For once, I was right
By Ryan S. Pugh
CLARION NEWS Sports Editor
I told you Iowa was a fraud football team which wouldn't be in the national championship chase much longer and I was proven right when Purdue (or more like Pur-don't for the Hawkeye faithful came into Iowa City and hung a 24-7 beat down on the Hawkeyes (sorry for gloating, but I am proven right so rarely, I want the world to know when I am).
This is a quiet week in college football which is just the calm before the storm of next week when the Big Ten East takes center stage as undefeated Michigan travels to face unbeaten Michigan State and one-loss Penn State goes on the road to face one-loss Ohio State (or is it The Ohio State? I can never remember the rules). Anyway, more on that next week.
This week, we have the high school season coming into the final turn. The biggest game on the schedule is the Redbank Valley-Union/A-C Valley showdown to be played in Rimersburg Friday night (Oct. 22). The Falcon Knights can claim the District 9 Small School South title with a win. Redbank Valley could also claim the title but the Bulldogs have a win over Union/A-C Valley coupled with a Keystone loss to Elk Country Catholic to claim the league crown. Any way you slice it, it should be exciting.
Speaking of exciting, I finally had my first perfect week of picks last week as I went 11-0 with my prognostications. The el perfecto raises my record to 65-13 for the year. My success rate is 83.3-percent, which is, to quote Larry David, "Pretty, pretty, pretty good." Now that I'm done blowing my own horn, let's get to the picks for this week.
District 9 Small School South
Redbank Valley (7-1 overall, 3-1 District 9 Small School South) at Union/A-C Valley (6-1, 2-1) at Union High School
As mentioned earlier, this is the game for all the marbles in the District 9 Small School South.
Over the past two years, these two teams have had epic battles with Union/A-C Valley taking down Redbank Valley in the regular season in 2019 but the Bulldogs returned the favor in the District 9 Class A playoffs. Last year, Redbank Valley upended the Falcons Knights by three.
The Bulldogs have gotten their running game going which was proven last week when Redbank Valley rushed for 235 yards in a 52-6 win over Coudersport. Ray Shreckengost did the majority of the heavy lifting for the Bulldogs running game as he had 13 carries for 137 yards and a TD. Redbank Valley coupling a bruising rushing attack with its already potent skill position players on the outside should put a scare into any Redbank Valley opponent from here on out.
Union/A-C Valley has put itself into position to win a league title behind a stifling defense which has pitched three shutouts in the Falcon Knights' seven games.
The one issue I have concern with when it comes to Union/A-C Valley is their habit of slow starts. The past three weeks, it seems the Falcon Knights have struggled out of the gate.
A slow start would not be optimal for the Falcon Knights against the Bulldogs potent offense and stifling defense.
Redbank Valley 27, Union/A-C Valley 21
Elk County Catholic (3-4, 1-3) at Keystone (5-2, 3-1)
As mentioned earlier, the Panthers can still claim a the District 9 Small School title if they beat the Crusaders and Redbank Valley upends Union/A-C Valley.
The Panthers were missing key components in their 26-6 loss to Smethport. If Keystone is fully healthy, I can't see their stout defense being tested by Elk County Catholic.
Keystone 41, Elk County Catholic 6
Brockway (3-5, 2-2) at Bucktail (0-7, 0-3)
Bucktail could get its first win of 2021 Friday. The Bucks won't, but they could.
Brockway 38, Bucktail 12
District 9 Small School North
Smethport (7-1 overall, 4-0 District 9 Small School North) at Coudersport (3-4, 2-2)
Smethport claimed the league title two weeks ago but that doesn't mean the Hubbers will ease up.
Smethport 36, Coudersport 14
Cameron County (4-3, 2-2) at Port Allegany (3-4, 2-1)
Cameron County needs a little positive momentum after back-to-back setbacks to Smethport and Union/A-C Valley. I think the Red Raiders get back on the winning track but it won't be easy against a feisty Port Allegany team.
Cameron County 24, Port Allegany 21
Otto-Eldred (2-6, 1-3) at Sheffield (0-7, 0-3)
For both of these squads, the thoughts of next year should be dancing through their respective heads.
Otto-Eldred 3, Sheffield 2
District 9 Large School
DuBois (5-3 overall, 5-2 District 9 Large School) at Central Clarion (3-4, 3-3)
Both DuBois and Central Clarion had starts that both the Beavers and Wildcats want to forget. DuBois lost its first three games in a row while Central Clarion lost its first four.
Central Clarion's offense has become more balanced through its three-game winning streak with Breckin Rex powering the Wildcats' rushing attack.
And Central Clarion quarterback Jase Ferguson might be a freshman but he isn't looking like a freshman these days.
I think the Wildcats are going to have a challenge with DuBois but I think it is a challenge Central Clarion can win.
Central Clarion 28, DuBois 27
Kane (3-5, 3-5) at St. Marys (7-1, 7-1)
St. Marys can clinch the league title with a win over the Wolves. Well, Flying Dutchmen, get the Yoo-hoo on ice because your time to celebrate is coming soon.
St. Marys 37, Kane 20
Bradford (0-8, 0-8) at Karns City (7-1, 6-1)
Karns City can still claim a league title as the Gremlins need to take care of business with Bradford and have Kane upset St. Marys. I'm confident enough to say, Karns City will have its part done early Friday night.
Karns City 48, Bradford 0
Ridgway (5-3, 5-3) at Brookville (6-2, 6-2)
This should be a good playoff primer for both teams. Since Ridgway had trouble with the Central Clarion passing game a couple weeks ago, I have to give the edge to the Raiders this week.
Brookville 41, Ridgway 21
Moniteau (1-6, 1-6) at Punxsutawney (1-6, 1-6)
I think Moniteau goes on the road and gets a nice win to close the season on.
Moniteau 28, Punxsutawney 20