KNOX, Pa. – Luke Garing scored on a 5-yard run with 2:59 to play, as fifth-seeded Karns City rallied to beat fourth-seeded Keystone, 28-22, in the District 9 Class 2A quarterfinals at Keystone High School.
(Photo of Karns City’s Kaden Scherer Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
Relisten to the game:
The Gremlins (8-3), who led 14-0 early in the second quarter and 21-6 at halftime, found themselves trailing Keystone (9-2), 22-21, late in the game when a three-and-out by the Panthers was followed by a 55-yard Anthony Kamenski pass to Kaden Scherer that set Karns City up at the Keystone 5-yard line with just over three minutes to play.
“I just ran a post and got the corner feed and found open field and ran,” Scherer said. “It just couldn’t have been a more perfect pass. It was right in my arms in stride. It was awesome.”
Watch Scherer’s postgame interview.
Karns City found itself in need of a big play late because of a strong second-half push by Keystone.
After falling behind by 15 at halftime, the Panthers clawed back into the game thanks in part to a big special teams miscue by Karns City as well as a pair of fourth-down touchdowns.
The special team’s miscue came in the second part of the third quarter when Gremlins punter Ethan McElroy had trouble with the snap and Keystone’s Nick Weaver recovered the loose ball and returned it a short distance to the Karns City 12-yard line.
After three plays went just three yards, Keystone faced a fourth-and-seven at the 9-yard line when quarterback Isaak Jones threw a jump ball into the right middle of the end zone where Jayden Blazosky came down with the ball for the touchdown.
The Panthers then ran a trick play out on the two-point conversion following a 5-yard false start penalty with Weaver taking the snap in the wild cat and handing the ball to Blazosky on the reverse. Blazosky then stopped and hit Jones in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 21-14.
After Keystone’s defense forced a punt, the Panthers took over at the Karns City 47-yard line and drove to the 1-yard line where they had first-and-goal following a 6-yard catch by Alex Rapp on fourth down. Jones went into the line three times to no avail, but on fourth-and-goal Weaver took the pitch and scored to pull Keystone within a point, 21-20, with 7:52 to play.
Keystone lined up in the muddle-huddle formation to kick the extra point, but Jones, the holder, instead ran for the two-point conversion to put the Panthers ahead, 22-21.
The Panthers defense then forced a three-and-out forcing a Karns City punt from the Gremlins 43-yard line.
“At that time of the game and where we were on the field, I wasn’t sure,” Karns City head coach Joe Sherwin said. “Should we go for it? Should we punt it? I had confidence in our defense that they could give us a three-and-out, and they did. That was a big key to the game.”
Karns City’s defense did get the three-and-out when Keystone played it conservative running twice right into the middle of the line from its own 22-yard line before throwing an incomplete pass on third-and-eight forcing a punt.
“We were trying to run some time off the clock,” Keystone head coach Ryan Smith said. “They had been stopping our run all night. Anything I tried inside, outside or whatever, they were stuffing. I figured, try to get some time off the clock. It is part of play calling. Sometimes you are right, sometimes you are not.”
Taking over at its own 40-yard line, a first-down run went nowhere before Kamenski hit Scherer with the 55-yard strike to set the up the winning touchdown.
“It was post pattern by Kaden,” Sherwin said. “They had about nine guys in the box, so the middle was wide open. He ran that post pattern wide open. The offensive line gave Anthony lots of time to find him and he just got behind everybody. I thought he was going to get into the end zone.”
Watch Scherer’s big catch and run.
Karns City grabbed the early lead on a pair of Hunter Rowe touchdown runs with Rowe scoring on a 5-yard run on Karns City’s opening drive that went 12 plays, all on the ground, and took 6:10 off the clock after the Gremlins received the opening kickoff.
Rowe then scored on another 5-yard run with 9:37 left in the first half to make it 14-0.
Keystone answered back when Jones hit Rapp with a 44-yard scoring pass to make it 14-6 with 3:13 to play before halftime, but Karns City answered with a 5-yard Kamenski to Corry Dunmyre touchdown pass with just two seconds left in the half to make it 21-6.
Kamenski went 5 of 7 passing for 94 yards and the touchdown pass while rushing 20 times for 97 yards. Rowe added 19 carries for 78 yards and two scores, while Garing ran 10 times for 31 yards. Scherer had two catches for 69 yards and also picked off a pass on defense.
Jones was 6 of 17 passing for 105 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing an interception. He ran 14 times for 12 yards. Weaver and Taylar Altman, Keystone’s dynamic duo running tandem, was held to just 13 yards on 11 carries with Weaver gaining six on seven totes and Altman seven on four carries.
Blazosky caught four passes for 49 yards with Rapp hauling in two for 50 yards.
