, or the about the same length of trip Keystone would take to, oh, Cleveland — Brockway (1-3) travels to Redbank Valley (3-1) and Union/A-C Valley (2-1) hosts Elk County Catholic (2-1) at Union High School in Rimersburg, or an 85-minute trip for the Crusaders.
Also in the Small School North, Sheffield (0-4) visits Cameron County (2-1) on Friday and Port Allegany (1-2) hosts Coudersport (1-2) on Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Clearfield (4-0) visits Bellefonte (1-3) in the Mountain League while Curwensville (3-1) visits Northern Bedford (1-3) — roughly a 90-minute hike south — in the Inter-County Conference.
The Raiders and Gremlins have built 4-0 records against struggling teams so far as their combined foes have managed just one win — DuBois in its first win of the year last week against Kane. Brookville has beaten Bradford (36-6), DuBois (21-7), Punxsutawney (35-6) and Central Clarion (40-14) while Karns City owns wins over Girard (35-17), Punxsutawney (42-8), Central Clarion (37-13) and Moniteau (44-6).
While Karns City still thrives with its running game led this year by Jayce Anderson (37-318, 3 TDs), Luke Garing (35-246, 7 TDs) and Zach Blair (11-121, 3 TDs), quarterback Erik Booher (21-for-34, 389 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Int.) has thrown the ball well with his leading receiver Cooper Croyle (6-146, 2 TDs).
The Gremlins did lose key players to graduation, and perhaps the Raiders lost more, but it’s been a good start for first-year starting quarterback in sophomore Charlie Krug (65-for-93, 863 yards, 10 TDs, 4 Ints.), the younger brother of 8,000-yard passer and graduated Jack. He’s coming off his best game in last week’s win over Central Clarion. Brayden Kunselman (23-484, 6 TDs) is Krug’s top receiving target.
In other games:
Ridgway (4-0) at DuBois (1-3)
The Elkers cruise into Mansell Stadium with a perfect record averaging 41 points per game, coming off a 56-19 rout of Bradford. They and Beavers share one common foe with St. Marys, which beat DuBois 14-7 two weeks ago after opening the year with a 24-7 loss to Elkers in the opening week.
Ridgway averages 252 yards per game offensively, led by mostly by the running game and Camron Marciniak (39-318, 4 TDs), Dom Allegretto (29-318, 6 TDs) and Eric Salburg (28-182, 3 TDs). Quarterbacks Cameron Larkin (11-for-18, 94 yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints.) and Jonathan Hinton (21-for-24, 397 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints.) have shared passing duties with Will Howard (11-124, 1 TD) and Allegretto (9-168, 2 TDs) the leading receivers.
Punxsutawney (0-3) at Kane (2-2)
The Wolves host the Chucks, hoping at least the every other week win theme continues against the Chucks. The Wolves lost 34-6 last week to winless DuBois while the Chucks fell 41-21 to St. Marys. Neither team share a common foe to this point.
Wolves quarterback Harley Morris (41-for-75, 503 yards, 4 TDs, 4 Ints.; 41-174, 1 TD rushing), running back Ricky Zampogna (41-180, 1 TD; 13-142 receiving), and recevers Landon Darr (12-135, 2 TDs) and Shane Ackley (7-147) lead the offense.
The Chucks are led by quarterback Noah Weaver (22-for-37, 185 yards, 3 Ints.; 12-107 rushing, 2 TDs), running back Zeke Bennett (58-206, 2 TDs) and receiver Gabe Kengersky (14-128).
Bradford (0-4) at Moniteau (0-3)
Someone will end a winless season in West Sunbury. The host Warriors have losses to Kane (21-6), Ridgway (42-14) and Karns City (44-6) while the Owls lost to Brookville (36-6), St. Marys (30-19), Kane (32-18) and Ridgway (56-19).
Quarterback David Dessicino (19-for-40, 213 yards, 1 TD, 6 Ints.; 15-66, 1 TD rushing), running back Matt Martino (23-85, 1 TD) and receiver Cooper Boozel (10-118, 1 TD) lead the Moniteau offense.
Owls quarterback Elijah Fitton does much of the work for the offense that’s managed just 89 yards rushing in four games. Fitton has completed 59 of 99 passes for 835 yards with five TDs and six interceptions, although freshman Talan Reese threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns on 21-for-47 passing in last week’s blowout loss to Ridgway.
Dalton Dixon (24-484, 4 TDs) and Jerrid Wilmoth (19-295, 3 TDs) are the Owls’ top receivers.
