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Week 4 Football Preview: Union/A-C Valley and Redbank Valley Fight for First Place

Week four has its fair share of quality games, as Union/A-C Valley and Redbank Valley tangle in a clash of two unbeatens, while Ridgway faces St. Marys in an intriguing battle for North Large School Division supremacy.

Thursday, October 1


Union/A-C Valley at Redbank Valley (Oct. 1, 7:00pm)

Two undefeated rivals clash as the Union/A-C Valley Falcon Knights face off against the Redbank Valley Bulldogs on Thursday night. Union/A-C Valley is coming off a big 45-0 win last week over Curwensville. In the victory, Tanner Merwin scored three combined touchdowns in a strong dual-threat performance, while the Falcon Knights’ defense forced four turnovers in the shutout. Union/A-C Valley will look to continue their winning ways against a Redbank Valley team who had a bye week during week three. The Bulldogs are 2-0 after riding a strong rushing game and line play to victories over Curwensville and Brockway. Hudson Martz and Ray Shreckengost have both run the ball well, each registering over 100 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, quarterback Gunner Mangiantini threatens defenses with both his arm and his legs, throwing for 220 yards and rushing for 75 yards in 2020.

One Thing to Watch: Redbank Valley has tremendous depth, whereas Union/A-C Valley is a smaller squad. Redbank Valley will look to use their aggressive rushing attack to wear Union/A-C Valley down, and it will be essential for the Falcon Knights to stay fresh defensively by limiting the length of Redbank Valley’s drives and creating turnovers.


Friday, October 2


Brookville at Moniteau (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Brookville takes their 3-0 record on the road as they battle Moniteau. Brookville has quickly established itself at the top dog in the South Large School Division, taking down opponents with their high-flying offense. Quarterback Jack Krug is averaging over 300 yards passing per game, also throwing for 12 touchdowns in three games. Brookville has three receivers with over 200 receiving yards, an indicator of the versatility of Brookville’s offense. Contrary to Brookville, Moniteau has almost exclusively run the ball this season. Mason Mershimer has 280 rushing yards over the first three games, while JD Dessicino has 150 yards on the ground. Last week, the Moniteau defense struggled with Central Clarion’s passing offense, and the Warriors will need a renewed defensive effort if they seek to contend with Brookville.

One Thing to Watch: Moniteau will need an improved defensive performance to contain Brookville’s passing offense. Can Moniteau get a few early stops to give their rushing game a chance to get moving, or will Brookville continue their trend of scoring early and often?


DuBois at Central Clarion (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Last week, DuBois won their first game in nearly two years, toppling Punxsutawney to move to 1-2 on the season. DuBois was able to shut down Punxsutawney’s rushing offense, limiting the Chucks to 90 yards of offense. DuBois was able to rush the ball themselves, and Zach Henery had a breakout performance, registering 91 yards and a touchdown. Central Clarion was also victorious last week, with Cal German throwing for 425 yards in the victory. The Wildcats’ passing game has been strong this season, throwing for 320 yards per game. Ethan Burford has been the feature receiver for Central Clarion, snagging 15 catches for 441 yards and six touchdowns.

One Thing to Watch: DuBois proved that they can control the line of scrimmage in last week’s victory, but Central Clarion is a higher-level opponent. Can DuBois get their running game going against the Wildcats, or will they be contained by Central Clarion’s sturdy defense?


Karns City at Punxsutawney (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Karns City dropped their first game of the season last week, as they were beaten soundly by Brookville. The Gremlins threw six interceptions in the contest, as they fell behind early and struggled to dig into the deficit. The Gremlins have had strong rushing performances from Jayce Anderson, and the Gremlins will look to get back into the win column against Punxsutawney. The Chucks are 0-3 on the season, dropping their last two contests to DuBois and Moniteau. Kameron Falgout is Punxsutawney’s quarterback and key playmaker, and his passing and rushing skills should threaten the Karns City defense.

One Thing to Watch: The Gremlins love to run the football, and Punxsutawney has looked vulnerable to strong rushers. Will Karns City be able to exploit this weakness?


