SMETHPORT, Pa. – A big-time matchup will take place in Week Six in District 9 when two of the top contenders for the District 9 Class 1A crown meet in Smethport.
In the key game of the 13-game District 9 slate, Smethport hosts Redbank Valley in a rematch of last year’s D9 1A title game won by Redbank Valley, 20-6. That was the first title for the Bulldogs (4-1) since 1996, and Redbank Valley is on the shortlist of contenders this year again.
So is unbeaten Smethport, as the Hubbers have cruised to a 5-0 start with wins over Sheffield (49-6), Brockway (35-19), Port Allegany (35-14), Bucktail (40-0) and Otto-Eldred (56-18).
After dropping a 22-20 opener at Keystone, the Bulldogs have rolled to wins over Otto-Eldred (59-6), Elk County Catholic (51-0), Sheffield (55-6) and Brockway (51-0).
Both teams have players back from last year’s playoff runs, but the Hubbers have the hottest performer in the district returning at quarterback in senior Noah Lent. He’s almost literally doing it all for the Hubbers to date. To note:
— Lent has a hand in over 82 percent of his team’s offensive yards from scrimmage, leading the district in rushing with 918 yards on 88 carries with 16 touchdowns.
— He’s completed 38 of 62 passes for 13 TDs against just one interception.
— The Hubbers have scored 29 TDs, so doing the math above, that means Lent has had a hand in every TD scored by his team so far.
Ryan Pelchy (38-231) also has carries out of the backfield for the Hubbers while Lent’s top receiving targets are Alex Ognen (16-285, 8 TDs) and Brandon Higley (12-216, 2 TDs).
The Bulldogs have first-year senior quarterback Bryson Bain running the offense. He’s completed 44 of 60 passes for 707 yards with 14 TDs and three interceptions. Overall, eight different receivers have caught TD passes, so the target list is varied with Marquese Gardlock (13-227, 2 TDs), Tate Minich (12-194, 5 TDs), Chris Marshall (10-167, 4 TDs), Aiden Ortz (5-113, 1 TD) and Mason Clouse (6-107, 2 TDs).
Freshman backup Drew Byers (29-239, 3 TDs) actually leads the team in rushing thanks to plenty of carries in blowouts. Senior Ray Shreckengost (30-176, 4 TDs) is the team’s top returning rusher who missed the first two games with an injury.
While those two games are slugging it out in McKean County, the other key Class 1A game that’ll continue to determine the Class 1A hierarchy features Port Allegany (2-2) visiting Union/A-C Valley (3-1).
And then in the weeks to come, other key games still to be played have unbeaten Keystone hosting Union/ACV next Thursday, Oct. 7 and the Panthers going to Smethport on Oct. 15. Redbank Valley visits Union/ACV Oct. 22.
This Saturday, the Panthers (4-0) travel to Sheffield (0-5). The other D9 unbeatens see Clearfield (5-0) visiting Philipsburg-Osceola (2-3) and Karns City (5-0) hosting St. Marys (4-1).
In other games, Brockway (1-4) visits Otto-Eldred (1-4), Elk County Catholic (2-2) is still scheduled to host Cameron County (3-1), Coudersport (1-3) hosts Bucktail (0-4), Moniteau (1-3) visits Brookville (4-1), DuBois (2-3) heads to Bradford (0-5), Kane (3-2) visits Central Clarion (0-4), Ridgway (4-1) hosts Punxsutawney (0-4) and Curwensville (3-2) is on the road at unbeaten Bellwood-Antis (5-0).
Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION
St. Marys (4-1) at Karns City (5-0)
The unbeaten Gremlins are coming off a decisive 41-7 win over previously unbeaten Brookville and now they host one-loss St. Marys, which had to hold off a comeback effort by Central Clarion before holding off the Wildcats, 42-29. Karns City beat Central Clarion, 37-13, in Week 2.
