With the District 9 Small School South Division race to be finalized next week, both Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley play North Division foes this week.
First up is another Thursday night matchup for the second straight week on the road for the Falcon Knights at Cameron County in Emporium. Friday, the Bulldogs are back home after two straight road trips against Coudersport.
Next week, Union/ACV hosts Redbank Valley in Rimersburg needing a win to claim an outright division title since the Falcon Knights just beat Keystone last Thursday. All three teams have one division loss, so if Redbank Valley beats Union/ACV next week and Keystone beats Elk County Catholic, the division title would go to the Panthers since they beat the Bulldogs.
As far as the D9 Class 1A playoff points standings go — the power rating is based on wins and what size of school one beats and how many wins it accumulates and curiously does not divide by amount of games played even though that appears to be a varying number among teams — it’s the Bulldogs (6-1, 730), Smethport (6-1, 710), Keystone (5-1, 620), Union/ACV (5-1, 600), Curwensville (4-3, 500), Cameron County (4-2, 450) and Coudersport (3-3, 310) among the teams with winning records.
Port Allegany (2-4) and Elk County Catholic (2-3) might be other D9 playoff hopefuls, so expect at least six or seven teams to go to the postseason.
Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at this week’s games:
THURSDAY, Oct. 14
Union/ACV (5-1) at
Cameron Co. (4-2)
The Falcon Knights play their second straight Thursday night game when they head to Emporium to take on a Red Raiders squad coming off a 28-0 shutout loss to Smethport. Prior to that, it was a two-game winning streak over Sheffield (54-2) and Elk County Catholic (32-18) after their first loss of the year in a 28-8 loss at Otto-Eldred.
Comparatively, the Falcon Knights beat Elk County Catholic (41-0) in one half of action, Otto-Eldred (42-0) and Sheffield (77-0).
The Red Raiders average 299 yards per game — 123 passing, 175 rushing — as quarterback Maddox Baughman (44-for-102, 737 yards, 8 TDs, 12 ints.), running backs Lathan Reed (67-535, 4 TDs rushing; 9-252, 3 TDs receiving) and Dylan Reider (47-245, 2 TDs), and receiver Dylan Baney (9-209, 4 TDs) lead the offense.
The Falcon Knights weigh with at 316 yards per game of offense. Running backs Mikey Card (57-521, 4 TDs) and Dawson Camper (36-362, 8 TDs), quarterback Bailey Crissman (34-for-82, 431 yards, 7 TDs, 5 Ints.; 33-166, 2 TDs rushing) and receivers Skyler Roxbury (11-174, 1 TD) and Caden Rainey (8-111, 2 TDs) lead the way.
Defensively, Card (37 tackles, 3 sacks) and Carter Terwint (33 tackles, 5 games) lead the unit. Roxbury is up to six interceptions.
FRIDAY, Oct. 15
Coudersport (3-3) at
Redbank Valley (6-1)
The last few times these teams have clashed, much more was on the line, but it’s been a year of adjustments with a new coach in Coudersport as the 3-3 Falcons are under the direction of Frank Brown.
Last week, the Falcons staged an improbable come-from-behind 30-28 win over Otto-Eldred. The Falcons scored 24 unanswered points despite being down 22 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Coudersport beat Bucktail (44-24) two weeks ago, losing to Port Allegany (46-20), and Elk County Catholic (13-12) and Cameron County (28-27) by a combined two points to start the season. The Falcons routed Sheffield, 63-0.
The Bulldogs routed Otto-Eldred (59-6), Elk County Catholic (51-0), Sheffield (55-6) and Bucktail (49-6). Since a season-opening 22-20 loss to Keystone, the Bulldogs have allowed four touchdowns, scoring an average of 48.6 points per game.
So it’s certainly not the same theme as last year when the Bulldogs beat the Falcons 28-12 in the playoffs, or the year before when the Falcons routed the Bulldogs 56-0 in the regular season, then beat them 42-13 in the D9 final four weeks later.
The Falcons are still run-heavy, averaging 216 yards per game while attempting 47 passes so far. Quarterback Gavyn Ayers (14-for-43, 244 yards, 1 TD, 5 Ints.; 86-467, 11 TDs rushing) leads the team in rushing as well. Dylan Kelly (72-334, 5 TDs) and Ethan Ott (41-236, 3 TDs) also get carries. James Culvey (7-167, 1 TD) is the leading receiver.
While giving up next to nothing on defense, the Bulldogs average 278 yards of offense — 158 passing, 120 rushing — as senior quarterback Bryson Bain (61-for-90, 924 yards, 17 TDs, 4 Ints.) nears 1,000 yards for the season. Ten different receivers have caught passes, eight scoring TDs. Marquese Gardlock (17-284, 3 TDs), Chris Marshall (15-231, 5 TDs), Tate Minich (15-223, 5 TDs) and Aiden Ortz (7-162, 2 TDs) are the leading receivers.
Ray Shreckengost (68-340, 8 TDs) is the primary ball carrier for the Bulldogs with backup Drew Byers (36-244, 3 TDs) getting some quality carries as well.
As stated in the Bucktail game story, Ashton Kahle now has four punt returns for touchdowns. Actually, of the Bulldogs’ 46 TDs, eight are non-offensive — two fumble returns, five punt returns and one kick return.
Defensively, Zeldon Fisher (43), Joe Mansfield (37) and Brandon Ross (35) are the leading tacklers. Mansfield and Ross have seven and five sacks respectively.