The Redbank Valley Bulldogs and Union/A-C Valley Falcon Knights are back in action on the football field on two different nights once again this week.
Friday night, the 5-2 Falcon Knights host 0-6 Cameron County in Foxburg at A-C Valley High School while the 7-0 Bulldogs go on the road for a Saturday night kickoff at 6-0 Coudersport. Both games have a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The latest Class 1A playoff standings have the Bulldogs (900 points) and Coudersport (730) — the only remaining unbeaten teams in District 9 — in top two spots of what looks to be a five-team playoff bracket since only five teams are at .500 or better going into this week’s schedule.
It’s Union/ACV (5-2, 580), Smethport (5-1, 550) and Elk County Catholic (3-3, 320) in the next three spots. Seeding spots are solely based on total power points, which explains while Coudersport, with one less game, is 170 points behind the Bulldogs in the standings and Smethport trails Union/ACV for the No. 3 spot despite having one less loss.
Depending on how ECC handles its remaining three games and whether the Crusaders go to the postseason with a sub-.500 record — they visit Sheffield Saturday, host Keystone next week and finish at Smethport — could determine whether the Class 1A bracket gets whittled down to just four teams.
The remaining schedule isn’t easy for the Falcon Knights after this week with their games at Redbank Valley and home against Ridgway, so they could drop to the No. 4 spot fairly easily if Smethport finishes strong. But the Hubbers don’t have an easy finish either with a trip to Keystone Friday and home games with Coudersport and ECC to finish their schedule.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
SATURDAY, Oct. 12
Redbank Valley (7-0)
at Coudersport (6-0)
It’s off to Potter County for the Bulldogs, at least 2 1/2-hour trip covering over 100 miles in a battle of the only undefeated teams in the district. And it’s a matchup of what looks to be possible D9 Class 1A title game preview.
The game will be aired live by Explore Radio, so click on to D9Sports.Com for complete radio coverage of the Saturday night showdown.
Does it matter who wins? The Bulldogs beat the Falcons, 41-27, during the regular season then were routed by the Falcons three weeks later, 52-7, as Coudersport started its three-game run in the playoffs to a D9 title.
“When we played Coudy for the first time last year, I don’t think anyone anticipated the run through D9 that they were about to go on,” Bulldogs head coach Blane Gold said. “What they have done since that time is extremely impressive.”
Similar to last year, the Falcons are run-heavy, averaging 309 yards on the ground and just 26 yards through the air as junior quarterback Hayden Keck has thrown just 26 passes, completing 17 for 457 yards with four TDs. He’s one of several running threats (61-439, 8 TDs) with senior Travis Gleason (86-748, 13 TDs) leading the way. John Minor has six receptions for 233 yards and three TDs.
Last week, the Falcons ripped Otto-Eldred, 73-12, a team the Bulldogs beat 47-12 in the second weekend of the season.
“Their philosophy is not different from last season. They want to beat you running the ball, but the guys who are carrying out that philosophy are another year older and another year wiser when it comes to football experience,” Gold said. “(Gleason) is the best runner we have faced all year and Keck is the guy that makes it all work. Both of those guys are dangerous with the ball in their hands and we have to be sure to be disciplined in our assignments to limit their yards.
“It goes without saying that they are by far the toughest test yet for us.”
The Bulldogs average 379 yards offensively — 264 rushing, 115 passing — as sophomore quarterback Gunner Mangiantini (67-for-111, 730 yards, 6 TDs, 3 Ints.) has run the spread offense effectively, also running for 371 yards on 43 carried with six TDs. Ray Shreckengost (53-466, 6 TDs), Kobe Bonanno (49-387, 8 TDs) and Hudson Martz (45-272, 5 TDs) share the rest of the workload out of the backfield.
Four receivers have 12 or more catches — Ethan Hetrick (17-321, 4 TDs), Sam Hetrick (12-180, 3 TDs), Dalton Bish (14-122) and Javin Brentzel (17-117).
The Bulldogs have gone nine quarters without allowing a point, throwing back-to-back shutouts for the first time in 11 years. In the past two games against Smethport and Curwensville last week, they’ve allowed just 140 yards on 95 plays from scrimmage. Last week, sophomore Joe Mansfield had 18 tackles. He leads the team in tackles per game at 7.1 with Ethan Hetrick (5.4) and Chase Bish (5.0) behind him. Hetrick and Mansfield have 11.5 and 8 sacks respectively and Sam Hetrick leads the unit with four interceptions.
FRIDAY, Oct. 11
Cameron Co. (0-6) at
A-C Valley H.S.
The Falcon Knights look to rebound this week against the winless Red Raiders, who lug in a 10-game losing streak dating back to last year. They’ve been outscored 218-39 with three shutout losses. Last week, they dropped a 39-7 decision at Smethport.
Against Sheffield, the Red Raiders put up 20 points in their 31-20 loss. Last year, Union/ACV routed the Red Raiders in Emporium, 62-0.
Last week, the Falcon Knights’ five-game winning streak was stopped cold by Keystone in a 44-14 loss. They were limited to 176 yards of offense, their lowest total since the season-opening 122-yard effort in a 30-8 loss to still-unbeaten Coudersport.
The Falcon Knights average 253 yards offensively — 145 rushing, 108 passing — with running back Kylar Culbertson (53-385, 3 TDs), quarterback Luke Bowser (59-for-124, 746 yards, 8 TDs, 12 Ints.) and receivers Tanner Merwin (20-312, 3 TDs) and Caden Rainey (22-313, 2 TDs) leading the offense. Rainey is back after serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from the Port Allegany game two weeks ago.
Defensively, Culbertson (7.1) and Colton Hoffman (6.7) lead the team in tackles per game. Culbertson had 12 last week.
The Red Raiders’ lone touchdown last week came from Nick Peters, who ran for 28 yards on six carries. Dylan Reider ran for 56 yards on nine plays.