Karns City will rematch with Ridgway in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Mansell Stadium in DuBois. The Gremlins fell to the Elkers at home, 19-13, Oct. 11.
KANE 28, BROOKVILLE 22
BROOKVILLE, Pa. – Visiting and sixth-seeded Kane stunned third-seeded Brookville, 28-22, in the District 9 Class 2A quarterfinals.
The win for the Wolves (6-4) avenged a 33-14 loss to Brookville Oct. 11 and put an end to a four-game losing streak.
“Why not us? That was our motto for two weeks,” Kane head coach Jim Hillman said. “We’ve been so close. We started out 5-0, playing great football and little things happened and we had to regroup. The whole time we were in that (losing) streak, the kid were like, ‘Coach, we got this.’ And that’s the difference between last year and this year. The kids have been phenomenal.”
Kane built a 28-7 lead one play into the fourth quarter and then held off a Brookville comeback attempt that included the Raiders appearing to tie the game with 1:32 to play on a 49-yard touchdown run by Jack Krug that was negated by a holding call on Brookville.
Two plays after the penalty, Zuke Smith intercepted a Krug pass with 59 seconds left to seal the win. It was the second interception of the Brookville quarterback by the Wolves, who also got a pick from Bobby Rumcik.
A Brookville interception earlier in the fourth quarter helped keep the Raiders alive, as Kyle MacBeth picked off his eighth pass of the year when he intercepted Harley Morris in the end zone to end a Kane scoring threat with the Wolves holding a 28-15 lead.
Following that interception, Brookville went 80 yards scoring on a 12-yard Krug to MacBeth touchdown pass with 4:12 to play that got the Raiders within six.
The ensuing pooch kick was then fought for by players from both teams with Kane ultimately recovering, but the Brookville defense held and forced a punt to give the Raiders one last chance.
Early on it was all Kane, as Morris (1-yard run) and Ricky Zampogna (2-yard pass from Morris) scored to stake the Wolves to a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter.
The Morris touchdown came at the end of a 13-play, 70-yard drive to start the game.
“We needed to slow the game down, stay on offense and control the football,” Hillman said. “That was a huge part of our game plan, to keep the ball out of Krug’s hands. That long drive, for us, mentally, was huge.”
It looked like the Wolves were going to take a three-touchdown lead into halftime when Morris hit Jack Alcorn with a 70-yard pass with 2:53 to play before the half to make it 21-0, but Krug found MacBeth from six yards out with just five second left in the half to cut the deficit to 21-7 at the break.
The game remained 21-7 until early in the fourth quarter when Morris hit Smith with a 13-yard scoring play to make it 28-7 with 11:54 left.
Brookville started its comeback when Krug found Ian Thrush from five yards out with 9:08 to play and MacBeth scored on the two-point run to make it 28-15.
Kane ended up outgaining Brookville, 392 to 339 including 229 to 87 on the ground.
Morris and Alcorn each ran for 84 yards with Morris doing so on 15 carries and Alcorn on 13 totes. Josh Buhl added 10 carries for 64 yards.
Morris was also 10 of 14 passing for 163 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Alcorn had four catches for 94 yards.
Krug threw the ball 47 times going 22 of 47 for 252 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He also ran six times for 10 yards.
MacBeth caught eight passes for 87 yards with Robert Keth adding four grabs for 85 yards while rushing eight times for 38 yards. Thrush added six catches for 50 yards, and Cole LaBenne ran eight times for 39 yards and had a catch for five yards.
Kane will rematch with Clarion in the District 9 semifinals at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Mansell Stadium in DuBois. Clarion beat Kane, 47-28, Sept. 27, in Kane.
SMETHPORT 28, ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 6
ST. MARYS, Pa. – Noah Lent threw four touchdown passes, as fifth-seeded Smethport turned around a loss last week to Elk County Catholic by handing the fourth-seeded Crusaders a 28-6 loss in the District 9 Class 1A quarterfinals at St. Marys’ Dutch Country Stadium.
Lent threw two touchdown passes to Braedon Johnson and two to Bryent Johnson to lead the Hubbers to a victory over a team that beat it 18-0 a week ago in Smethport.
“I think we were able to get a lead early on (this week),” Smethport head coach Adam Jack said about the difference from last week to this week. “Once we got some confidence and played with the lead, we were able to do what we have done quite often this year and that is play really well.”
Lent only threw for 90 yards but was 9 of 13 passing with scoring passes of 21 and 13 yards to Braedon Johnson and 27 and 16 yards to Bryent Johnson. Both of Braedon Johnson’s scores came in the first half, as Smethport (6-4), which broke a three-game losing streak, took a 22-0 halftime lead.
“It is no secret those guys are our playmakers,” Jack said. “We worked this week at moving them around and showing some looks we hadn’t shown this year. It worked out well.”
