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Week 2 Football Preview: Keystone, Union/AC-V Set to Clash After Strong Opening Week Performance

After an opening week that held many blowouts and few surprises, week two is shaping up to have some toss-up clashes.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Burdick)

Central Clarion plays Brookville in a battle of two strong passing offenses, while Keystone and Union/A-C Valley look to duke things out in the trenches. The Northern Divisions also begin play this week, as Coudersport and Ridgway strive to retain their D9 titles.

Brockway vs. Redbank Valley

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

Brockway (0-1) struggled in their opening game against Union/A-C Valley, generating only 66 yards of total offense. The Rovers also had difficulty stopping the Falcon Knights’ fast-moving rushing attack. Brockway has another challenge on their hands as they face Redbank Valley (1-0), who is coming off a dominant win over Curwensville. The Bulldogs ran for 257 yards in their victory, with three players rushing for over 50 yards. Quarterback Gunner Mangiantini threw for four touchdowns as well, as the Bulldogs displayed a variety in an attack that will be difficult to stop.

One Thing to Watch: Redbank Valley’s strong pass rush allows them to put tremendous pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Brockway struggled offensively last game, and they will need to find their rhythm early against Redbank. Brockway will need to contain the Bulldogs’ star pass rushers to move the chains on offense and compete with Redbank’s own versatile attack.


Keystone vs. Union/A-C Valley

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

In what should be one of the premier games of the week, the Keystone Panthers (1-0) will face off against the Union/A-C Valley Falcon Knights (1-0). The Panthers cruised to victory last week against an overmatched Sheffield team. Keystone had three interceptions returned for touchdowns in the big win, indicating their ball-hawking defensive tendencies haven’t been lost in the offseason. Union/A-C Valley rode a strong defensive performance to a win over Brockway, while their characteristically tough rushing attack ran for 183 yards.

One Thing to Watch: Both teams love to run the football, and avoiding third-and-long will be vital in ensuring successful long drives. It will be interesting to see how both squads respond to long yardage situations: Will they be able to throw for the yards, or will they struggle to deviate from their rush-first identities?


Sheffield vs. Curwensville

– cancelled.

One Thing to Watch: Both teams were overwhelmed by high-level opposition in week one. Whichever team can quickly bounce back and create rhythm on offense should emerge victorious.


Moniteau vs. Punxsutawney

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

Moniteau (0-1) dropped their first contest to a strong Karns City squad. Special teams play was key in separating the two sides, and Moniteau will hope to eliminate the types of special teams mistakes that doomed them in the opener. Punxsutawney (0-1) fell to Central Clarion in their opening game, with a long touchdown run being their lone highlight in the loss. Punxsutawney struggled to keep Central Clarion’s passing game in check, and will look to rebound this week against a Moniteau team that passed for a solid 109 yards last week.

One Thing to Watch: Punxsutawney struggled defensively against Central Clarion; however, Moniteau does not possess as experienced an offense as the Wildcats. Can Punxsutawney stop Moniteau’s strong passing attack, or will they meet the same fate as in their opening week matchup?


Brookville vs. Central Clarion

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

In a battle between two teams with championship aspirations, the Brookville Raiders (1-0) take on the Central Clarion Wildcats (1-0) in the Explore Clarion Game of the Week. Brookville is coming off a quality win against DuBois where quarterback Jack Krug threw for 383 yards. The Raiders’ strong passing attack coupled with their ability to profit off of DuBois’ mistakes guided them to victory. Central Clarion defeated Punxsutawney in a game defined by big offensive plays. Quarterback Cal German threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns, and his top receiver Ethan Burford snagged five catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

One Thing to Watch: Few teams possess a complete playmaker like Jack Krug, and Central Clarion will need to limit his impact if they hope to emerge victorious. Will the Central Clarion pass rush find its mark? Or will Brookville successfully spread the field, crippling Central Clarion’s defense with quick offensive decision making?


DuBois vs. Karns City

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

Dubois (0-1) is looking to rebound after dropping their opening game to Brookville. Despite coming up short against Brookville, DuBois received a solid performance from quarterback Cam-Ron Hays, who threw for 183 yards, 72 of which were hauled in by receiver Zach Shilala. Karns City (1-0) won their opener against Moniteau, logging solid passing performances from both Eric Booher and Brayden Christie. The Gremlins logged 171 passing yards and 121 rushing yards in the contest, displaying a newly balanced offensive game plan. Karns City also won the special teams battle against Moniteau, scoring two touchdowns, a field goal, and recovering an onside kick.

