It’s the final week of the regular season for District 9 football. What does that mean for the playoff-bound Brookville Raiders and Central Clarion Wildcats?
Well, positioning in the Class 2A playoffs and it doesn’t matter what the Raiders or Wildcats do in their games Friday night. The 5-0 Raiders, who travel to 2-3 DuBois, have sewed up the No. 1 seed while the Wildcats, 4-1 after their incredible second-half comeback win at Karns City, are locked in at No. 2 going into their game at 0-5 Punxsutawney.
Who the Raiders and Wildcats play next week in the semifinals depend on the results of two games — Moniteau at Karns City and St. Marys at Ridgway. Karns City and Ridgway are the other two Class 2A playoff teams. If Ridgway loses for a second time to St. Marys — the Dutch beat the Elkers 34-7 two weeks ago — and Karns City tops Moniteau for a second time, the Gremlins will be the No. 3 seed and Elkers drop to No. 4
That would set up a Ridgway at Brookville and Karns City at Central Clarion semifinal. Otherwise, a Ridgway win over St. Marys would flip the Elkers to No. 3 regardless of what Karns City does against Moniteau.
While it has been stated that no neutral sites will be used in the postseason, that might not be a done deal, although the semifinals seem certain as stated.
In Class 1A, it’ll be Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley from the Southern Region while Smethport and Coudersport, both unbeaten teams from the IU9 bubble who play this Friday, make up the four-team field that’ll start next week as well.
St. Marys and Clearfield will square off for the Class 3A title next week with the winner playing the District 5 champion Oct. 30 or 31.
The two Class 4A teams, DuBois and Bradford, are actually still in the cut for the top two in the sub-region setup with District 6 and now not District 8, or the Pittsburgh City League, which opted out of the postseason. The Beavers (2-3) and Owls (0-4) are in a field with Juniata (2-1), Johnstown (0-5) and Bellefonte (1-3).
Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
Brookville (5-0) at
The Raiders haven’t been 6-0 since starting 1971 7-0. The only other time prior to that was a 7-0 run to start 1933. An unbeaten regular season? Yes, a win this week against the Beavers would give the Raiders a perfect regular season for the first time ever, albeit doing it with a shorter schedule.
One could argue that the 1933 team coached by Joe Barnett finished the season at 7-0, clinching what was called the “Jefferson County Championship” with a 13-6 win over Punxsutawney. It appears that the Raiders picked up a game with DuBois over Thanksgiving weekend and were routed, 47-12, to finish 7-1.
This week’s matchup with the Beavers is a regular-season rematch, the first time that’s ever happened in program history where the Raiders have played a team twice before the playoffs.
In the season-opener, the Raiders beat the Beavers, 42-28. Since then, the Beavers split their four games with wins over winless Punxsutawney (24-0) and Moniteau 19-16 last week on a last-second touchdown. Since starting 0-2, which included a 55-14 loss to Karns City after losing to the Raiders, the Beavers have played well. They lost 15-7 to Central Clarion two weeks ago.
“DuBois is a much-improved football team and we’ll try to go in and take care of business and get out as healthy as we can get and move on from there,” Raiders head coach Scott Park said. “We have a chance to finish the regular season unbeaten and I guess we’ll see what happens.”
The Raiders blast in averaging 46.2 points and 436 yards of offense per game. In the opener against DuBois, they rode the passing game of Jack Krug who threw for 383 yards and four touchdowns, completing 27 of 41 passes.
Robert Keth scored three touchdowns, two on short runs and caught five passes for 92 yards as four receivers had at least five receptions and 84 yards. Brayden Kunselman, who missed last week’s game with an injury but could be back by the playoffs, had eight catches for 87 yards and two TDs. Kyle MacBeth caught 10 balls for 98 yards.
For the season, Krug has thrown for 1,493 yards and 22 TDs against just three interceptions, completing 68 percent of his passes (105-for-154). Four of his receivers have at least 22 receptions — MacBeth (27-435, 5 TDs), Kunselman (24-406, 7 TDs), Keth (23-296, 5 TDs) and Ryan Daisley (22-225, 1 TD).
Krug needs one TD pass to reach 100 for his career. The only other D9 passer to have more is all-time leader Matt Bodamer of Port Allegany with 137.
Nathan Taylor (44), Keth (42) and Elliot Park (40) are the top tacklers on the Raiders’ defense with Kyle MacBeth’s four interceptions among the 10 overall leading the secondary. The Raiders are giving up 17.2 points and 199 yards per game, enjoying a turnover ratio of plus-8.
Beavers sophomore quarterback Cam-Ron Hays has thrown for 631 yards, completing 60 of 103 passes with three TDs and five interceptions while running back Zach Henery (90-437, 1 TD) leads the team in rushing. Ruben Estrada (43-131, 5 TDs) ran for two scores last week, including the game winner from two yards out with 2.8 seconds on the clock.
Dale Kot (23-302, 2 TDs) and Derraick Burkett (18-145) are Hays’ top receiving targets.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at E.J. Mansell Stadium.
Central Clarion (4-1) at Punxsutawney (0-5)
The Wildcats head to play the Chucks this time in another rematch as well from the season-opener won 42-6 by the Wildcats at the C-L Sports Complex.
The first time around, the Wildcats piled up 458 yards of offense against the Chucks who managed 229 yards, much of that on Kameron Falgout’s 84-yard TD run.
Cal German passed for 292 yards and four touchdowns. He’s rolling along so far this year, completing 79 of 159 attempts for 1,478 yards and 18 TDs against four interceptions. German also eclipsed the 4,000-yard milestone and sits at 4,150 yards and 57 TD passes after helping engineer last week’s remarkable second-half comeback at Karns City with 330 yards and four TDs.
While Ethan Burford was limited to just three catches for 50 yards, he still leads the team with 601 receiving yards on 23 catches. Cutter Boggess (30-425, 5 TDs) and Christian Simko (10-224, 4 TDs), who caught six balls for 161 yards and two TDs, are the other threats.
The running game is led by Breckin Rex (43-281, 2 TDs) and Boggess (31-184, 3 TDs).
The Chucks, who have lost 21 straight games, have scored five TDs all season and ended a two-game shutout streak with 14 points in their 49-14 loss to Brookville last week. The Chucks average 190 yards per game offensively, with Kameron Falgout (56-248, 2 TDs) and Zeke Bennett (87-238) getting most of the yards out of the backfield rushing.
Falgout (27-for-60, 249 yards, 2 TDs, 6 Ints.) and Seth Moore (15-for-28, 129 yards, 1 TD, 4 Ints.) shared passing duties last week with Moore who completed 7 of 13 for 44 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Bennett (16-137) and Alex Phillips (11-129) are the top receivers.
Kickoff at LaMarca Stadium is set for 7 p.m.