Keystone at Curwensville (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)


The Keystone Panthers are 2-1, and their strong defensive play has been the highlight of the Panthers’ season. Keystone has only allowed 14 points in three games, with seven of those points coming on a pick six. Offensively, the Panthers have been driven by Nick Weaver, who has rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. Curwensville is 0-2 this season, struggling in losses to Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley. The Golden Tide average just under 100 yards of offense per game, and have been unable to stop opposing rushing attacks.

One Thing to Watch: Keystone will almost certainly look to dominate the trenches against Curwensville. If Keystone succeeds early, will any backup backs shine with their increased late-game workload?


Ridgway at St. Marys (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Ridgway’s stout defensive play and ability to force opposing special teams mistakes have boosted the Elkers to 2-0 in 2020. While the Elkers have struggled a bit offensively, they have six sacks and three fumble recoveries in their first two games, giving their offense prime field position. 2-0 St. Marys has been tremendous offensively, throwing for 278 yards per game while averaging just over 100 yards on the ground. Quarterback Christian Coudriet leads the Flying Dutch, throwing for 517 yards in two games for a squad who has three players with over 100 receiving yards.

One Thing to Watch: Ridgway has been able to take advantage of opposing mistakes to create scoring, but St. Marys’ offense has played efficient football while limiting turnovers. Will St. Marys be able to pass the football on a higher-level Ridgway defense, or will Ridgway be able to force mistakes to seize momentum?


Bradford at Kane (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Bradford’s lack of offensive success has led to an 0-2 start for the Owls, who have turned the ball over six times in their first two games. The Owls have received solid performances from quarterback Austen Davis, who threw for 136 yards and a touchdown in 2020. Kane is 0-2 after dropping matchups with Ridgway and St. Marys. Quarterback Zuke Smith has thrown for 325 yards and three touchdowns for a Wolves team who has transitioned from a run-first offense to a passing-oriented scheme. Bobby Rumcik is the Wolves top pass catcher with 104 yards and a touchdown.

One Thing to Watch: Bradford’s mistakes have made their first two games uncompetitive, but the Owls have shown that their passing attack is capable of driving offensive success. Can Bradford avoid the errors that plagued them in their first two games, or will Kane be able to force vital mistakes on defense and special teams?


Cameron County at Otto-Eldred (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Cameron County is 0-2 this season after two lopsided losses against strong opposition. The Raiders will look to get their running game rolling as they face off against Otto-Eldred. The Terrors are coming off a win last week against Port Allegany. The Terrors have received solid productivity out of their passing game, and quarterback Cole Sebastian looks to build off of a 248 yard, three touchdown performance in last week’s win. Otto-Eldred also forced three interceptions last week.

One Thing to Watch: The Terrors had a solid outing against Port Allegany last week, especially on offense. Can Cameron County stop or keep up with Otto-Eldred’s fast paced offense?


Elk County Catholic at Coudersport (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Elk County Catholic is 1-1 after dropping last week’s contest to Smethport. The Hubbers were able to keep Elk County Catholic’s rushers at bay, killing the Crusaders’ offensive momentum. The Crusaders will face an equally tough opponent this week in Coudersport. The Falcons have steamrolled their way to 2-0 after two lopsided victories. Quarterback Hayden Keck has 148 passing yards and 262 rushing yards through two games, accounting for eight total touchdowns. Brandt Kightlinger also has 200 rushing yards.

One Thing to Watch: Coudersport has looked unstoppable offensively thus far in 2020. Elk County Catholic will need to stop the run to stick with the Falcons. Can the Crusaders do so? If they can, will their offense be able to keep the game close?


Smethport at Port Allegany (Oct. 2, 7:00pm)

Smethport cruised to an impressive win over Elk County Catholic last week. Dual-threat quarterback Noah Lent threw for 76 yards while rushing for 161 yards in the victory. Smethport’s dynamic rushing offense will look to have another big week against Port Allegany. Port Allegany is 0-2, but they put together a solid offensive display last week, scoring 30 points in a loss. Quarterback Drew Evens has 463 passing yards through two games, and Trey Ayers leads all Gators receivers with 226 yards and two touchdowns.

One Thing to Watch: The Smethport running game has paved the way for their two dominant victories. The Gators will look to plug holes early to prevent Smethport’s long, draining drives. If Smethport can begin the game with a few big drives, it could be a long night for Port Allegany.