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Unbeatens in Brockway: Elkers visit Rovers

NOTE – The DuBois at Oil City game will be at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

With six unbeaten teams remaining in District 9, it’ll be a battle at the top of the Large School Division as two of those 4-0 squads — Ridgway and Brockway — square off at Varischetti Field in Brockway starting at 7:30 p.m.

(Evan Furlong leads the Ridgway Elkers into Brockway for a battle of unbeatens at the top of the Large School standings. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Those teams share first place in the division with Clarion (4-0), which visits winless St.Marys (0-4). In other Large School games, Bradford (2-2) travels to Moniteau (2-2), Brookville (1-3) hosts Karns City (1-3), Punxsutawney (2-2) visits Kane (0-4).

It’s back to divisional play in the Small School divisions with a couple of games of note there as well. In the South Division, Clarion-Limestone (3-1) travels to Redbank Valley (4-0) while unbeaten Smethport (4-0) hosts Otto-Eldred (3-1).

In other games in the South, it’s Elk County Catholic (2-2) at Union/A-C Valley (1-3) in Foxburg, Coudersport (3-1) at Port Allegany (0-4) and Curwensville (2-2) visiting Keystone (2-2). In the North, Sheffield (0-4) visits Cameron County (0-4) and Coudersport (3-1) travels to Port Allegany (0-4).

In District 10 Region 7, DuBois (2-2) visits Oil City (3-1) while unbeaten Clearfield (4-0) travels to winless Central Mountain (0-4).

All 13 games are Friday night this week.

Ridgway, last year’s Class 1A champion, is up to Class 2A this year, so its showdown with Brockway could go a long way not only in determining the division champion race, but the district playoff setup as well.

The Rovers have won three straight against the Elkers, including a 24-21 win in Brockway last year. Ridgway won the first two meetings with the Rovers in 2013 and 2014 after Ridgway and Johnsonburg combined programs.

The Elkers have outscored foes, 140-27, so far and beat Bradford 28-7 last week after taking advantage of five Owls turnovers.

Known mostly as a ground-oriented team recently, the Elkers have thrown the ball more and last week against Bradford, junior quarterback Paul Gresco completed 18 of 25 passes for 170 yards, all of those numbers season-highs. For the year, he’s completed a whopping 38 of 51 passes (74.5 percent) with six touchdowns and one interception.

Gresco’s top targets: Daunte Allegretto (6-178, 2 TDs), Austin Green (8-125, 2 TDs) and Isaac Schloder (8-103, 1 TD).

The Elkers have a balanced backfield with Gabe Watts (28-281, 3 TDs), Jake Wickett (27-205, 6 TDs), Cole Secco (17-204, 1 TD) and Evan Furlong (29-165, 1 TD).

Furlong once again leads the Elkers defense with 8.8 tackles per game.

The Rovers’ Tyler Serafini (78-470, 1 TD) is among the district’s rushing leaders while Jon Wood has been a threat rushing (31-292, 2 TDs) and receiving (10-134, 3 TDs) to go along with his two kickoff returns for scores in a close win over Brookville.

Quarterback Peter Downer has completed 28 of 57 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns.

After close wins over Karns City (27-24) and Brookville (28-25) to start the season, the Rovers have breezed to wins over Kane (28-6) last week and St. Marys (34-7) two weeks ago.

Ridgway beat St. Marys (42-0), the only common opponent to date, in its season-opener.

Here’s a closer look at the other games:


Bradford (2-2) at Moniteau (2-2)

Two close wins and two losses by 20-plus points is why the Warriors go into their home game with Bradford with a .500 record despite being outscored 97-62 so far. They’re coming off a big 20-14 win over Karns City last week, their first in seven years.

Most of the Warriors’ offense comes on the ground, led by Cody Wise (45-318, 2 TDs) and Nick Martino (43-134, 2 TDs) along with quarterback Chance Nagy (36-163, 3 TDs), who’s completed 14 of 39 passes for 208 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.

The Owls, trying to bounce back from a five-turnover loss to Ridgway, are run-heavy as well. Donny Pattison (43-558, 8 TDs), Derek Sunafrank (36-290, 3 TDs) and Jaron Ambrose (30-209, 3 TDs) key the running game while quarterback Nate Blauser (18-for-33, 333 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints.) takes the snaps.

While regular admission is being charged for Friday night’s game, fans who bring a personal hygiene product(s) will have their name put into a raffle for two tickets to a Pittsburgh Penguins game. The event benefits members of the Moniteau area community in need of these items.

