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Week 3 preview: Big Bulldogs-Panthers clash in KSAC


BROCKWAY’S HUNTER MILLER leads the 2-0 Rovers into this week’s game at home against Cameron County. (Photo by Paul Burdick)

By Rich Rhoades

While last week’s insane shootout in DuBois will be a hard act to follow on the scoreboard for the DuBois Beavers when they travel to Conneaut this Friday night, there are other noteworthy games on the 14-game Week 3 schedule.

Starting in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference’s Small School Division, the Redbank Valley Bulldogs (1-1) hosts Keystone (2-0) in a key matchup. Both teams are 1-0 in division play, so the winner gets a big jump on the other for one of the two automatic District 9 Class A playoff berths.

The Panthers haven’t been 3-0 since their state championship game appearance way back in 1989. Jake Weaver is leading the way out of the backfield. He’s rushed for a whopping 553 yards and nine touchdowns. Last week, he ran for 210 yards in a 33-14 win over Punxsutawney.

Redbank Valley, coming off a 42-7 loss to Karns City and retooling its offense after the loss of graduated quarterback Jake Dougherty, still runs the same spread offense. Quarterback Devin Schimp has passed for 263 yards and four touchdowns with his top receiver being Wyatt Hetrick (6 catches, 101 yards). Colten Mohney (25 carries, 88 yards) leads the team in rushing.

It’s the 52nd meeting between the Bulldogs and Panthers. Redbank Valley leads the all-time series, 41-10, and has won 22 of the last 26 matchups with the Panthers. Last year, the Bulldogs beat the Panthers, 35-6, in Knox.

The Beavers head to Linesville to take on the defending District 10 Class AAA champion Conneaut Eagles (2-0), who have scored 111 points in two wins over Northwestern (65-16) and Franklin (45-22) last week.

Last year, Conneaut beat DuBois, 36-35, in overtime on its way to a district title. The Eagles beat Cathedral Prep, 14-7, in the D10 final before getting hammered by WPIAL champion Central Valley, 52-23, in the state quarterfinals.

Back for Conneaut is senior quarterback Hunter Merritt, who went into last week with 4,527 career rushing yards, which ranked him No. 9 on the District 10 honor roll. This year, he’s rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 355 yards and five scores. He’s the reigning D10 Region 5 Player of the Year.

Last year against the Beavers, Merritt ran for 156 yards and five touchdowns while passing for 142 yards with three interceptions. Running back Henry Litwin, who caught the winning two-point conversion pass in OT, is also back.

Thanks to last week’s explosion, the 1-1 Beavers have exactly 1,500 yards of offense in two games. Matt Miller’s record 787 yards passing with 10 TDs against Meadville came in his first varsity appearance.

The Beavers’ top receivers are Dante Dawson (16 catches, 216 yards, 1 TD) and Colin Read (13 catches, 439 yards, 5 TDs). Read caught nine passes for a state-record 362 yards and three touchdowns against Meadville.

In the Mountain League, the Clearfield Bison (1-1) and Central-Martinsburg Scarlet Dragons (2-0) lock up in an important early-season league matchup. Both teams are 1-0 in ML play.

Central beat Clearfield, 35-28, last year and returns its starting quarterback in senior Noah Benton. He’s 14-of-23 passing for 220 yards and three touchdowns so far, coming off a season that saw him throw for 1,395 yards. Junior running back Alex Hoenstine has rushed for 283 yards and seven touchdowns with two receiving TDs. He’s also the top tackler on the team from his defensive back position.

While Central is coming off a 48-14 rout of Tyrone, the Bison notched their first win in a 42-18 rout of Penns Valley. Bison Quarterback Cody Spaid has passed for 390 yards and three touchdowns while Seth Caldwell has 182 yards rushing. Spaid’s top receiving targets are junior Ryan Lezzer (9 catches, 131 yards) and senior Jake Wingate (7 catches, 101 yards).


The DuBois Beavers’ 90 points in their 107-90 loss to Meadville last week did not set a district record for points scored in a game. That belongs to Clearfield in its 108-0 win over Sykesville back in 1915.

DuBois actually tied its own record for points in a game. The Beavers beat Ridgway, 90-0, in 1926.

In 1917, two years after beating Sykesville, Clearfield was blanked by Indiana Normal, 104-0. Indiana Normal was a predecessor to Indiana State Teachers College and then Indiana University of Pa.

In other games this week:



The AML-South winning streak against the North raised to 30 straight games dating back to the 2013 postseason after going 5-0 last week by a combined score of 230-56. Five more crossover games are scheduled for this week.

Elk Co. Catholic (2-0) at Smethport (0-2)

The Crusaders opened with a 27-6 win over Coudersport before last week’s 38-0 blanking of Port Allegany. Quarterback Nate DaCanal has passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns while Noah Werner has rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

The Hubbers lost to Kane last week (47-16) and were blanked by Brockway (56-0). Adam Shunk and Jimmy Duffy scored on runs against the Wolves for the team’s first touchdowns of the season.

Otto-Eldred (0-2) at Ridgway (2-0)

The Elkers have been tough on their first two AML-North foes, beating Cameron County (37-6) last week and Sheffield (12-0), limiting them to just six points and 112 yards. In last week’s win over Cameron, Josh Raubenstrauch and Aaron Hinton returned interceptions for touchdowns. Raubenstrauch’s return was 100 yards.

Offensively, the Elkers haven’t racked up a whole lot of yards. Last week, however, Dane Cappiello and James Winslow ran for 93 and 56 yards respectively. Quarterback Johnny Mitchell has passed for 82 yards in two games.