Karns City is chugging along, averaging 349 yards per game rushing with most of it coming on the ground led by running backs Jayce Anderson (51-412, 3 TDs) and Luke Garing (51-349, 10 TDs). Quarterback Eric Booher (24-for-41, 481 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Int.) has been efficient passing with Cooper Coyle (7-173, 2 TDs) his top receiver.
The Dutch have won four straight games since an opening loss to Ridgway. Quarterback Christian Coudriet (97-for-151, 1,073 yards, 9 TDs, 3 Ints.) is over 1,000 yards for the season with Logan Mosier (24-394, 4 TDs) and Carter Chadsey (25-330, 3 TDs) his top receiving targets. Mosier is coming off a big game, scoring three TDs on a reception, interception and kick return while catching three passes for 128 yards.
Moniteau (1-3) at Brookville (4-1)
The Raiders host the Warriors, who are coming off their first win of the season in a 44-38 shootout over Bradford last week. The Raiders dropped their first game in a 41-7 loss to Karns City, which beat Moniteau 44-6 two weeks ago.
Raiders quarterback Charlie Krug (74-for-117, 955 yards, 10 TDs, 5 Ints.), receivers Brayden Kunselman (25-506, 6 TDs) and Noah Peterson (16-189, 3 TDs), and running back Jackson Zimmerman (35-263, 4 TDs) lead the offense.
While the Warriors are run-heavy, they have passed more this year, with the exception of last week’s win over Bradford that saw them throw just one pass and put two runners over 100 yards in Matt Martino and Hunter Stalker, and 99 from quarterback J.D. Dessicino.
For the season, Dessicino (23-for-55, 244 yards, 2 TDs, 6 Ints.) runs the passing game while Martino (64-430, 4 TDs), Stalker (54-293, 1 TD) and Dessicino (35-180, 2 TDs) make up the bulk of the running attack.
DuBois (2-3) at Bradford (0-5)
The Beavers try to make it three wins in a row and build off last week’s impressive 21-6 win over Ridgway as they head north to play the Owls, who harbor the district’s longest current losing streak at 14 straight games.
Quarterbacks Cam-Ron Hays, who threw two TD passes against Ridgway last week, and Austin Mitchell have combined to throw for 539 yards and four TDs, completing 51 of 98 passes. Derraick Burkett (20-190, 3 TDs), Brycen Dinkfelt (11-129) and Braxton Adams (10-105) are the top receivers. Mitchell (40-166, 4 TDs), Austin Henery (36-127) and Adams (30-106, 1 TD) are the top rushers.
Owls quarterback Elijah Fitton has thrown for 1,156 yards (80-for-131, 9 TDs, 8 Ints.) and leads the team in rushing (40-137, 2 TDs). Dalton Dixon (33-668, 6 TDs) and Jerrid Wilmoth (24-347, 3 TDs) are his top receivers. Fitton threw for 321 yards and four TDs in last week’s 44-38 loss at Moniteau as the Owls gave up 575 rushing yards to the Warriors.
Kane (3-2) at Central Clarion County (0-4)
The Wildcats host the Wolves at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium looking for their first win. It’s been a tough start for the Wolves, whose foes are a combined 16-2 going into the game with Kane.
Leading the Wildcats are quarterback Jase Ferguson (36-for-79, 520 yards, 6 TDs, 8 Ints.), running back Breckin Rex (50-317, 2 TDs), and receivers Christian Simko (10-210, 3 TDs) and Ashton Rex (10-177, 3 TDs).
The Wolves, prior to their 29-0 shutout win over Punxsutawney last week, are led by quarterback Harley Morris (41-for-75, 503 yards, 4 TDs, 4 Ints.; 41-174, 1 TD rushing) and Ricky Zampogna (41-180, 1 TD rushing; 13-142 receiving) and receiver Landon Darr (12-135, 2 TDs).
Punxsutawney (0-4) at Ridgway (4-1)
The Elkers look to bounce back from their first loss of the season in a 21-6 setback at DuBois by hosting the winless Chucks, who were shut out 29-0 by Kane last week. The Elkers beat Kane, 42-6, in Week 2.
