By Rich Rhoades
Is it too early to assess how District 9 football is unfolding after one week?
Of course not.
— With Keystone’s win at Union, it’s the Panthers now in a good position to claim a playoff spot in the KSAC-Small School. While Clarion and Redbank Valley appear to be favored to claim those automatic bids for the Class A playoffs, a third or possibly a fourth spot could be claimed by other KSAC-Small School teams especially if the AML-North continues its weak performance and perhaps if the AML-South softens up some at the bottom of the standings.
— This year’s 14 games had five shutout wins with an average margin of victory of 29.8 points per game. Again, it’s more about the matchups because last year’s same schedule with the exception of Clearfield playing Keyser, W.V., there were six shutouts with an average margin of victory at 29.5 points per game.
— The streak continues: The Allegheny Mountain League’s much-maligned North Division got beat up again, going 0-5 against the South. Last year, the same five matchups saw a combined score of 131-16 with three shutouts. This year, it was 188-28 with three shutouts.
The AML-North losing streak to the AML-South stands at 25 games dating back to the 2013 postseason.
— Not a trend: All but two games were delayed or postponed to Saturday thanks to the widespread storm system that blew up around District 9. That’s a rare feat by Mother Nature.
— DuBois scoring inflation continues: Expect plenty of points, on both sides, at DuBois Beavers games. Last week’s 51-41 win over Mifflin County continues a trend of skyrocketing point totals.
In head coach Frank Varischetti’s first year as head coach in 2011, Beavers games averaged 56.4 points per game (Beavers 37.4, opponents 18.9). Since then:
2012: 61.9 (Beavers 44.6, opponents 17.3)
2013: 69.5 (42.8-26.6)
2014: 77.4 (48.7-28.6), including four games over 90 combined points.
— Home teams went 9-5. Home-field advantage doesn’t have nearly as much effect in high school football. It could decide a close matchup, but it’s more about what the teams have or don’t have and not where they play.
This week’s schedule has 14 games on the docket, 13 of them on Friday with Clarion traveling to Sheffield for a Saturday afternoon tilt.
Brockway (1-0) at Coudersport (0-1)
The Rovers had their way against Smethport last week, limiting the Hubbers to just 67 yards of offense. Quarterback Hunter Miller threw for 133 yards and three TDs while Jake Gorham caught three passes for 97 yards.
Coudersport quarterback Darren Keglovits threw for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ loss to Elk County Catholic.
Ridgway (1-0) at Cameron County (0-1)
Will the Red Raiders be the streak-breaker for the AML-North? While the Elkers struggled to put away the Wolverines on the scoreboard, they certainly did enough to keep them off the scoreboard, holding Sheffield to minus-1 yard of offense.
Elkers quarterback Johnny Mitchell threw for 32 yards and rushed for 16. Ridgway gained just 162 yards against Sheffield.
The Red Raiders managed just 63 yards of offense in their loss to Kane.
Kane (1-0) at Smethport (0-1)
The Wolves got big rushing games from Tyler Rolick (201 yards) and Erik Delong (126) while holding Cameron County to 63 yards.
Smethport tries to jump-start its offense after a 67-yard effort against Brockway.
Elk County Catholic (1-0) at Port Allegany (0-1)
Crusaders quarterback Nate DaCanal threw for 143 yards and a touchdown while running for 39 yards and another score to lead the Crusaders in their win over Coudersport.
Mac Tanner was a playmaker for the Gators in their loss to Curwensville, running for 152 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Tre Garzel threw for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Curwensville (1-0) at Otto-Eldred (0-1)
Air (Andy) Evanko? The Golden Tide piled up 571 yards of offense and got a big passing performance from quarterback Jakob Terry. He was 10-for-13 for 213 yards and four touchdowns with Quamone Newkirk catching four passes for 115 yards and three scores.
For good measure, the running game churned out 100-yard performances from Nick Stewart (165 yards, 2 TDs) and Hunter Johnson (138 yards, 1 TD).
The Terrors were scoreless after one quarter at District 10 power Sharpsville, but couldn’t keep that going in a non-conference loss. Seth Drummond scored the team’s lone points on a fourth-quarter TD run. Heath Stewart caught seven passes for 143 yards.
Redbank Valley (1-0) at Karns City (1-0)
The Bulldogs and Gremlins haven’t met since 2011 and the game will be aired only on the RRR Roadhouse KSAC Game of the Week on the Explore Radio Network and www.exploreclarion.com, members of the EYT Media Group.
Both teams are coming off big wins. The Bulldogs debuted new quarterbacks as Devin Schimp and Connor Shoemaker took snaps. Schimp took most of them, completing 7 of 10 passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns while Shoemaker ran for a 73-yard touchdown.
Devin Bowser had 2 ½ sacks while Wyatt Hetrick made an interception.