Karns City (1-3) at Brookville (1-3)

Both teams are off to struggling starts, much of the Raiders troubles tied to injuries, especially to starting quarterback Jack Krug. The Raiders have lost three straight games mostly without Krug while the Gremlins lost a close one at Moniteau last week.

The Gremlins have lost two straight since their lone win over Punxsutawney (42-22). Hunter Jones (44-339) is the Gremlins’ top rusher while quarterback Anthony Kamenski (24-for-43, 271 yards, 1 TD, 3 Ints.).

The Raiders went with sophomore Robert Keth at quarterback last week and he made a good debut, completing 16 of 27 passes for 158 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Returning all-state receiver Bryan Dworek made his season debut after recovering from a preseason injury and caught eight passes for 65 yards.

Punxsutawney (2-2) at Kane (0-4)

The Chucks, who held off winless St. Marys last week to even their record to .500, play another winless team at Kane. The Wolves, after losing 14-13 to Moniteau in their opener, have been outscored 105-26 in losses to Ridgway, Bradford and Brockway (28-6) last week.

The Chucks are balanced offensively with quarterback Dylan Ishman (32-for-62, 472 yards, 7 TDs, 1 Int.), running backs Connor Giavedoni (30-161, 1 TD) and Alex Gianvito (29-130 rushing; 11-189, 4 TDs receiving), and receiver Carter Newcome (13-190).

Aiden Hulings ran for 110 yards on 28 carries for the Wolves in their loss to Brockway.

Clarion (4-0) at St. Marys (0-4)

The Bobcats head north to try to extend their 15-game regular-season winning streak.

Clarion has three backs over 200 yards rushing with Sam Minich (22-254, 4 TDs), Cutter Boggess (47-221, 2 TDs) and Logan Minich (27-217, 2 TDs in two games) while quarterback Archer Mills (32-for-52, 523 yards, 6 TDs, 3 Ints.) is off to a good start. Sam Minich (14-229, 4 TDs) is his top receiving target.

The Dutch nearly knocked off Punxsutawney last week, but dropped a 24-21 decision thanks to a fumble return TD scored by the Chucks in the fourth quarter. The Dutch have now lost 15 straight games.

Devin McGrath ran for 78 yards on 14 carries for the Dutch against the Chucks.


Clarion-Limestone (3-1) at Redbank Valley (4-0)

The winner of this one has the inside track to win the division and gets a big boost in the Class 1A playoff positioning. While the Bulldogs breezed to a 49-0 win over Sheffield last week, the Lions notched a big win at home over Coudersport.

Quarterback Keaton Kahle (38-for-58, 467 yards, 5 TDs, 3 Ints.) keys the Bulldogs offense with his legs as well with 263 yards on 23 carries. Ethan Hetrick (8-164, 3 TDs) and Hunter Martz (12-130, 2 TDs) are his top targets. Hunter Wiles (37-349, 2 TDs) and Travis Crawford (44-127, 4 TDs) are the Bulldogs running backs.

Austin Newcomb has put up big numbers so far for the Lions on the ground (79-630, 6 TDs), receiving (12-284, 2 TDs) and special teams with two kickoff returns for scores this year. Ayden Wiles has played well, rushing for 285 yards on 54 carries with five TDs. Quarterback Colby Himes (27-for-52, 530 yards, 6 TDs, 2 Ints.) has played well in his first year as a starter.

The Bulldogs have beaten the Lions 11 of the last 12 times, including 40-14 last year in New Bethlehem. The Lions only win over the Bulldogs since 2004 was a 53-19 rout at home in 2016.

Elk County Catholic (2-2) at Union/A-C Valley (1-3)

It’s a trip to A-C Valley for the Crusaders as the Falcon Knights play their first of two games this year in Foxburg. ECC is coming off a 60-0 rout of Port Allegany while Union/ACV lost 47-25 at Otto-Eldred last week.

Both teams have played Curwensville with ECC beating it in the season-opener 34-14. Two weeks later, Union/ACV lost a 14-13 decision to the Tide on the same field.

ECC’s offense revolves around a running game led by Stephen Bobby (80-484). The Falcon Knights’ Nolan Cumberland (42-249, 5 TDs) is coming off a 100-yard game at Otto-Eldred.

Curwensville (2-2) at Keystone (2-2)

The Golden Tide head to Knox in a matchup of teams trying to get over .500. Curwensville had its two-game winning streak snapped in a 20-7 loss at home to Smethport while Keystone routed Cameron County 46-0. That’s the only common opponent so far with the Tide beating the Red Raiders 58-6 earlier.