Ridgway, held to a season-low 151 yards against DuBois, still average a healthy 312 yards per game offensively. Cameron Larkin, since replacing injured quarterback Jonathan Hinton after his Week 4 injury, has completed 19 of 33 passes for 210 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. A trio of backs — Camron Marciniak (44-333, 4 TDs), Dom Allegretto (33-320, 6 TDs) and Eric Salberg (33-204, 3 TDs) power the running game.
The Chucks average 215 yards per game offensively with quarterback Noah Weaver (23-for-42, 197 yards, 3 Ints.; 19-137, 2 TDs rushing), running back Zeke Bennett (82-287, 2 TDs), and receivers Gabe Kengersky (16-137) and Alex Phillips (10-105, 1 TD) leading the unit.
SMALL SCHOOL CROSSOVER
Port Allegany (2-2) at Union/A-C Valley (3-1)
The Gators travel to Rimersburg to play a game just four days after their 46-20 win over Coudersport Monday night. And it was running back Blaine Moses going wild as he earned a share of the Jim Kelly Player of the Week Award after running for 371 yards on 37 carries and six touchdowns.
Going into the game, Moses (now 71-533, 8 TDs) had just 162 yards on the ground in the first three games. Mostly, it’s been balance for the Gators’ offense led by junior quarterback Drew Evens (43-for-87, 775 yards, 6 TDs, 5 Ints.) and running back Noah Archer (37-269, 3 TDs rushing; 11-211, 3 TDs receiving). Evens’ other leading receiving targets are Peyton Stiles (17-234) and A.J. Wiley (7-211, 3 TDs).
The Falcon Knights are coming off a half-game 41-0 win over Elk County Catholic, when the Crusaders stopped at halftime due to the lack of available players. The Falcon Knights are averaging 326 yards per game with quarterback Bailey Crissman (15-for-37, 184 yards, 4 TDs) receivers Skyler Roxbury (6-84, 1 TD) and Ryan Cooper (6-54, 1 TD) and running backs Mikey Card (29-281, 3 TDs), Dawson Camper (16-133, 5 TDs) and Crissman (18-100). Caden Rainey (102.3) is second on the team in all-purpose yards per game behind Card and is coming off last week’s game where he scored three TDs with a run, pass reception and punt return.
Brockway (1-4) at Otto-Eldred (1-4)
The Rovers look to stop a four-game losing streak after opening the season with a win. They’ve scored three touchdowns in their last three games, coming off a 51-0 loss at Redbank Valley. The Terrors are coming off a 56-18 loss at unbeaten Smethport, which beat Brockway 35-19 in Week 2.
Quarterback Brayden Fox (84-for-157, 6 TDs, 10 Ints.), running back Carter Hickman (71-193, 2 TDs), and receivers Alex Carlson (32-255, 2 TDs, Jalen Kosko (15-224, 3 TDs) and Matt Pyne (13-211, 1 TD) lead the Rovers.
Going into the Smethport game, quarterback Gavin Jimerson (34-for-77, 369 yards, 1 TD, 5 Ints.), running backs Chance Palmer (28-112) and Hunter App (30-105), and receiver Manning Splain (9-123) were the stat leaders for the Terrors.
Cameron County (3-1) at Elk County Catholic (2-2)
The Red Raiders head to St. Marys presumably to play a banged up and shorthanded Crusaders team that had to stop their game at halftime in last week’s 41-0 loss at Union/A-C Valley, one week after canceling their matchup with Port Allegany.
The Red Raiders beat Sheffield, 54-2, last week. Quarterback Maddux Baughman (37-for-87, 633 yards, 7 TDs, 10 Ints.) and running back Lathan Reed (41-345, 3 TDs rushing; 8-205, 3 TDs receiving) lead the offense.
ECC’s top players are quarterback Ben Paul (21-for-53, 332 yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints.), running backs Noah Cherry (42-160) and Ben Reynolds (40-137, 3 TDs), and receiver Joe Tettis (9-192, 1 TD).
