It was certainly an exciting Week 6 of local high school football action, with teams asserting their dominance over divisional foes.
Perhaps no performance was as resounding as Ridgway’s this week, though.
The Elkers not only topped Clarion to regain first place in the District’s Large School Division, they never even trailed the Bobcats en route to a 42-0 demolition of a previously undefeated team that had been outscoring opponents 279-82 entering the contest.
With the win, and with Kane’s 22-9 loss to Karns City, Ridgway now controls its own destiny in the Large School Division.
The Elkers are presently in a three-way tie for No. 1 with Brookville and Clarion, but Ridgway, which now owns a head-to-head tiebreaker with Clarion, faces Brookville on Oct. 18 for a chance to break the other piece of that deadlock.
In terms of power points, the Elkers still technically trail Clarion by 60 points (830-770) in the Class 2A standings. But the Bobcats face 1-6 Bradford this week and then 1-6 Brockway next week, while the Elkers get shots at 6-1 Brookville and 5-2 Karns City.
Wins in those would likely vault Ridgway into the one-seed when District 9 playoffs begin.
Bradford enjoys a happy homecoming
In other Large School Division excitement, the Owls put on an impressive second-half performance to earn a 59-34 win over Punxsutawney on Friday at Parkway Field for homecoming.
It was a night where the mistakes that had killed the Owls all season were done away with, as the turnover-prone Bradford offense committed none, while the Owl defense forced five (two fumbles recovered, three interceptions).
And while the Owls were still penalized a bit (nine flags for 100 yards), the offense managed to move the ball more efficiently than in any other game this season, to the tune of 420 yards on 58 plays.
The Owls won’t get to rest on their laurels for too long, though, as 6-1 Clarion is next. Still, it was a strong performance for a team that was due for some momentum.
Coudersport, Redbank Valley set for showdown
With wins over Otto-Eldred and Curwensville, respectively, Coudersport and Redbank Valley kept themselves atop their Small School Divisions — Coudy in the North and RV in the South.
Coudersport fell behind O-E 6-0 quickly before rolling to an easy 73-12 victory in Duke Center, while Redbank Valley’s defense showed out again in a 39-0 win over the Golden Tide — the Bulldogs’ second consecutive shutout.
Redbank Valley stands at 7-0, while the Falcons are 6-0 to date, but one of those unblemished records has to fall this week, as the two meet in Coudersport on Saturday night.
In all likelihood, the result of that game will determine who wins the Class 1A top seed come time for the postseason, though 5-1 Smethport is still in the hunt with a game against Coudy still remaining.
A look elsewhere around the District
Other prominent D9 games are in abundance this week in both the Large and Small School classes.
In the Large School Division, Ridgway visits 5-2 Karns City, who just knocked off Kane and is surging. A win would allow the Elkers to continue controlling their own destiny in terms of playoff seeding, while a loss would likely knock them out of the top spot for good.
Kane will look to end its two-game skid against a potent 6-1 Brookville squad that’s averaging roughly 33 points scored per game. The winner of that game will likely take third or fourth seed in Class 2A, while the loser will fall to the fifth or sixth seed, and as a result, be tasked with a road game to begin the District 9 postseason.
In the Small School Division, the marquee game is Coudersport-Redbank Valley, but also keep an eye on Smethport at 6-1 Keystone. A win in that game would give the Hubbers a win over a Class 2A school, and plenty of power points that would secure a first-round home game for Smethport in the playoffs.
(Joel Whetzel, a Bradford Era sports reporter, can be reached at email@example.com.)