KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The Karns City football team beat Ridgway last week with only one pass attempt.
The Gremlins will likely have to put the ball in the air more this week against St. Marys.
The question is will they even be able to?
Karns City (1-2) had senior Eric Booher under center against Ridgway with a cast around his broken right wrist. He’s close to shedding it, but it’s unclear if he will be able to grip the football well enough to throw this week against the undefeated Flying Dutch.
Backup quarterback Mason Martin is still mending from a broken finger on is throwing hand. That leaves freshman Riley Hamilton as the only healthy QB on the roster.
“Each week’s a little bit better,” said Karns City coach Joe Sherwin. “(Booher) is getting a little healthier. We’re just looking forward to a time when he’s going to be fully healthy.”
There were some wrinkles in the game plan last week to throw the ball. Because of the offensive line that opened things up for a running game that produced 350 yards, Karns City didn’t need to use them.
Sherwin, though, is aware that may not be the case this week against St. Marys.
“We’re probably going to have to hit a few passes just to keep them honest,” Sherwin said.
St. Marys (3-0) is certainly a handful on both sides of the ball.
The Dutch lost quarterback Christian Coudriet to graduation, but haven’t missed a beat with his younger brother, Charlie Coudriet, at the helm.
Charlie Coudriet has thrown for 517 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s a much bigger threat with his legs than Christian was with 256 yards and four touchdowns on the ground already this season.
His ability to extend plays and move chains has helped the Dutch to their spotless start.
“He’s very accurate and he’s a very good scrambler — he’ll take off and run,” Sherwin said. “We might have the best coverage and have everything covered and he can just find a seam and take off. I’ve seen several times on film where everything’s covered and he takes off and gets the first down. We told our guys if we have a chance to get him down, we have to get him down.”
The best defense may be Karns City’s offense.
The Gremlins would love to reproduce what they were able to accomplish last week when they ran the ball 50 times and dominated the time of possession in the 28-0 win over Ridgway.
A young offensive line has gelled for Karns City and a slew of backs have been able to reap the benefits.
“Our offensive line is coming along,” Sherwin said. “We kind of figured that was the way it was gonna be because they were inexperienced. We’re heading into our fourth game now and they’re getting a little more accustomed to what we want and accustomed to each other. It’s not just them. It’s the receivers, too, and the backs blocking for each other. It’s just everybody doing their job.”
Senior Micah Rupp, a deep-threat receiver on offense, moved to a tight end position in the run-heavy game plan last week and blocked well on the edge, helping Karns City backs find running room to the outside.
Karns City came into the season determined to throw the ball more in 2022. That was where the Gremlins were the most experienced. Because of injuries, that plan has, at least for now, been scrapped.
“I’m sure that’s not probably the No. 1 thing he wants to do, but he’s put the team before himself and that’s what we need,” Sherwin said of Rupp. “I gotta give him credit for that and the other receivers, too.”
St. Marys beat Karns City 35-28 last season in a thriller. Christian Coudriet threw for 407 yards and five touchdowns in that win.
Here’s a look at some other games on tap this week:
UNION/A-C VALLEY (1-2) at BROCKWAY (2-1)
This has not been the kind of season Union/A-C Valley expected after advancing to the District 9 Class A title game last year.
Injuries haven’t helped. Neither have turnovers and penalties.
Still, the Falcon Knights are a ticking time bomb with stars like Dawson Camper, Mikey Card, Skyler Roxbury and Brody Dittman ready to break out.
Brockway is one goal-line tackle away from being 3-0. Sophomore quarterback Brayden Fox has been nearly perfect this season, completing 62% of his passes for 882 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.
The left-hander has a stable of dangerous receivers, led by Alex Carlson, who already has 30 catches for 413 yards and five TDs.
Brockway beat Union/A-C Valley last year in the season opener, 28-20.
MONITEAU (1-2) at BROOKVILLE (0-3)
Moniteau notched its first victory of the season last week, taking down Cameron County, 20-12.
Hunter Stalker leads the ground attack for the Warriors with 295 yards. Logan Campbell, though, has had the nose for the end zone with four rushing TDs.
Brookville lost a heartbreaker, 20-19, to Keystone last week. The Raiders led 12-0 at one point and fell behind in the fourth quarter on a fake extra point that turned into a 2-point conversion.
Brookville was again without junior quarterback Charlie Krug. The Raiders have turned to sophomore Easton Belfiore in his stead.