Braedon Johnson

Smethport’s Braedon Johnson (3) stiff arms a Coudersport tackler before breaking loose for a 40-yard touchdown. Johnson ran for 157 yards and two scores as the Hubbers topped Coudy 14-0.

COUDERSPORT — It had been nearly two full calendar years since Coudersport lost to a team from within District 9, but three days short of reaching that two-year point, the Falcons’ streak came to an end.

Behind a defensive performance for the ages and a strong night of running by Braedon Johnson, Smethport dealt Coudersport a 14-0 defeat on a cold evening in Potter County.

The Hubber victory snapped Coudy’s streak at 14 district games, which included postseasons, and gives Smethport (5-0) the North Division title and a home playoff game next week. Smethport was also the last team to defeat Coudy in D9 play, a 21-20 win on Oct. 19, 2018.

Friday’s decision also broke a three-game Hubber losing skid against the Falcons entering the night, which dated to the 2018 District 9 Class A championship.

Still, Hubber coach Adam Jack says revenge was never a topic of discussion.

“We didn’t talk about revenge at all. We like it when we get underestimated by some guys out there,” he said. “This game was about pride for these kids and this program. We took it on the chin last year twice from them, so we talked about reversing our fortunes.”

Indeed, Coudy won both 2019 matchups — the first a 42-0 drubbing in which Coudy held Smethport to 42 total yards and the second a 35-6 decision in the D9 semis.

But on Friday night, it was Smethport’s defense that dominated. The Hubbers held Coudy to a season-low 73 yards of offense, and never allowed the Falcons’ vaunted triple option to get rolling. Coudersport ran for just 54 yards on 27 carries.

“We had to play disciplined on defense, and tonight the kids came through for us in a big way,” Jack said. “The defense really stepped it up tonight, and (defensive coordinator) Jim Berlin called a tremendous game.”

Brandt Kightlinger led the Falcons in rushing with 43 yards on 10 attempts, while quarterback Hayden Keck was held to two yards on 12 runs.

“They were well prepared,” Coudy coach Tom Storey said of the Hubbers’ defense. “They’ve run the option in the past, and they came out and studied it a bit and shut that down. We need to work on it a little more, and it’s my fault. We have to get some passes working better to loosen (defenses) up.”

Smethport’s offense, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but was lifted by the defensive performance. The Hubbers turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions to start the game, but forced Coudersport punts on each ensuing drive.

“We told the kids we would face adversity tonight that we hadn’t seen yet this year,” Jack said. “We know Coudersport has a really good team. We made those errors early on, but we told the kids to keep fighting. I think getting those stops really buoyed the kids, and it kept their spirits up.”

Those stops were eventually rewarded by Smethport’s offense, as Braedon Johnson bolted 40 yards for a score midway through the second quarter to put the Hubs up 6-0.

Then, on Coudy’s ensuing possession, Keck was flushed out of the pocket deep in Falcon territory and then threw the ball away from his own end zone. He was flagged for a safety on the play, pushing Smethport’s lead to 8-0.

That pressure was something the Hubbers kept on Keck throughout the night, as he was frequently on the run. The signal caller was sacked twice on the evening, as well.

“The kids maintained that discipline and did their jobs each play,” Jack said. “A couple times he got outside of a couple guys, but the kids really came through for us.”

Out of halftime, the Hubbers forced a punt and then took over at their own nine yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Noah Lent rushed for 11 yards before exiting the game with an upper-body injury. He finished with 83 yards rushing, and his status moving forward is unknown.

In his place, tailback Braedon Johnson moved to quarterback, though the Hubbers featured him as more of a wildcat player than a true passer. He threw one pass on the night — an 11-yard completion to Ryli Burritt — but more importantly, ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

His second score came with 8:16 to go in the game on a 14-yard run to extend the Hubs’ lead to 14-0.

“Braedon stepped up in a big way for us, and I couldn’t be prouder of him or the offensive line,” Jack said. “When (Coudersport) knew we were going to run the ball and were loading the box up, those guys up front stepped up and still created the holes for us to get that last touchdown to put the game away.”

Now, each team moves on to the District 9 Class A postseason.

The Falcons will look to get back on track with a road game at Redbank Valley, the team it defeated 42-13 in the D9 championship a season ago.

Storey, who felt his team’s defense performed well, is hoping the loss serves as a wake-up call for his team.

“Sometimes you have to have a game like this to light that fire. Two years ago that’s what happened, so we’re looking forward to it,” he said. “We’ll retool, come back focused and hit the playoffs like we can.”

Smethport will host Union/A-C Valley next week. Both games are going to be held either Friday or Saturday.

“We don’t know too much about Union/A-C right now,” Jack said. “But we do know they’re sound defensively and have some skilled kids. We’ve been just taking it one game at a time, so we’re going to enjoy this tonight and worry about Union/A-C on Sunday.”

AT COUDERSPORT

BY QUARTERS

Smethport 0 8 0 6—14

Coudersport 0 0 0 0—0

TEAM STATISTICS

First Downs: S: 13, C: 8; Rushes/Yards Rushing: S: 41-251, C: 27-54; Yards Passing: S: 8, C: 19; Comp-Att-Int: S: 1-6-1, C: 6-22-0; Penalties: S: 3-40, C: 8-80; Fumbles-Lost: S: 3-3, C: 2-1; Total Yards: S: 259, C: 73; Offensive Plays: S: 47, C: 49

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing: S: Noah Lent 0-5-(-3)-0-1, Braedon Johnson 1-1-11-0-0; C: Hayden Keck 6-22-19-0-0

Rushing: S: Noah Lent 11-83, Braedon Johnson 24-157-2, Lucas Fowler 2-1, Logan Christie 2-6, Ryan Mason 2-4; C: Brandt Kightlinger 10-43, Gavyn Ayers 4-13, Hayden Keck 12-2, Josh Ross 1-(-4)

Receiving: S: Ryli Burritt 1-11; C: Brandt Kightlinger 2-6, Gavyn Ayers 1-25, Dalton Keglovits 2-16, Xander Brown 1-5

Scoring summary

First quarter

No scoring.

Second quarter

S: Braedon Johnson, 40-yard run (2-pt pass failed), 8:57

S: Safety, 7:34

Third quarter

No scoring.

Fourth quarter

S: Johnson, 14-yard run (2-pt run failed), 8:16

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