It was business as usual in the Intermediate Unit 9 bubble, with the area’s top teams imposing their will on struggling opponents in Week 1.
In the Large School Division, St. Marys and Ridgway each picked up their second wins of the season, as the Flying Dutchmen topped Kane 23-7 and Ridgway handled Bradford 45-14.
Meanwhile, in the Small School Division, Coudersport throttled Cameron County 45-0 and Smethport cruised by Elk County Catholic 39-6.
The only local game that ended up being close was Otto-Eldred’s thrilling 40-30 win at Port Allegany on Saturday — a matchup that really could have gone either way.
With those results, though, the gap between the top and bottom teams only grew. The IU9 Large School race is currently between the aforementioned Flying Dutchmen and Elkers, as each enters this week at 2-0. By the way, they’re clashing Friday night for Large School supremacy.
The Small School competition is also in its usual form, as perennial powers Coudersport and Smethport are the only undefeated teams left in that division, and are currently set on a collision course for an Oct. 16 bout.
Between them, though, are a couple more games. Smethport hosts 0-2 Port Allegany this week and then faces Cameron County on Oct. 9, while Coudy has a home game with Elk Catholic Friday night and then visits Otto-Eldred next weekend.
Year of the quarterback?
If one thing has stood out through the first two weeks of our local football season, it’s been the elevated play of quarterbacks, especially the dual-threat signal-callers in the Small School Division.
In particular, Coudersport’s Hayden Keck, Smethport’s Noah Lent and Otto-Eldred’s Cole Sebastian have each turned in at least one dynamite performance so far.
Through two games, Keck has done most of his damage on the ground, which comes as no surprise in Coudy’s option offense. The senior QB has amassed 262 yards and six touchdowns on just 14 carries, and has added 148 passing yards and a pair of scores.
His most impressive performance so far was in the Falcons’ opener, a 60-6 demolition of Port Allegany. Keck ran for 178 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries, and also went 4-for-6 in the air for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
Lent, meanwhile, began his year with a five-score performance against Otto-Eldred as the Hubbers romped to a 60-6 win. Lent threw for two touchdowns and 158 yards and added 108 rushing yards and three scores.
Then, a week later against Elk County Catholic, he threw for 76 yards and two touchdowns, and also put up a gaudy 161 yards and three scores on the ground.
And then there’s Sebastian, who had a tough opener against the Hubs (14-for-31, 101 yards, 1 TD) but absolutely exploded at Port Allegany last Saturday.
Sebastian took the game over, accounting for six touchdowns through four methods: passing, rushing, receiving and an interception return. He threw for 257 and three touchdowns, ran for 80 yards and a score, hauled in a 69-yard touchdown reception on a “Terror special” and also posted an 80-yard pick-six.
Speaking of quarterbacks, don’t forget about St. Marys’ Christian Coudriet in the Large School Division. He opened the year by passing for 302 yards and five scores against Bradford, and then in the Dutch’s 23-7 win over Kane on Friday he threw for 207 yards and three more scores.
This week features a clash of Large School heavyweights, as Ridgway and St. Marys will put their unblemished records on the line Friday night at Dutch Country Stadium.
The Elkers easily took last year’s matchup, 42-6, but are heavily reloading from that squad. The Flying Dutchmen, meanwhile, bring back just about every key player from a year ago.
This game will heavily factor into who sits atop the IU9 Large School standings to conclude the season, but the winner won’t be totally out of the woods, as the Elkers and Dutch meet again in Ridgway on Oct. 16.
Other local matchups this week include: Bradford (0-2) at Kane (0-2); Cameron County (0-2) at Otto-Eldred (1-1); Port Allegany (0-2) at Smethport (2-0); Elk County Catholic (1-1) at Coudersport (2-0).