Week 1 football notebook: Kane makes a playoff-worthy statement

Kane’s Teddy Race is brought down by a Ridgway defender during the Wolves’ 25-21 comeback victory over the Elkers. Kane visits Bradford this week. 

 

It’s still incredibly early in the season, but after knocking off Ridgway 25-21, Kane proved that 2018 was an aberration and that the Wolves mean business.

Kane trailed Ridgway 21-10 after three quarters before rattling off a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, including a 95-yard touchdown pass from Zuke Smith to Kevin Sharba that put the Wolves up for good with 2:23 to play.

The victory made for a nice bounce-back from 2018’s 34-6 defeat against the Elkers for Kane, and was especially important when you consider Ridgway won the D9 Large School title a year ago.

It also puts the Wolves in the driver’s seat for a District playoff spot and gives them an edge in terms of seeding when the time comes.

As great as the win was, though, the Wolves will have to maintain their focus down the stretch, as big games against Brockway, Clarion and Brookville are still looming. All three of those teams will be in the playoff mix in the Class 2A bracket with Kane, and all three were playoff teams a year ago.

Other large schools keep pace

Kane wasn’t the only Large School team to pick up a big win over the weekend.

Brookville topped Brockway, who was the D9 Class 2A runner-up in 2018, 26-8, and even more impressively, Clarion blasted Moniteau 42-8.

Clarion, Brookville and Kane are all set to still meet this season, and Ridgway still has matchups with Clarion, Brockway and Brookville. With so many marquee matchups down the stretch, this year’s Large School Division is going to be a tough one to win.

The nightmare ends

And speaking of large schools that picked up wins, the St. Marys Flying Dutchmen snapped their 22-game losing streak that dated back to October 2016 with a 45-0 win over Bradford.

It was an impressive victory from start to finish, as the Dutch racked up 410 yards of offense, never trailed, and tacked on a pick-6 defensively from James Davis for good measure.

The victory was also the first under new head coach Chris Dworek, who took over the program in January after spending decades at Brookville as both a head coach and assistant, as well as some time at Clarion University.

The Dutch have a quick turn-around, though, as they take on Brockway this week.

No rest for the weary

On the other end of some of these games are a few struggling teams, though.

Bradford’s loss was the second in which it failed to score, and through two games (losses to Brookville and St. Marys), the Owls have been outscored 96-0 and outgained 813-207.

Moniteau, meanwhile, fell to Kane in Week 0, 46-19, and lost to Clarion 42-8 in Week 1.

Each of these teams made the playoffs a year ago, but face tough roads ahead if they’re to right the ship. Bradford hosts 2-0 Kane this week, while Moniteau takes on 1-1 Ridgway, which will surely be eager to get back on track.

Coudy, Redbank Valley win big crossover games

As for the small schools, Coudersport and Redbank Valley each posted dominant wins in crossover games that featured opponents that qualified for last year’s District playoffs.

Coudy’s defense held reigning Small School South Division champion Elk County Catholic at bay for a 14-0 Falcon win, while Redbank Valley cruised to a 47-12 win at Otto-Eldred.

Coudersport limited ECC to just 108 yards on 38 offensive plays, while the Falcon offense did just enough with the ground game to pick up the 14-0 win. Travis Gleason rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries, and quarterback Hayden Keck added 77 yards on 12 carries. Each scored a touchdown.

Redbank Valley, meanwhile, fell behind 6-0 to the Terrors early on before taking control of the game to race out to a 28-6 halftime lead and the eventual 47-12 win. The Bulldogs picked up big games from Kobe Bonanno and Ray Schreckengost on the ground, as Bonanno rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, and Schreckengost added 152 yards and a pair of scores on 10 carries.

Coudy and Redbank Valley each sit at 2-0 now, and will meet in Coudersport on Oct. 12.

Looking at Week 2

The upcoming slate of games this weekend will give the District a pretty clear picture of who’s who moving forward, while offering some struggling teams a chance to get on track.

In the Small School North Division, 1-0 Smethport visits 1-1 Port Allegany after having Week 1 off. The Gators are coming off of a tough 29-6 loss to Keystone. Otto-Eldred and Cameron County, each without a win, will square off, providing an opportunity for one of these teams to log a win.

The 2-0 Coudersport Falcons will play Saturday at 0-2 Sheffield.

In the South Division, 2-0 Redbank Valley and 1-1 Elk County Catholic will meet with a spot atop the Division standings on the line, as each team enters with a 1-0 record in the South. Curwensville and Union/A-C Valley will face off with each team looking for its first Division win, and Keystone goes out of District 9 to take on Cambridge Springs.

In the Big School Division, Karns City and Clarion, both sitting at 2-0, will duke it out, while the rest of the matchups feature teams among the top against team along the bottom. Kane (2-0) visits Bradford (0-2), Ridgway (1-1) is at Moniteau (0-2), St. Marys (1-1) goes to Brockway (0-2), and Brookville (2-0) goes to Punxsutawney (0-2).

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