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

KNOX - Due to illness, the Keystone boys' basketball team was unable to play or hold practice for a little more than two weeks but if the Panthers suffered any rust from the prolonged shutdown, it didn't show.

CLARION - There would have been no shame for the Clarion Area girls' basketball team to come up short in their KSAC crossover against visiting Moniteau Friday night (Jan. 14) seeing as how the Bobcats had two consecutive games postponed and Clarion was taking on the Warriors under the direct…

COUDERSPORT - The Clarion and Redbank Valley wrestling teams traveled to the county seat of Potter County last Saturday (Jan. 8) for the Coudersport Duals. Each team wrestled five matches; the Bobcats posting a 2-3 record and the Bulldogs going 3-2.

FRILLS CORNERS - It's been a number of years since the Union High School girls' basketball team was a force in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference and District 9 but on Thursday night (Jan. 6), the Golden Damsels announced their return.

CLARION TWP. - Rebuilding the Clarion-Limestone girls' basketball team has been a long and arduous process for Lions' head coach Gus Simpson but if C-L's game Dec. 22 is any indication, the Lions' rebuild is nearing completion.

FRILLS CORNERS - In a year where the KSAC Small School landscape is in a state of flux, the North Clarion boys' team made a statement they might be the team to beat when it is all said and done.

CLARION - What the 2021-22 Clarion boys' basketball team lacks in experience they make up for in heart as was evidenced Friday night (Dec. 17).

CLARION - The 2021-2022 Clarion wrestling team is young and lacking any veteran grappler with a postseason pedigree. Despite this, head coach Lee Weber enters this year's campaign optimistic; he has almost a full squad, which should make the Bobcats more competitive in duals than the squad t…

The Golden Damsels struggled from the field down the stretch of a 46-39 setback to Elk County Catholic

Redbank Valley's bid for a PIAA Class A title falls shy with a 21-14 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the championship final

Today (Dec. 9), the Redbank Valley football team will be attempting to do something no District 9 football team has ever done; win a state title.

WHEELING, W.Va. The Golden Eagle volleyball team's historic 2021 season came to a close on Thursday night (Dec. 2), as fifth-seeded Clarion fell to fourth-seeded Edinboro 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 20-25, 18-25) in the opening round of the NCAA Atlantic Regional. Clarion (22-10) took the first set a…

PITTSBURGH - Maybe the perfect quote to sum up the Redbank Valley football team's 2021 season would be, "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."

CLARION - It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium Friday night (Nov. 26) as the snow was falling at a healthy clip and even though there was no tree or tinsel, the Redbank Valley football team got what they were wishing for.

EAST STROUDSBURG The Golden Eagle volleyball team claimed the third Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship in program history on Saturday afternoon, defeating top-seeded Gannon 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-17) at East Stroudsburg's Koehler Fieldhouse. It is the Golden Eagles' fi…

MECHANICHSBURG - To win a state title is special in itself but to win two in a row puts a team in rarified air.

CLARION - Redbank Valley's bid for a second-straight District 9 Class A title was at a crossroads late in the Bulldogs' title tilt with Union/A-C Valley as Redbank Valley was tied at 21-21 with the Falcon Knights and faced a fourth-and-11 at the Union/A-C Valley 21 but the Bulldogs' Tate Min…

SLIPPERY ROCK - For about a half an hour Tuesday night (Nov. 16), the Clarion Area High School volleyball team looked like they were in serious trouble as WPIAL champ Bishop Canevin went on a 9-3 run to take a 20-14 lead in Game One of the PIAA Class A semifinals but in the end, the Bobcats …

SLIPPERY ROCK - You'll have to excuse the Clarion Area High School volleyball team if they weren't awed by the PIAA quarterfinal stage on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 13) at Slippery Rock Area High School but the Bobcats have been here before.

RIMERSBURG - For three-straight years, the Union/A-C Valley football team was close to breaking into the playoff win column but the Falcon Knights always seemed to fall short.

KNOX - Familiarity plays a significant role when it comes to a team's comfort on a playoff stage which is what likely aided the Keystone High School volleyball team in their District 9 Class 2A semifinal against Karns City.

CLARION - Clarion is headed back to the District 9 Class A championship game and the PIAA playoffs after a convincing 3-0 sweep of rival Clarion-Limestone Tuesday night, Nov. 2, at Clarion High School.