One Thing to Watch: Both DuBois and Karns City possess high-powered offenses and love to throw the football, making this game an exciting one to watch. The question is, which team will come up with the vital stops and turnovers needed to push their team over the edge? Ball security will be key in this contest, and avoiding turnovers will almost certainly prove pivotal for both offenses.


Smethport vs. Otto-Eldred

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

Smethport had a solid 2019, going 6-5 overall and 5-1 in their division. The Hubbers return both of their top rushers, including quarterback Noah Lent, who led the team in passing and rushing. Defensively, the Hubbers retain most of their top tacklers, including sack leader Kameron Rounsville. The veteran Hubbers squad should be a tough matchup for Otto-Eldred, who will hope to use their passing offense to get the upper hand. The Terrors star quarterback, Cole Sebastian, returns for his senior season after a 2300 yard and 26 touchdown performance last year. Top target Ethan Smith is also back, as Otto-Eldred looks prime to keep their high-powered offense rolling.

One Thing to Watch: Both offenses were successful last season, yet the two sides possess starkly different offensive styles. Can the Otto-Eldred defense stop Smethport’s powerful rushing game? Can Smethport snag key turnovers to stop Otto-Eldred’s high-flying offense?


Port Allegany vs. Coudersport

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

The Port Allegany Gators had a rough 2019, going 2-6 overall. The Gators should benefit from an added year of experience, and quarterback Drew Evens comes back for his sophomore year after starting as a freshman. Running back Taro Tanaka is also back after leading the Gators in carries. Coudersport won the District 9 Class A title last season, toppling Redbank Valley in the title game. The Falcons, who went undefeated prior to their state playoff loss, lose their top rusher, Travis Gleason, but retain quarterback Hayden Keck, who rushed for 822 yards last season. Most of Coudersport’s top tacklers are back, and Coudersport should be a title challenger again this season.

One Thing to Watch: Coudersport has a vacancy at running back, and it will be interesting to see who fills the void. Will the loss of Gleason hurt the Falcons’ offense, or can Coudersport maintain their domination on the ground?


Cameron County vs. Elk County Catholic

(Thu. Sep 17, 7:00pm)

Cameron County went winless in 2019, but they do return a high-number of key contributors for 2020. Top backs Dylan Reider and Dylan Baney both add a year of experience, while Jamesson Britton hopes to follow up his stellar freshman season on the defensive side of the football. Elk County Catholic went 5-5 last season, but fought hard against high-level opposition. They only gave up 14 points in a 14-0 loss against Coudersport last season, and played both Redbank Valley and Keystone close, dropping a three-point decision to Keystone.

One Thing to Watch: Elk County Catholic soundly defeated Cameron County 41-0 last season. Will the added year of maturity be enough to boost Cameron County’s ability to compete against a sturdy Crusaders lineup?


Bradford vs. St. Marys

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

The Bradford Owls were 1-8 last season, with their lone win coming against Punxsutawney. Bradford graduated their starting quarterback and running back, and have plenty of playmaking voids to fill on both sides of the ball. Solid rusher Nolan Gonzalez and top receiver Austen Davis both return for the Owls. St. Marys had a breakout 2019, going 6-5 after struggling for several seasons prior. The Flying Dutch return starting quarterback Christian Coudriet, who threw for 2600 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. St Marys’ starting running back and key receivers also return for a team that is ready to prove that their strong 2019 was no fluke.

One Thing to Watch: St. Marys had a great 2019, but they still struggled with ball security, throwing 13 interceptions in 11 games. This season, can a more mature St. Marys lineup further improve their passing attack while cutting down on turnovers?


Kane vs. Ridgway

(Fri. Sep 18, 7:00pm)

Kane was the only D9 team to defeat Ridgway last season, and they’ll hope to duplicate their performance in their first game of 2020. Kane graduated several of their star players, including top rusher and receiver Jake Alcorn, and defensive stalwart Teddy Race. Quarterback Zuke Smith returns for the Wolves, who are hoping for new stars to emerge in 2020. Ridgway also graduated several key players, but all-around athlete Gabe Watts returns. To succeed in 2020, Ridgway will need to find replacements at quarterback and on defense.

One Thing to Watch: Both teams lost some of their biggest contributors in 2019. Who will step up and fill the key voids? Will Kane and Ridgway enter a period of transition, or will they be reloaded and ready to fight for a title in 2020?