Bucktail (0-4) at Coudersport (1-3)
The Bucks, who led unbeaten Keystone at the half last week before losing 29-12, look for their first win when they visit the one-win Falcons, who are coming off a Monday night 46-20 loss to Port Allegany.
Bucktail also has losses to ECC (20-6), Cameron County (22-20) and Smethport (40-0) while Coudersport beat Sheffield (63-0) and lost to Cameron County (28-27) and ECC (13-12).
The Bucks scored twice in the first half for a 12-7 halftime lead on Ashton Intallura’s 80-yard fumble return and a Hail Mary pass covering 53 yards from Dylan Cross to Brody Pentz on the last play of the half.
The Falcons gave up 426 yards rushing in Monday’s loss to Port Allegany, 371 of it to Blaine Moses, who scored six touchdowns. The Falcons managed 202 yards of offense, most of it on the ground. For the season, quarterback Gavyn Ayers (8-for-26, 160 yards, 1 TD, 4 Ints. passing; 50-321, 8 TDs rushing), and running backs Dylan Kelly (58-272, 4 TDs), Xander Brown (25-117, 1 TD) and Ethan Ott (25-110, 1 TD) are the leading offensive players.
Keystone (4-0) at Sheffield (0-5), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The last time these two teams met, it was the season-opener a year ago also in Sheffield where the Keystone blasted the Wolverines, 86-0, leading Sheffield to shut down for the season.
The Panthers are coming off a 29-12 win at home against Bucktail after trailing at halftime. The Panthers got a big game from Kyle Nellis, who rushed for 203 yards on 27 carries with two TDs. For the season, Nellis leads the team in rushing, 426 yards on 70 carries with three TDs. Quarterback Bret Wingard (21-for-59, 309 yards, 4 TDs, 2 Ints.) and Zander McHenry (11-128, 3 TDs) also lead the Panthers offense.
Sheffield has been outscored 298-14 in its five losses, getting a safety in last week’s 54-2 loss to Cameron County.
Clearfield (5-0) at Philipsburg-Osceola (2-3)
The Bison are averaging 38 points per game while yielding just four touchdowns all season as they head to Philipsburg to face the Mounties. The Bison blanked Bellefonte, 48-0, last week while P-O is coming off a 21-14 win over Moshannon Valley. The Mounties lost to Bellefonte, 22-6, in Week 2.
Clearfield averages 401 yards per game offensively with quarterback Oliver Billotte (40-for-77, 688 yards, 6 TDs, 2 Ints.; 42-257, 8 TDs rushing), running back Mark McGonigal (62-494, 7 TDs), and receiver Karson Kline (21-381, 4 TDs) leading the way.
Quarterback Ben Gustkey (21-for-49, 377 yards, 6 TDs, 6 Ints.) and running back Matt Martin (59-340, 1 TD) lead the Mounties.
Curwensville (3-2) at Bellwood-Antis (5-0)
The Golden Tide visit the unbeaten Blue Devils, who average 35.8 points per game while giving up just five touchdowns so far. The Blue Devis beat Northern Bedford (27-0) in Week 3. The Golden Tide are coming off a 41-20 loss to Northern Bedford. The Tide and Blue Devils have both beaten Glendale, the Tide 32-29 two weeks ago and Bellwood 42-0 last week.
Curwensville quarterback Dan McGarry has piled up 1,352 passing yards, completing 95 of 159 attempts with 12 TDs and six interceptions. Ty Terry (42-691, 6 TDs), Jake Mullins (22-336, 4 TDs) and Thad Butler (24-260, 2 TDs) are his top targets. Butler leads the team in rushing (50-373, 4 TDs).
Bellwood’s top players are quarterback Zach Pellegrine (28-for-47, 473 yards, 5 TDs, 2 Ints.) and running back Connor Gibbons (76-487, 8 TDs).
The Blue Devils are 53-7 over the past six seasons, winning 23 of their last 25 games.