After two weeks of action in the Intermediate Unit 9 bubble, attention turns to Week 4 as all three Tri-County Area teams are back in action this week.
Ridgway and St. Marys face off in a battle of unbeatens while Elk County Catholic will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it visits Coudersport.
Both games kick off Friday at 7 p.m.
Here is a closer look at this week’s games:
at St. Marys (2-0)
The Dutchmen host the Elkers in a pivotal early season matchup to determine first place in the IU-9 Large School Division.
Both teams have opened their respective seasons with back-to-back wins, putting them in a tie atop the division at 2-0, while Bradford and Kane are tied for third at 0-2 in the four-team division.
Week 3 saw both teams hit the road and secure convincing wins, as the Elkers traveled to Bradford and came away with a 45-14 win, while the Dutchmen came home with a 23-7 win over Kane.
The matchup will pit a pair of offenses that have found their stride early in the season against a pair of strong defenses.
For St. Marys, the offense lead’s the area with 46.0 points per game, led by the third-best passing attack, which has 274.5 yards per game on the year.
The air raid is led by Christian Coudriet, who is currently third among area quarterbacks with 509 yards passing on 43-of-69 completions for seven touchdowns to just one interception.
Coudriet has many reliable targets in the passing game, but the group is led by Bryce Walker and Michael Fitzgerald, who account for five of the team’s seven receiving scores.
Walker has three receptions for touchdowns on 10 catches for 118 yards, while Fitzgerald has made 10 grabs as well for a pair of scores and 101 yards.
On the other side, the Elkers have used a balanced offensive attack coupled with a strong defense to open the year with a pair of wins.
Offensively, Camron Marciniak leads Ridgway’s ground game with 82 yards on 20 totes and three scores, while Ben Briggs has completed 12-of-19 passes for 156 yards and one score.
Defensively, St. Marys and Ridgway are third and fourth, respectively in points allowed per game at 10.0 and 14.0, as well as yards allowed per game at 155.5 and 161.5.
Turnovers could be key in the big matchup, as both teams have relied on turnovers in their opening two wins.
The Dutchmen are second in the area with a plus-three turnover ratio, having forced four turnovers while giving the ball away just once, while Ridgway follows in third with a plus-two ratio with five takeaways to three giveaways.
Elk County Catholic (1-1) at
After a commanding season opening victory over Cameron County at home, the Crusaders went on the road last week and suffered a 39-6 blowout loss to Smethport.
The game will be a matchup of run-heavy offenses, as the Crusaders are second in the Tri-County Area with 174.5 rushing yards per game, while Coudersport has rushed for 303.5 yards per game.
The Falcons have won their first two games in convincing fashion, routing Port Allegany 60-6 at home before going on the road and beating Cameron County 45-0.
Sam Kaul leads ECC’s ground game as well as the Tri-County Area, as he has rushed for 238 yards so far this season on 18 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
The Crusaders also rely on the legs of Nick Crisp, who has rushed 34 times for 123 yards and one score.
On the other side, Coudersport is led by dual-threat quarterback Hayden Keck, who has already found the end zone six times on the ground this year on 14 carries for 262 yards.
In the passing game, Keck has completed 5-of-9 passes, with two going for touchdowns on 148 yards.