By Rich Rhoades
The regular season comes to a close this weekend in District 9 with 20 of the 25 teams involved in 15 games all schedule for Friday night.
Among the highlighted games is the Allegheny Mountain League Championship in Kane where the unbeaten Wolves host Sheffield and the District 9 Class AAA Championship between unbeaten Clearfield and Bradford kicks off in Brockway.
Check out those game previews on the D9Sports.Com blog. Also, many of the games below have playoff implications. Check out the link above for the scenarios affecting the playoffs:
District 10, Region 5
DuBois (6-3 overall, 4-1 Region 5) at Slippery Rock (9-0, 5-0)
The winner claims the region title and it won’t be easy for the visiting Beavers, who take on a Rockets team that ranks ninth in the state at 48.2 points per game. Not that the Beavers are much lesser of an offense as they rank 13th at 46.9 points per game.
Beavers quarterback Gabe French is about to become the 15th district player enter the Jim Kelly Club — District 9 QBs who have thrown for Kelly’s career yardage of 3,915 yards or more — and with 3,785 yards he needs 130 yards to reach the Hall of Famer’s mark.
For the season, French has passed for 2,136 yards and 23 touchdowns. His top receiver Bryson Paulinellie has 53 catches for 1,053 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back Devin Clark has rushed for 1,136 yards and 20 TDs.
Clarion (9-0) at Brookville (6-3)
The Bobcats try to cap their second straight 10-0 season and seventh unbeaten-untied season in team history with a trip to play the Raiders.
Clarion remains the highest scoring team in the state (54.2 ppg.) and have now shut out six straight opponents, helping it to be the lowest points allowed per game team in the state as well at 2.2.
The Bobcats average 470 yards per game thanks to plenty of contributors. At the top of the list are quarterback John Katis (1,399 yards, 15 TDs passing), running backs Damien Slike (1,072 yards, 22 TDs) and Ian Corbett (728 yards, 14 TDs), and receiver Cody Hearst (757 yards, 6 TDs).
Brookville’s Zach Vroman is the district’s second-leading rusher with 1,623 yards to go along with 17 TDs.
Brockway (5-4) at Moniteau (3-6)
It’s clearly one of the most compelling games of the week when it comes to postseason possibilities and how it affects other teams as well. The Rovers are trying to turn things around after a 3-0 start to the season while the Warriors started the year 0-6 and still have a shot at the playoffs with a fourth-straight win.
Brockway’s Alec Shaffer-Doan has passed for 2,268 yards and 28 touchdowns, holding a slight edge over DuBois’ Gabe French for the district yardage lead.
For Moniteau, quarterback Cody Skiver leads the way. He’s passed for 855 yards, run for a team-best 642 yards and leads the team in tackles and interceptions (6) on defense.
Smethport (5-4) at Redbank Valley (6-3)
It’s the first-ever meeting between the Hubbers and the Bulldogs.
Redbank Valley carries Mark Strothers returned to the lineup after a two-game absence last week to the tune of 234 yards on just 10 carries with four touchdowns. For the year, he’s up to 998 yards and 18 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jake Dougherty moved into second place on his team’s all-time passing list and his 3,362 career yards is just 281 yards shy of the team record owned by Jason Huffman.
Smethport is trying to end a two-game losing streak. Senior Ryan Stratton leads the Hubbers. He’s the top rusher at 600 yards and is the unofficial district leader in tackles per game at 14.6. Quarterback Dustin Zetwick has passed for 582 yards and rushed for 429 yards.
Cambridge Springs (7-2) at Union (4-5)
The Knights certainly have playoff motivation to beat the Red Devils out of District 10. They’ll bring a power-running offense to Rimersburg led by Colton Noble’s 1,424 yards.
Union quarterback Lane Cicciarelli has passed for 1,412 yards and is within 180 yards of tying the team’s single-season yardage record owned by Troy Heeter from 1984.
St. Marys (5-4) at Bellefonte (0-9)
The Dutch try to get into the postseason with a trip to play the winless Red Raiders, who have allowed 40 or more points in all but one game.
Dutch running back Alex Feldbauer returned after a two-week injury absence with authority, piling up 255 yards on 36 carries in a win over Bradford, putting him over the 3,000-yard milestone. He now stands at 3,007 career yards. For the year, he’s at 1,231 yards for the season with 13 touchdowns.
Marion Center (2-7) at Karns City (8-1)
No doubt the Gremlins won’t look past the two-win Stingers from District 6 considering that playoff positioning is at stake. Gremlins quarterback Tyler Kepple has passed for 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy (4-5) at Ridgway (4-5)
It’s an important game for the Elkers who are trying to lock up a playoff spot.
St. Joe’s is 2-3 against District 9 teams this year, including a 1-1 record against Ridgway’s AML-South rivals Elk County Catholic (44-12 win) and Curwensville (25-7 loss).
Elkers quarterback Ben MacDonald has passed for 936 yards and rushed for a team-best 647 yards.
Cowanesque Valley (2-7) at Otto-Eldred (3-6)
The Terrors host the Indians from District 4 in their annual season-ending matchup, a game that Otto has won for the last 10straight years. Last year, Otto won 49-6.
Sam Colebert has rushed for 1,160 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Terrors.
Northern Bedford (7-2) at Punxsutawney (3-6)
The Chucks host the Panthers from District 5 as Christian Falgout tries to reach 1,000 rushing yards. He’s at 925 yards for the year and will try to spark a Chucks team that’s been outscored 147-6 in its last three games.
Northern Bedford quarterback Brent Over has passed for 2,123 yards and 24 touchdowns. Last year, the Panthers beat the Chucks, 27-21.
Cameron County (2-7) at Eisenhower (7-2)
The Red Raiders head to Russell to take on the Knights, who have a quarterback looking to go into the 1,000-1,000 club. Senior Alex Johnson has rushed for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns while passing for 961 yards and 10 scores.
Shade (4-5) at A-C Valley (0-9)
Another Panthers-named team for District 5 comes to Foxburg to take on the winless Falcons, who try to avoid a winless season.
Keystone (1-8) at Penns Manor (8-1)
It’s the Comets from District 6 hosting the one-win Panthers. Geography lesson: Penns Manor is based in Clymer, between Marion Center and Indiana.