Central Clarion County (0-3) at St. Marys (3-1)
In last week’s 41-21 win over Punxsutawney, Dutch senior quarterback Christian Coudriet became the 14th D9 quarterback to go over 5,000 career passing yards. He now stands at 5,031 yards and 48 TDs going into their game with the winless Wildcats.
He’s 247 yards shy of tying No. 13 Tyler Armagost of Moniteau. Here’s the updated all-time passing list.
For the season, he’s completed 89 of 134 passes for 843 yards with seven TDs and three interceptions. His top receivers are Carter Chadsey (23-270, 2 TDs) and Logan Mosier (21-266, 3 TDs).
Central Clarion freshman quarterback Jase Ferguson (21-for-53, 279 yards, 2 TDs, 6 Ints.) runs the Wildcats offense that lost its leading rusher Breckin Rex (27-231, 1 TD) to an injury in the first half of last week’s loss to Brookville. His status isn’t certain for this week.
Christian Simko (6-114, 1 TD) and Ashton Rex (6-103, 1 TD) are the top Wildcats receivers.
SMALL SCHOOL SOUTH
Brockway (1-3) at Redbank Valley (3-1)
The Rovers probably feel like they’re better than a 1-3 team heading into their trip to the defending Class 1A champion Bulldogs. Brockway picked up Maplewood at the last minute due to their scratched game with Coudersport and lost at the D10 school, 18-7. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs routed Sheffield for their third straight blowout win.
Brockway freshman quarterback Brayden Fox (76-for-142, 875 yards, 6 TDs, 8 Ints.) runs the Rovers’ spread offense with his top receiving targets Alex Carlson (24-182, 2 TDs), Matt Pyne (13-211, 1 TD), Jalen Kosko (16-235, 3 TDs) and Blake Pisarcik (17-196).
The Bulldogs average 249 yards of offense per game. Quarterback Bryson Bain (32-for-45, 574 yards, 11 TDs, 3 Ints.) and receivers Chris Marshall (10-167, 4 TDs), Tate Minich (9-133, 4 TDs) and Gardlock (9-196, 1 TD). Seven different players have caught TD passes. Drew Byers (23-206, 2 TDs) and Ray Shreckengost (27-259, 3 TDs) are the leading rushers.
Elk County Catholic (2-1) at Union/A-C Valley (2-1), at Union
After bowing out of last week’s scheduled game with Port Allegany due to player shortage via injuries and not COVID-19, the Crusaders return to the field this Friday at the Falcon Knights in Union.
Two weeks ago, the Crusaders were routed by Redbank Valley, 51-0, their first loss of the season. They opened with wins over Bucktail (12-0) and Coudersport (13-12). Noah Cherry (32-143) and Ben Reynolds (37-126, 3 TDs) are the Crusaders’ leading rushers while Ben Paul has completed 15 of 36 passes for 238 yard with two TDs and two interceptions. Joe Tettis (5-114, 1 TD) is the top receiver.
The Falcon Knights, after missing a week and canceling a date with Bucktail due to COVID-19 concerns at A-C Valley, returned with a 42-0 rout of Otto-Eldred last week and have a nine-quarter scoreless streak going on defense.
Ryan Cooper is coming off a big game last week, scoring three TDs three different ways with a kick return, interception return and receiving. Running backs Mikey Card (29-281, 3 TDs) and Dawson Camper (16-133, 5 TDs) lead the running game with quarterback Bailey Crissman completing 16 of 37 passes for 195 yards and four TDs against one interception.
Bucktail (0-3) at Keystone (3-0)
It’s quite a trip for Bucktail as they head mostly on Interstate 80 west to get to Knox to play the still unbeaten Panthers, who sat out last week’s scheduled game at Cameron County due to their own COVID-19 concerns.
The Panthers have beaten Redbank Valley (22-20), Port Allegany (36-30) and Brockway (24-6), averaging a modest 210 yards per game offensively. Quarterback Bret Wingard (19-for-54, 295 yards, 4 TDs, 2 Ints.), running back Kyle Nellis (43-223, 1 TD) and receiver Zander McHenry (9-114, 3 TDs) lead the Panthers offense. Aidan Sell and McHenry lead the defense in tackles.
Bucktail was blanked 40-0 at home against Smethport last week after sitting out a week because of COVID-19 issues holding off Union/A-C Valley. They opened with losses to Elk County Catholic (12-0) and Cameron County (22-20).
