All systems gofor now
By Ryan S. Pugh
CLARION NEWS Sports Editor
At the time of this writing Wednesday morning, there have been no cancelations/postponements for this week's District 9 football slate but as we all know in this brave, new world, that can change in a flash.
Over the past few weeks, I have been keeping you abreast of the happenings in the world of big time college football but this week I am going to switch gears and talk a little pro football.
The biggest pro football surprise to me this year has been how good the Peyton/Eli Manning Monday Night Football broadcasts have been. I have never really been a fan of the Mannings and their folksy, Huckleberry Hound shtick but I am pleasantly surprised at how good both of them have been at these broadcasts. The broadcasts are funny and informative.
Over the course of time, Monday Night Football went from the league's showcase event to just another game on Monday night. The first step in the Monday Night Football fall from grace was when the NFL introduced flexible scheduling to Sunday Night Football which virtually ensured NBC would get a compelling game every week whereas, Monday Night Football is limited to whichever teams are scheduled for those Monday night games. Back in the days when there were only three broadcast networks, it didn't matter who was playing on Monday night, people were going to watch (what were they going to do, read?)
The heads of Monday Night Football have been looking for something or someone to recapture the magic of those early days of Monday Night Football of Howard Cosell and Dandy' Don Meredith without finding it (remember Dennis Miller in the Monday Night Football booth?) I think the Mannings could be that spark the Monday Night Football heads have been looking for.
Watching the Manning broadcast is like watching with your buddies but with a boatload of informative insight sprinkled in. My lone disappointment in the Manning Cast is that Peyton and Eli are only scheduled to broadcast 10 of the 17 games.
In local pro football news, it looks like the Steelers are in a must win scenario and its only Week Three.
If Pittsburgh plans on doing anything past possibly sneaking into the last AFC playoff spot, the team better figure out a way to establish a running game to take some pressure off a past-his-prime Ben Roethlisberger. This season of Steeler football is starting to look like the end of last season when teams had caught on, took away Roethlisberger's short passing targets and forced him to make bad throws or throw the ball away.
I think there are too many good teams in the AFC for the Steelers to make the playoffs.
Now on to my high school predictions. Last week, I finished 7-1 upping my record to 29-8 for the year. Without further ado
District 9 Small School South
Elk County Catholic (2-1 overall, 1-1 District 9 Small School South) at Union/A-C Valley (2-1, 0-1) at Rimersburg
Union/A-C Valley has posted two-straight shutouts downing Sheffield 77-0 three weeks ago and bludgeoning Otto-Eldred 42-0 last week.
Elk County Catholic hasn't seen the field since getting thumped by Redbank Valley 51-0 two weeks ago.
I think the Crusaders put up a fight but ultimately, the Falcon Knights' running game will be too strong.
Union/A-C Valley 37, Elk County Catholic 14
Brockway (1-3, 1-1) at Redbank Valley (3-1, 1-1)
Since their 22-20 opening week loss to Keystone, the Bulldogs have been smashing opponents by a combined score of 165-12 in three games.
Brockway, on the other hand, has lost three-straight since its opening week win over Union/A-C Valley.
In a situation like this, I will choose the team which is on the uptick.
Redbank Valley 55, Brockway 7
Bucktail (0-3, 0-1) at Keystone (3-0, 2-0)
Seeing as how this is a two-and-a-half hour one-way ride for Bucktail, I hope at least they get to stop somewhere good to eat on the way back home.
I think the combination of the Panthers' stout defense and its methodical offense makes Keystone a tough opponent for anyone down the stretch.
Keystone 45, Bucktail 6
District 9 Small School North
Coudersport (1-2 overall, 1-1District 9 Small School North) at Port Allegany (1-2, 1-1)
It's a must-win for both teams if they have any chance of making the playoffs.
I give Coudersport the edge because the Falcons' two losses came by a combined score of two points.
Coudersport 27, port Allegany 14
Otto-Eldred (1-3, 1-1) at Smethport (4-0, 2-0)
Smethport has proven to be the class of the District 9 Small School North division this year and I look for that trend to continue.
Smethport 49, Otto-Eldred 7
Sheffield (0-4, 0-2) at Cameron County (2-1, 1-1)
It's been a rough go for Sheffield and it won't get any easier as the Wolverines travel to face a spry Cameron County team.
Cameron County 50, Sheffield 0
District 9 Large School
Central Clarion (0-3 overall, 0-2 District 9 Large School) at St. Marys (3-1, 3-1)
Much like the Steelers, Central Clarion can't seem to establish a running game in the 2021 season. Injuries have played a major role in the Wildcats' struggles as Central Clarion was missing three starters on the line last week in the team's 40-14 loss to Brookville.
After a sluggish start, St. Marys has won two in a row and are looking to climb back into the upper echelon of the league standings.
St. Marys 35, Central Clarion 21
Karns City (4-0, 3-0) at Brookville (4-0, 4-0)
This is your game of the week in all of District 9. It's going to be Karns City's punishing rushing attack versus Brookville's passing attack triggered by quarterback Charlie Krug.
The game is being played on the grass track at Brookville which I say gives the edge to Gremlins' running back Luke Garing.
Karns City 28, Brookville 27
Ridgway (4-0, 4-0) at DuBois (1-3, 1-2)
DuBois got its first win last week in a 34-6 drubbing of Kane. I hope the Beavers enjoyed the win because I feel Ridgway is going to run roughshod over them.
Ridgway 44, DuBois 13
Punxsutawney (0-3, 0-3) at Kane (2-2, 2-2)
Punxsutawney played St. Marys tough last week before ultimately falling 41-21. I think this week the Chucks can keep it together for 48 minutes.
Punxsutawney 21, Kane 20
Bradford (0-4, 0-4) at Moniteau (0-3, 0-3)
Moniteau and Bradford are both coming off tough losses with the Warriors falling to Karns City by 38 points last week while the Owls got thumped by Ridgway by 36 points. And Bradford has to travel the better part of two hours to take on Moniteau this week. I give the edge to the Warriors.
Moniteau 25, Bradford 13