It’s another crossover week of scheduling for Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley as the high school football season heads into the eighth weekend of the regular season.
Friday, the 4-3 Bulldogs try to stop their three-game slide when they celebrate Homecoming against the 5-2 Coudersport Falcons. Conversely, the 3-4 Falcon Knights to win their third straight game at Emporium when they head to 1-6 Cameron County.
Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
Looking at the playoff standings in Class 1A, both the Bulldogs and Falcon Knights — Union/ACV hosts Redbank Valley next week in Foxburg — are in playoff spots, meaning one of the top eight positions which would ensure a berth if the teams want it.
Right now, it’s unbeaten Smethport (7-0) in front of a three-team scramble of 5-2 teams with Clarion-Limestone, Curwensville and Elk County Catholic. They man the 2-4 spots with Coudersport at No. 5 with the same record but not as many power points because of the weak records of the teams the Falcons have beaten to date.
The Bulldogs are at No. 6 with Otto-Eldred and Union/ACV at Nos. 7 and 8 respectively with 3-4 records. So wins will either help bolster positioning or even a case to go to the playoffs perhaps in the Falcon Knights’ case considering they have teams with winning records awaiting them on the schedule, including unbeaten Ridgway in their final regular-season game.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
Coudersport (5-2) at
Redbank Valley (4-3)
The Falcons and Bulldogs meet for the first time since their first-ever encounter in the 2015 Class 1A playoffs in New Bethlehem. In that game, the Bulldogs beat the Falcons, 24-16.
At least seniors players saw limited action in that game as freshmen — the Bulldogs’ Chase Wiles and the Falcons’ Eli Ayers. Wiles hasn’t played since getting injured in the season-opener while Ayers is a starting lineman/linebacker for the Falcons.
The Falcons are coming off an impressive 47-6 rout of Otto-Eldred last week, bouncing back from a 14-6 loss at home to Curwensville two weeks ago. Their win over Otto-Eldred set up a showdown for the Small School North title next week at home against unbeaten Smethport.
While the defense limited Otto-Eldred to just 43 yards of offense, Stephen Kelly led the Falcons with 179 yards on 28 carried with two touchdowns. Quarterback Hayden Keck threw a TD pass and ran for 32 yards on 12 carries. The Falcons went into the Otto game averaging 275 rushing yards per game while throwing just 26 passes all year. Kelly leads the team with 778 yards rushing and 12 TDs.
The Bulldogs, who beat Otto-Eldred 31-8 in their second game, have given up 99 points in their last three games in losses to C-L (42-16), Smethport (20-7) and Curwensville (37-21). The Bulldogs have been outgained on the ground, 854-177, in those games.
Bulldogs quarterback Keaton Kahle (72-for-124, 926 yards, 8 TDs, 6 Ints.) is closing in on a 1,000-yard season. He’s second on the team in rushing at 328 yards with three TDs. Hunter Wiles (68-429, 2 TDs) is the leading rusher while Hunter Martz (30-302, 3 TDs), Hunter Buzard (22-263, 1 TD) and Ethan Hetrick (17-231, 3 TDs) are the top receiving targets.
The Bulldogs haven’t lost four games in a row since going 1-8 in 2012.
Union/ACV (3-4) at
Cameron County (1-6)
The Falcon Knights haven’t won three in a row since the co-operative setup was started before the 2016 season, so they’ll be favored to do that against a Red Raiders team that’s been outscored 351-18.
Cameron is coming off a 56-6 loss at home to Smethport last week and it’s been shut out in four games. The Red Raiders beat still-winless Sheffield 6-0 back on Sept. 21 in a game they were outgained by the Wolverines, 170-105.
Union/ACV, which beat Sheffield 47-0 in its second game, beat Keystone 12-8 last week and Port Allegany 34-6 the week before. The Falcon Knights hope to keep their defensive momentum going as Colby Best (7.3) and Brady Cullen (6.9) lead the team in tackles per game. Best and Nolan Cumberland led the team in tackles against the Panthers with nine and eight respectively. Six different players have interceptions, led by Cullen’s three.
Quarterback Luke Bowser (30-for-88, 458 yards, 5 TDs, 7 Ints.), running back Cumberland (68-317, 5 TDs) and receiver Tanner Merwin (10-173, 2 TDs) lead the Union/ACV offense. Freshman Caden Rainey leads the team in all-purpose yards (includes returns) at 99 per game.