Two long road trips await the Redbank Valley Bulldogs and Union/A-C Valley Falcon Knights this weekend.
The 3-0 Bulldogs try to keep their perfect season going with a Saturday trip to winless Sheffield with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff scheduled. Friday night, the Falcon Knights (1-2) trek to Duke Center to take on Otto-Eldred (2-1).
Here’s a closer look at both matchups:
Redbank Valley (3-0) at Sheffield (0-3)
The Bulldogs, coming off a 24-20 nail-biting win over Elk County Catholic last Friday night, might have a little breather in store Saturday with the Wolverines, but for sure a tougher road lies ahead.
Still, head coach Ed Wasilowski will make sure his team is grounded, using the front end of the term, “You’re never as good as you think, or as bad as you seem to be.”
“We’re definitely not as good as the kids think we are and we tried to point that out Monday,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll bring their lunch pales this week ready to work.”
The Bulldogs, averaging a decent balance offensively at 333 yards per game, are churning out 231 on the ground. Quarterback Keaton Kahle (35-for-53, 414 yards, 4 TDs, 3 Ints.) has been a dual-threat player, ranking second on the team in rushing as well with 190 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Hunter Wiles (36 carries, 305 yards, 2 TDs) leads the running game with Travis Crawford (35-109, 3 TDs) getting the ball as well.
Kahle’s top receiver is Hunter Martz (11-103, 1 TD), but Ethan Hetrick (7-157, 3 TDs) has been dangerous as well.
Defensively, defensive back Hunter Buzard is off to a great start in his first varsity season. He leads the team in tackles (7 per game) and interceptions, his two coming in last week’s win over ECC.
Sheffield, meanwhile, has struggled mightily in its three losses by a combined margin of 162-12 — last week’s 61-6 loss at Coudersport, a 47-0 loss at Union/A-C Valley and a season-opening 54-6 setback at home to Smethport.
After Saturday’s trip to Warren County, the Bulldogs host a big Small School South game against C-L on Sept, 21 before heading to Smethport on Sept. 28. A trip to Curwensville is Oct. 5 before the Bulldogs host Coudersport Oct. 12. So the Bulldogs face the decidedly best three teams in the Small School North this year with Otto-Eldred, Smethport and Coudersport.
Union/ACV (1-2) at Otto-Eldred (2-1)
The Falcon Knights travel to Duke Center to take on the Terrors, who bounced back from a 31-8 loss to Redbank Valley two weeks ago with a 55-0 rout of winless Cameron County.
First-year head coach Troy Cook’s team has some talent, led by a core of players Cole and Chase Sebastian, Cameron Magee, Chris Connelly and Colton Gietler.
Sophomore Chase Sebastian (49-for-76, 609 yards, 8 TDs, 3 Ints.) is the quarterback, who’s also rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown. Senior Cole Sebastian has caught 10 passes for 143 yards and two TDs while Magee leads the team in receiving (18 catches, 218 yards, 5 TDs). Chris Connelly (11-210, 1 TDs) is another receiving threat while Gietler (14-129) leads the team in rushing.
Connelly leads the defense in tackles (12 per game) while Brady Valerius has four sacks.
Meanwhile, the Falcon Knights try to bounce back from a tough 14-13 loss on the road at Curwensville. Head coach Brad Dittman’s team averages 238 yards of offense per game, the last two games bulking that number up after a shutout loss to start the year at C-L.
Quarterback Luke Bowser (13-for-39, 222 yards, 1 TD, 2 Int.) has put up those passing numbers in the past two games while Nolan Cumberland (23-144, 3 TDs) is the team’s top rusher with Kyler Culbertson (29-117) also getting carries.
Tanner Merwin (5-46) and Caden Rainey (3-83, 1 TD) are Bowser’s top receivers.