SMALL SCHOOL NORTH
Otto-Eldred (1-3) at Smethport (4-0)
The Hubbers have quickly established themselves as the team to beat in the North Division thanks largely to the two-way dominance of quarterback Noah Lent, who has accounted for nearly 80 percent of the team’s yards from scrimmage — 408 yards passing (18-for-27, 7 TDs, 1 Int.) and a team-best 500 yards rushing on 49 carries and nine TDs. Alex Ognen (9-195, 4 TDs) and Brandon Higley (5-120, 1 TD) are his top receiving targets.
Lent is the second-leading tackler on the defense with 20 stops behind Travis Cooney’s 24.
The Terrors have scored two touchdowns in their three losses to Port Allegany, Redbank Valley and Union/ACV with their only win a 28-8 victory over Cameron County two weeks ago. Quarterback Gavin Jimerson has thrown for 369 yards while Chance Palmer (28-112) leads the running game.
Sheffield (0-4) at Cameron County (2-1)
The Red Raiders were off last week, their game canceled with Keystone due to COVID-19 concerns with the Panthers. They host winless Sheffield, which lost 55-6 at home to Redbank Valley last Saturday.
The Wolverines scored their first offensive touchdown against the Bulldogs on a Gate Mott-Macalush TD run.
Red Raiders quarterback Maddux Baughman (33-for-79, 488 yards, 6 TDs, 9 Ints.), running back Lathan Reed (25-113, 1 TD) and receiver Dylan Baney (7-178, 3 TDs) lead the offense.
Coudersport (1-2) at Port Allegany (1-2) – MOVED TO MONDAY, SEPT. 27 AT 7 P.M.
While the host Gators look to end a two-game losing streak, the visiting Falcons try to make it two wins in a row although they did not play Brockway last week due to their own COVID-19 concerns.
The Gators have piled up big numbers in just three games, quarterback Drew Evens (34-for-67, 6 TDs, 5 Ints.) passing for 615 yards while running back Noah Archer (37-269, 3 TDs) leads the team in rushing and receiving (11-211, 3 TDs). Other leading receivers are Peyton Stiles (11-158) and A.J. Wiley (5-158, 3 TDs) while Blaine Moses has rushed for 162 yards on 34 carries with two TDs.
Coudersport’s offense is led by the running of quarterback Gavyn Ayers (45-324, 8 TDs rushing; 7-for-20, 147 yards, 1 TD, 3 Ints. passing). Running back Dylan Kelly (45-211, 3 TDs) also helps lead the Falcons offense.
Clearfield (4-0) at Bellefonte (1-3)
The unbeaten Bison head on the road looking to extend their run as they face a Red Raiders team that shares just one common foe so far. Last week, the Bison beat Tyrone 42-12. Two weeks ago, Bellefonte was blanked 21-0 by Tyrone.
Clearfield averages a healthy 400 yards per game offensively with quarterback Oliver Billotte’s passing (32-for-64, 512 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints.) and running (38-238, team-high 8 TDs) leading the way. Mark McGonigal (55-396, 5 TDs) leads the rushers while Billotte’s top receivers are Karson Kline (15-236, 1 TD) and Nate Natoli (6-83, 1 TD).
For Bellefonte, quarterback Nicholas Way (25-for-47, 191 yards passing; 48-101, 1 TD rushing) and running back Grayson Alterio (28-104) lead the offense.
Curwensville (3-1) at Northern Bedford (1-3)
The Golden Tide’s move to the District 6’s ICC schedule is off to a strong start as they’ve won three of four games, including last week’s 32-29 thrilling win over Glendale thanks to a Jake Mullins field goal.
The Tide start a four-week stretch of road games with a trek to the defending D5 Class 1A champion Northern Bedford, which lost to Redbank Valley in the PIAA playoffs. The Panthers started with a win over Southern Huntingdon (7-2) before losses to Cambria Heights (29-0), Bellwood-Antis (27-0) and Windber (56-7). That trio hasn’t lost a game so far this year.
The Panthers are led by quarterback Eion Snyder (16-for-30, 121 yards, 1 TD, 5 Ints.), running back Adam Johnson (26-70) and receivers Brooke Snyder (4-59).
Curwensville junior quarterback Dan McGarry (70-for-109, 1,038 yards, 9 TDs, 5 Ints.) went over 1,000 yards for the season last week with his Player of the Week performance against Glendale. His top receivers are Ty Terry (34-591, 5 TDs) and Mullins (17-234, 3 TDs). Running back Thad Butler (45-344, 4 TDs rushing; 16-185, 1 TD receiving) is a two-way threat.