DUBOIS, Pa. – In a rematch of a quarterfinal game from a year ago, defending PIAA Class 1A champion Farrell, the District 10 champion, faces District 9 champion Coudersport at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at E.J. Mansell Stadium in DuBois.
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A year ago at Slippery Rock University, the Steelers (11-2) had their way with the Falcons (11-0) beating Coudersport, 48-6.
It figures to be another tough test for Coudy this year even with Farrell being under a new head coach, Anthony Pegues.
Last week, the Steelers rolled past Tussey Mountain in a first-round PIAA matchup winning 60-14 over the District 5 champion.
That is pretty much on par for the season for Farrell, which is outscoring its opponents by an average score of 41.4 points per game to 7.3 points per game – and that despite losing to Wilmington 40-0 Aug. 30.
The loss to Wilmington meant an 0-2 start to the season for the Steelers, but they haven’t looked back since winning 11 straight games by a combined score of 485-34.
That streak included eight straight shutouts before posting a 35-20 win over Maplewood in the District 10 title game two weeks ago. In that game, the Tigers led 20-13 in the third quarter and 20-19 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Farrell prefers to stay on the ground averaging 302.1 yards per game rushing compared to 91.9 through the air.
The Steelers are led by Anthony Stallworth’s 1,392 yards and 14 touchdowns. Stallworth averages 11.2 yards per carry as does Jaden Harrison, who has gained 83 yards while scoring 11 times.
Quarterback Ray Raver chips in 481 yards on the ground with seven touchdowns while going 52 of 83 passing for 831 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception.
Raver spreads the ball around to Brice Butler (20 catches, 477 yards, 6 TDs), Brian Hilton (18 catches, 223 yards, 4 TDs) and Harrison (17 catches, 95 yards, 2 TDs).
Coudersport is coming off a hard-than-it looks 42-13 win over Redbank Valley that clinched a second straight D9 1A title for the Falcons.
Coudy trailed 7-6 entering the fourth quarter after being down 7-0 at halftime but outscored the Bulldogs 36-6 in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons, under third-year head coach Tom Storey, a Naval Academy graduate, are outscoring opponents 45.6 to 4.1 on the season having scored 502 points while allowing just 45 with six shutouts.
Quarterback Hayden Keck makes the Coudersport offense go.
He is 31 of 54 passing for 809 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 772 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. An all-around player, Keck is also averaging 3.0 tackles per game with four interceptions.
A big question mark for the Falcons could be at running back.
Travis Gleason (1,191 yards, 19 TDs) missed the D9 semifinal game two weeks ago vs. Smethport with a concussion and then was forced out of the D9 title game last week with what appeared to be a similar issue.
If Gleason can’t go, Brandy Kightlinger, who also left last week’s game briefly with an injury before returning, is next in line. Kightlinger has rushed 44 times for 356 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore Dylan Kelly is also in the mix and has 43 carries for 341 yards and four scores.
Gleason would be missed sorely on defense as well if he can’t play. He averages 4.3 tackles per game with four sacks,
The Coudersport defense has already played the last two weeks without leading tackler Thomas Wilson (6.2 tackles per game).
When Keck goes to the air it is usually to John Minor, who has 10 catches for 341 yards and four touchdowns.
The winner will play WPIAL champion Clairton, which has the week off, in the semifinals next week at a time, date and location to be announced.
NOTES: Coudersport has had limited PIAA success going 1-5 in its five appearances winning its lone PIAA playoff game in 2005, 48-42 over Kennedy Catholic in two overtimes before losing that season to Duquesne, 33-2, in the PIAA semifinals, the only semifinal appearance ever made by the Falcons … The same can’t be said for Farrell. Since the PIAA playoffs first started being played in 1988 the Steelers have made 11 appearances, including this season, going a combined 19-7 with three PIAA Class 1A titles (2018, 1996, 1995) and one state runner-up spot (1990) while never failing to make the PIAA semifinals. The 1990, 1995 and 1996 seasons were all while Farrell was a member of the WPIAL … The Steelers are currently riding a five-game PIAA playoff win streak while going 11-3 in the PIAA playoffs since 2015 never missing a PIAA berth in any of those years having won five straight District 10 Class 1A titles … In addition to its three PIAA titles, Farrell won WPIAL titles in 1951 and 1986 before the PIAA playoffs existed giving it five WPIAL titles and eight District 10 titles … A District 9 Class 1A team hasn’t won a PIAA playoff game since 2013 when Clarion beat District 10 champion Lakeview, 35-20, before losing to North Catholic in the semifinals, 39-12 … Port Allegany also reached the semifinals in 2012 beating Sharpsville before falling to Tyler Boyd and Clairton in the semifinals … Prior to 2012, you have to go back to 2007 when Kane topped Mercyhurst Prep, 12-7, to reach the semifinals before losing to Serra Catholic, 48-21.