Bryent Johnson caught three passes for 49 yards with Braedon Johnson catching five passes for 34 yards. Bryent Johnson also added an interception on defense.
Lent also ran for 107 yards on 23 carries, as Smethport outgained ECC (5-5) 283 to 114 including 193 to 49 on the ground.
Mason McAllister threw a touchdown pass to John Wittman (15 yards) but was 8 of 14 passing for 65 yards with an interception.
The Crusaders ground game struggled to the tune of the 49 yards led by Wittman’s five carries for 20 yards. Sam Kaul was held to just nine yards on seven carries.
“We really didn’t do anything different defensively other than getting another week of reps,” Jack said. “Coach Berlin had two weeks to look at their offense and make the adjustments he wanted to make defensively. That really helped us. It was also a great job by our scout team.”
Smethport took a 6-0 lead after a quarter when Lent hit Braedon Johnson from 21 yards out 3:04 into the game.
The Hubbers then added a pair of second-quarter touchdowns with Braedon Johnson hauling in a 13-yard scoring pass from Lent on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-0, and then Bryent Johnson catching a 27-yard touchdown pass just under two-and-a-half minutes later to make it 22-0.
The game remained 22-0 until the fourth quarter when McAllister hit Wittman with the scoring pass to make it 22-6 with 8:09 to play, but Lent hit Bryent Johnson with the 16-yard scoring pass to set the final score with 3:42 left.
Smethport will rematch with Coudersport, which beat the Hubbers, 42-0, Oct. 18, in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Bradford High School.
“We are all about one week at a time,” Jack said. “We told them before tonight that everyone starts 0-0 and we wanted to be 1-0 by the end of the night. It is the same thing next week. We want to be 1-0 by the time that game is over.”
CLEARFIELD 35, JUNIATA 7
HYDE, Pa. – Brett Zattoni scored three times and rushed 13 times for 110 yards to lead second-seeded Clearfield to a 35-7 victory over third-seeded Juniata in the District 6-9 Class 4A semifinals at the Bison Sports Complex at Clearfield High School Friday Night.
Zattoni had touchdown runs of 17 yards, 14 yards and three yards for the Bison.
“Huge holes,” Zattoni said. “The offensive line did great tonight. I haven’t seen holes open up that big in forever. I was impressed with them.”
Also adding scores on the ground for the Bison were Jose Alban (10 yards) and Jason Plubell (7 yards).
The Bison outgained Juniata 227-75 on the ground.
“Our offensive line have been fantastic all year,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “Those six or seven kids that play offensive line for us has been outstanding.”
Clearfield got on the board first midway through the first quarter.
Following a three-and-out, Alban capped off a five-play drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to put the Bison up 7-0.
On the ensuing possession, Nick Domico picked off Indians quarterback Jacob Condo to set up a 17-yard run for Zattoni to extend the lead to 14-0.
Matt Pallo also got an interception on defense on the next drive but fumbled to give the ball back to the Indians.
“They executed,” Zattoni said of the defense. “We forced a couple of turnovers and they didn’t crack under pressure.”
Watch Zattoni’s full postgame interview.
Zattoni scored his final two touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Bison a comfortable 28-0 lead at halftime.
Clearfield extended its lead to 35-0 with an eight-play, 59-yard drive finished with a seven-yard Plubell run to start the third quarter.
Steven Ranck broke the Bison shutout with a 65-yard touchdown reception with five minutes left in the game.
Plubell carried the ball six times for 38 yards. Mark McGonigal added 26 yards on six carries and Alban chipped in 20 yards and a score on two carries. Quarterback Oliver Billotte went 6-of-8 for 78 yards. Pallo was the leading Bison receiver with a pair of catches for 29 yards.
“I thought we played really well in all phases of the game,” Janocko said. “Executed very well on offense, played great defense and good special teams.”
For the Indians, Condo paced the offense going 6-of-17 for 111 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions while rushing for 30 yards on 13 carries. Garrett Kint added four carries for 28 yards and Ranck was the leading receiver with a lone catch for 65 yards.
“They have some talent,” Janocko said of Juniata. “They have some kids who can play football, so we’re glad we could get this win.”
Clearfield (9-2) will get a rematch with top-seeded Bellefonte, who it lost to 28-19 Sept. 27, for the District 6-9 Class 4A regional championship at a time and place to be determined.
WESTINGHOUSE 50, ST. MARYS 6
PITTSBURGH – Troy Lainer ran for two touchdowns and threw for two touchdowns, as City League (District 8) champion Westinghouse blew out visiting St. Marys in the District 5-8-9 semifinals at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh.
Lanier was 5-for-11 passing for 85 yards and ran for 87 yards in the victory for the Bulldogs (8-3).
Christian Coudriet threw a touchdown pass for St. Marys (6-5) going 17 of 31 for 152 yards.