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Thoughtful Tuesday – Tuesday’s Thoughts on D9 athletics

By Chris Rossetti

• I keep getting asked a lot about what the District 9 Class A playoff field will be like, and truth-be-told, I really thought as we sit here going into Week Eight that I would have a better idea than what I do.

But it’s just one of those years where it is so hard, maybe impossible, to figure out what will happen with so many important games left in the season’s final three weeks.

This much is know, three teams have a guaranteed spot in the postseason.

Redbank Valley has clinched one of the two automatic berths awarded to the KSAC Small School Division. The Bulldogs will be the No. 1 seed in the D9 playoffs if they beat Clarion in Week 9. A loss, and Redbank Valley would drop to the No. 3 seed.

In the AML, two teams have secured automatic AML berths with Kane and Elk County Catholic assuring themselves of one of the four automatic positions awarded to the AML. In fact, a Kane win over ECC Saturday would give the Wolves the AML South title. ECC could also be playing for the AML South title this week but only if Brockway loses to Curwensville Friday. A Brockway win, would mean the Rovers would still be alive for a share of the title when it plays ECC in Week Nine as long as ECC beats Kane Saturday.

Speaking of Brockway, the Rovers’ win would clinch one of the automatic AML berths for the team.

Other than that, nothing else has been decided in either the AML or the KSAC.

In the KSAC, Clarion, even having not scored a point in 10 straight quarters, controls its own destiny. The Bobcats can win their sixth straight league title with a victory over Redbank Valley in Week Nine. But a Clarion loss, could throw the Bobcats into a three-way tie for the second and final automatic berth in the conference depending the outcomes of the Union/Clarion-Limestone and Keystone/A-C Valley games. If Clarion loses and both Union and Keystone win then there is a three-way tie for second place that can’t be broken head-to-head because Union beat Clarion but lost to Keystone while Keystone lost to Clarion. Power Point would then be used to break the tie, and those could go in a number of different ways depending on what happens in Weeks Eight and 10. Now, if Union would lose to C-L and Keystone would beat A-C Valley, Clari on would get the second spot based on its wins over Keystone. While, if Keystone falls to A-C Valley and Union beats C-L the Golden Knights would grab the spot based on their win over Clarion. If both Union and Keystone were to lose, then the second spot would go to the Bobcats.

In the AML, Brockway is in with one win in its final two games. Other than that, the rest of the conference – both in the North and in the South – is up for grabs for the potential fourth spot. Curwensville would appear to hold the inside track, but the Tide finish with Brockway and Ridgway and two losses could open the door for either Smethport or Port Allegany from the AML North to sneak in and grab that spot. Of course, the AML North winner could also grab the top spot and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs by winning the AML Title game regardless of what the other teams do – which is actually a pretty major flaw in the current playoff system.

• Looking at Class AA, Karns City is in very good position to be the top seed, although it probably won’t matter considering the likely hood of three teams going is minimal. Although, with a late push Moniteau might decide to join the field. St. Marys looks like it will be the No. 2 seed.

• In AAA, we have the weird system where a meaningless District 9 title game could be played before the Regional playoffs. Clearfield appears to be a lock to make both the title game and the Regional playoffs. What Punxsutawney does remains the question. The Chucks are 3-4 and have C-L and Karns City left. One would think Punxsy has to beat C-L to even consider going to either game, but there might be the thought that in order to have a District 9 AAA title game they would go either way. Although, the mere mention of some under-the-table type deal was shot down pretty quickly by the powers to be last year. So it is very possible the D9 AAA title won’t be contested this year, and Clearfield very well could be the only D9 AAA team in the Regional playoffs.

• DuBois, which has rebounded nicely from the 1-3 start winning three straight, pretty much looks like it will go to its Regional playoffs, although the Beavers finish with tough games against General McLane and Karns City on the road making this week’s contest with Franklin, also on the road, a potential must-win game if the school would adhere to a .500 policy.

• Looking at some other news around District 9, in boys’ soccer Bradford’s Ben Jordan has a chance with two regular-season games left for the Owls to achieve some history. Jordan has 99 career goals right now and could hit the 100 mark, not something achieved very often, with a tally against Warren Wednesday or Port Allegany Saturday or even in a postseason game for Bradford.

• Sticking with boys’ soccer, the District 9 playoff pairings will be out at the end of the week as the regular season comes to  close. In Class A, Brockway and Karns City have made themselves the favorites with both squads entering action Tuesday unbeaten. Brockway was 15-0 prior to its game with Ridgway and Karns City was 14-0 prior to its game with Freeport. Elk County Catholic (13-3) and Coudersport (10-4) would appear to be the other two teams that would round out the top four seeds. Class AA could be interesting with Bradford, Brookville, Clearfield and St. Marys all hovering within a game or two of .500. Bradford (8-7) was the lone team above .500 heading into Tuesday’s action.

• In girls’ soccer, DuBois Central Catholic and Karns City are fighting for the No. 1 seed. One or the other could have taken control Monday but both lost – DCC to Redbank Valley and Karns City to Freeport – leaving DCC at 15-1 and Karns City at 14-1 heading into Tuesday’s game with Punxsutawney. Despit the same records, the Lady Gremlins are considered by almost everyone to be the heavy favorites making it important for the rest of the field to try to be on the opposite side of the bracket with two District 9 teams making the PIAA playoffs. Ridgway (14-2) has a slight edge over Redbank Valley (13-3) for the No. 3 spot. But that spot might not be so coveted if Karns City ends up at No. 2. Redbank Valley just beat DCC, 3-0, Monday behind a pair of Jasmine Adams’ goals giving the Lady Bulldog senior 38 goals on the year and 47 in the last three seasons. In AA, Clearfield (10-4-1) and St. Marys (11-5-1) appear like they will duke it out for the title.

• Moving over to volleyball, there are still a couple of weeks left in the season, but A-C Valley did the unpredictable and has wrapped up the KSAC title thanks to an early-season win over Clarion. But the defending champion Lady Cats will be right there at the end of the year, and are fighting for one of the top seeds in the playoffs. With two losses, they are right there with Redbank Valley, who they beat, and Elk County Catholic, for the No. 2 seed behind unbeaten A-C Valley. Coudersport (11-3) and Otto-Eldred (11-4) appear to be the class of the northern teams with Otto just handing Coudersport its first league loss last week. In Class AA, Bradford (10-3) and Punxsutawney (10-4) appear headed to a clash in the title game.