Quarterback Isaak Jones (34-fof-68, 492 yards, 5 TDs, 3 Ints.; 28-150, 2 TDs rushing) keys the Panthers offense along with running back Noah Weaver (34-151, 2 TDs) and receiver Jayden Blazosky (13-152, 2 TDs).

Blake Passarelli (48-238, 1 TD) and Cole Bressler (29-234, 3 TDs) lead the Tide’s running game.


Otto-Eldred (3-1) at Smethport (4-0)

It’s the divisional game of the week as the winner will likely share first place in the division with Coudersport and both obviously still have to play the Falcons.

The Hubbers, coming off a 20-7 win at Curwensville, have given up just 31 points and five touchdowns in four games. The held the Tide to 159 yards offensively.

Blake Kinner (35-442, 6 TDs) and Nathan Hallowell (34-232, 2 TDs) continue to lead the Hubbers’ running game. Quarterback Grant Ognen has completed 25 of 40 passes for 378 yards and six TDs. Bryent Johnson (10-185, 4 TDs) is the Hubbers’ top receiver.

For the Terrors, sophomore Cole Sebastian has completed over 64 percent of his passes (63-for-98) for 793 yards with 11 TDs and five interceptions. He’s also the team’s top rusher (41-173, 1 TD). Cameron Magee (22-275, 6 TDs) and Chris Connelly (13-241, 1 TD) are his top receiving targets.

The Terrors have beaten the Hubbers twice in a row, including 32-6 last year.

Sheffield (0-4) at Cameron County (0-4)

Something has to give as the two winless teams try to end losing streaks. Sheffield, outscored 211-12, has dropped 14 straight games since a two-game winning streak at the end of the 2016 season. The first win of that mini-winning streak was a 26-6 win at home against Cameron County.

The Red Raiders, meanwhile have been outscored 230-6. Their last win was last season’s final game against Sheffield (30-29) and they’ve lost 20 of 22 games since the beginning of 2016.

Coudersport (3-1) at Port Allegany (0-4)

The Falcons look to rebound from their first loss of the year at C-L last week against the winless Gators.

Stevie Kelly (42-321, 6 TDs) and quarterback Hayden Keck (32-224, 7 TDs) lead the Falcons’ run-heavy offense. Keck has thrown just 13 passes, with three of his eight completions going for touchdowns.

The Gators have been shut out two games in a row, 60-0 at Elk County Catholic last week and 40-0 at Smethport two weeks ago.


DuBois (2-2, 2-1) at Oil City (3-1, 1-1)

It’s a divisional matchup in Venango County for the Beavers, who travel to play the Oilers in a game that has been moved up to 6 p.m. because of impending weather. Oil City lost 17-12 at General McLane last week. The Beavers lost at home to the Lancers, 17-12, in their second game of the season. Another common opponent was Franklin, which the Beavers beat 28-25 last week. The Oilers beat Franklin in their second game, 73-7.

The Oilers have thrown nine passes in four games, so to say that they’re run-heavy is an understatement. They’re averaging 429 rushing yards per game and put up 625 in their win over Franklin.

Senior Christian Cole (101-1,045, 15 TDs) is already over 1,000 yards for the season, doing the bulk of the work out of the backfield.

The Beavers are pretty balanced offensively as junior quarterback Alex Kovalyak (31-for-62, 519 yards, 5 TDs, 2 Ints.), and running backs Dylan McCluskey (56-245, 4 TDs) and Eric Schneider (49-242) lead the way. Chase Husted (22-310, 5 TDs) is the leading receiver.

DuBois has won the last four meetings with Oil City, including 38-19 last year. Cole ran for 150 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.


Clearfield (4-0) at Central Mountain (0-4)

The Bison look to continue their momentum, traveling to winless Central Mountain. They had two players share last week’s D9Sport.Com Player of the Week honors in quarterback Isaac Rumery and receiver Jake Lezzer after their win over Huntingdon.

Rumery has had a hand in 12 of the Bison’s 17 TDs so far this year. He’s completed 46 of 70 passes for six TDs and one interception while running for 257 yards and six TDs. Lezzer is Rumery’s top receiving target at 21 catches for 504 yards. Junior Brett Zattoni (55-310, 3 TDs) is the team’s leading rusher.

The Wildcats, averaging less than 100 yards per game on the ground, are led by junior quarterback Zane Probst (40-for-75, 651 yards, 4 TDs, 4 Ints.).

It’s the third straight year the two teams have met, with the Bison winning both 49-10 last year in 28-7 in 2016.