The Terrors have given up 97 points losses to Sharpsville (39-6) and Curwensville (58-20). Heath Stewart scored two TDs against Curwensville and caught seven passes for 143 yards against Sharpsville. Seth Drummond ran for 121 yards against Curwensville and scored the Terrors’ lone TD against Sharpsville.

Coudersport (0-2) at Curwensville (2-0)

The Golden Tide are off to a strong start with 113 points and over 1,100 yards of offense in wins over Port Allegany (55-22) and Otto-Eldred (58-20).

Sophomore running back Nick Stewart (422 yards, 5 TDs) and senior Hunter Johnson (284 yards, 3 TDs) lead the running game while quarterback Jakob Terry has passed for 295 yards and five TDs. Quamone Newkirk has six catches for 167 yards and four TDs.

Coudersport has scored 20 points in losses to Elk County Catholic (27-6) and Brockway (50-14), gaining just 292 yards in two games. Quarterback Darren Keglovits has passed for 241 yards and three touchdowns.

Cameron County (0-2) at Brockway (2-0)

The Rovers have also racked up big numbers in wins over Smethport (56-0) and Coudersport (50-14).

Quarterback Hunter Miller has thrown for 304 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 72 percent (18-of-25) of his passes. He’s also rushed for 116 yards. Anthony Isabella (27 carries, 216 yards, 4 TDs) leads the running game while Jake Gorham (7 catches, 142) is Miller’s top receiver.

The Red Raiders have scored one touchdown in losses to Kane (38-0) and Ridgway (37-6). Quarterback Derek Rieder has thrown for 172 yards with a 25-yard TD pass to Jordan Crosby in last week’s game. Caleb Burnside ran for 61 yards on 21 carries against the Elkers.


St. Marys (2-0) at Karns City (2-0, 1-0 KSAC-Large)

The top-ranked Gremlins have outscored opponents 89-7 in their two wins going into the matchup with the Flying Dutchmen, piling up nearly 800 rushing yards.

The backfield trio of Colin Dunmyre (200 yards, 2 TDs), Maverick Kelsea (191 yards, 3 TDs) and Chandler Turner (144 yards, 3 TDs) account for most of the rushing yardage.

St. Marys has started the season without injured fullback T.J. Hogan, but has gained over 500 yards in two wins without him. Juniors Matt Marconi (238 yards, 2 TDs) and Christian Steffan (140 yards, 4 TDs) lead the Dutch running game.

Punxsutawney (1-1, 1-0 KSAC-Large) at Brookville (1-1, 0-1 KSAC-Large)

It’s a new version of the Route 36 Trophy game as the Chucks head north to play the Raiders. The Chucks have won two of the last three meetings, including last year’s 47-6 victory at home.

Chucks quarterback Ryan Jones has passed for 332 yards and rushed for a team-best 180 yards. Junior receiver Devin Kelly (12 catches, 139 yards) is his top receiver.

Raiders quarterback Seth Ray has passed for 250 yards with his top receiving target Logan Thrush (5 catches, 82 yards). John Frank’s 110 yards rushing leads the team.


Clarion (2-0, 1-0 KSAC-Small) at Clarion-Limestone (1-1, 0-1 KSAC-Small)

The Bobcats have outscored their two opponents 106-20 while the Lions hope to give them more of a test than Sheffield or A-C Valley. C-L is coming off its first win in 10 years over Moniteau.

Lions quarterback Anthony Louder has thrown for 436 yards and four touchdowns while running for four scores. His top receivers are Brady Himes (19 catches, 247 yards) and Conner Keth (8 catches, 137 yards).

Clarion sophomore Colton Rapp has rushed for 321 yards and four scores.

The Bobcats have beaten the Lions 11 straight times, including the last four meetings by a combined margin of 250-6.

Union (0-2, 0-1 KSAC-Small) at A-C Valley (0-2, 0-1 KSAC-Small)

The Knights and Falcons try to get their first win.

Dugan Gallagher and Cole Morris lead the Knights. Gallagher has rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns while Morris has gained 73 yards on 27 attempts while passing for 97 yards. Gallagher is also the top receiver with five catches for 76 yards.

The Falcons, losers of 24 straight games, were limited to just nine yards of offense in their 41-7 loss to St. Marys last week.


Meadville (2-0, 1-0 Region 5) at Bradford (0-2, 0-1 Region 5)

What’s next for Meadville’s Journey Brown after torching DuBois for 720 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns?

Brown’s numbers are obviously huge after two games with 876 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Bulldogs have thrown three passes in two games and didn’t complete a pass against DuBois.

Sophomore John Eakin has rushed for 159 yards to lead the Owls while Kyle Kirk has passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns.


Moniteau (0-2) at Port Allegany (0-2)

Both teams are searching for their first wins and it’s the second year in a row teams from opposite ends of the district match up. Last year, Moniteau routed Port Allegany, 48-12.

Warriors quarterback Derek Boben has thrown for 232 yards and rushed for 114 yards. Dalton Anderson is his top receiving target with 10 catches for 80 yards.

For Port Allegany, Mac Tanner has rushed for 201 yards and leads the team with 27 tackles on defense.



Kane (2-0) at Sheffield (0-2), 1:30 p.m.

The Wolves are getting plenty of production from senior Shane Rolick, who has passed for 69 yards, rushed for 106 yards and leads the team with 26 points scored. He’s passed for a touchdown, rushed for two and caught two TD passes.

Shane’s twin brother Tyler leads the team in rushing (272 yards, 2 TDs) while sophomore Erik Delong (207 yards, 3 TDs) is off to a strong start.

After being limited to minus-1 yard of offense in their opening loss to Ridgway (12-0), the Wolverines managed more offense in a 60-20 loss to Clarion. Myquandre Stevenson scored three touchdowns on a 38-yard run, 78-yard reception and 80-yard kick return.