The Gremlins ran for over 400 yards in their rout of Brookville. Maverick Kelsea, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior, ran for 150 yards on seven carries and rambled 83 yards for a score. Senior Collin Dunmyre (10-94) and Chandler Turner (5-95) nearly reached the 100-yard milestone as well.
Karns City also had two quarterbacks take snaps. Jacob King was 3-for-4 for 48 yards with a touchdown pass to Turner while Williams was 1-for-5 for 12 yards.
The Gremlins have won 13 of the last 17 meetings against the Bulldogs dating back through 1997.
A-C Valley (0-1) at St. Marys (1-0)
The Falcons take their 23-game losing streak to Elk County to take on the Dutch, who won without injured returning 1,000-yard running back T.J. Hogan.
Instead, the Dutch got two big games from Matt Marconi (152, 2 TDs) and Christian Steffan (84 yards, 2 TDs) in their win over Bradford.
Clarion-Limestone (0-1) at Moniteau (0-1)
The Lions and Warriors are coming off losses in games where they both got off to terrible starts. The Lions trailed Redbank Valley 35-0 by the mid-point of the second quarter while the Warriors were down 28-0 by the end of the first quarter at Punxsutawney.
Lions quarterback Anthony Louder passed for 143 yards and ran for 43 yards accounting for both of his team’s touchdowns, one on the ground and another on a 30-yard pass to Brady Himes, who caught five balls for 122 yards.
Warriors quarterback Derek Boben passed for 125 yards with top receiver Dalton Anderson catching six passes for 78 yards.
C-L finished its game at Redbank Valley with 14 available players. Leading rusher Mike Macefe (8-54 rushing) left the game with an injury in the third quarter and his status was uncertain for this week’s game.
Punxsutawney (1-0) at Keystone (1-0)
Co-Player of the Week Jake Weaver and his Panthers try to make it 2-0 in their home debut against the Chucks who won their opener with new coach Brad Wright.
Weaver went nuts against Union, going off for 343 yards and five touchdowns. In Punxsutawney, quarterback Ryan Jones ran for 188 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown and passed for another TD while Devin Kelly ran for two scores.
Brookville (0-1) at Union (0-1)
Both teams look to bounce back from losses where the opposing teams racked up big rushing yardage.
Union’s Cole Morris and Dugan Gallagher rushed for 55 and 73 yards respectively. Morris started at quarterback and passed for 61 yards. Gallagher ran for two scores while Morris had the other.
The Raiders were limited to 64 yards of offense. Junior quarterback Seth Ray was 5-for-13 passing for 82 yards. John Frank ran for 24 yards on nine carries, but sack yardage and a poor snap had the Raiders for minus-18 yards on 22 attempts.
While it’s only been three games, the Knights haven’t beaten the Raiders at home since 1986.
Penns Valley (0-1) at Clearfield (0-1)
Credit the Bison for scheduling a two-time defending state champion in Fort Hill, Md., in last week’s lopsided loss. They’ll try to rebound in their Mountain League opener at home against the Rams.
Against Fort Hill, quarterback Cody Spaid completed 19 of 36 passes for 273 yards with Ryan Lezzer catching six passes for 104 yards.
Meanwhile, the Rams had their hands full with Juniata in a 75-12 loss. They gave up 613 yards, including 300-plus passing and rushing.
DISTRICT 10 REGION 5
Meadville (1-0) at DuBois (1-0)
Co-Player of the Week Zach Sloan of the DuBois Beavers will try to help get his team off to a 2-0 start in their District 10 Region 5 opener.
Sloan passed for 260 yards and three touchdowns while running for 116 yards and three more scores. Dante Dawson caught 10 passes for 154 yards and Braden Paulinellie ran for 128 yards and a touchdown as the Beavers racked up 550 yards of offense while giving up 417 to Mifflin County.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs threw one pass and put two players over 100 yards rushing in their 28-7 win over Fairview. Juniors Journey Brown (12-154, 2 TDs) and Antonio Ferraro (10-109, 2 TDs) each went over the century mark.
Bradford (0-1) at Oil City (1-0)
The Owls head to Venango County to take on the Oilers, who beat Corry 34-15 in their opener.
Oilers Quarterback Jackson McFall threw three TD passes to Mo Hadley, one of them an 83-yarder.
Owls quarterback Kyle Kirk threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns against St. Marys. John Eakin had an 89-yard TD run.
Clarion (1-0) at Sheffield (0-1)
Saturday afternoon, the Bobcats trek to Warren County to take on the Wolverines, who were limited to minus-1 yard of offense and lost four of their five fumbles in a 12-0 loss to Ridgway.
Clarion and A-C Valley were 0-0 after the first quarter, but the Bobcats pulled away, getting two defensive touchdowns along with a 34-yard field goal from Cam Craig. Running back Colton Rapp ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns.