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District Nine Class 1A Playoff Preview (2 Games)

Tagged under: District 9, News, Playoffs

| November 10, 2022


Class 1A District 9 Semi-Final: Brockway Rovers (7-4) vs. Redbank Valley Bulldogs (9-1) @ DuBois on Saturday Nov. 12 at 1 P.M.

Redbank is the #2 seed and had a bye last week.  Brockway is seeded 3rd and defeated Coudersport in the opening round last Friday.  Redbank weathered a Brockway comeback during the season and won 34-28.  Last year Brockway was 4-6 and chose not to get into the playoffs.  Redbank, meanwhile, made it to the state championship where they lost a heartbreaker to Bishop Guilfoyle 21-14.

Brockway’s sophomore QB, Brayden Fox, has pitched the pigskin for 2,448 yards and 31 touchdowns.  His main target throughout the year has been Alex Carlson.  Mr. Carlson has caught 85 passes for 1,010 yards and 11 touchdowns.  WR Dylan Hanna has chimed in with 27 grabs for 603 yards and 9 TDs.  Brockway turned things around about mid-season when they began running Jendy Cuello more to ease the pressure opponents were getting on their passing game.  He’s rushed for 1,120 markers and scored 10 times.  The Rover defense has forced 20 turnovers. Carlson has intercepted 6 passes and Tanner Guaglianone leads in tackles.  Brockway’s other three losses were to Port Allegany, Union/AC Valley, and DuBois.  The losses to Union and DuBois were by a combined total of 7 points.

All freshman Braylon Wagner has done since taking over as QB the last 3 games is throw for 693 yards and 8 TDs.  (RBV’s first team quarterback and one of their wide receivers have been suspended from the team.)  One of RBV’s strengths is their receiving corps.  Aiden Ortz and Tate Minch have caught 96 passes between them.  Ortz has 50 grabs for 783 yards and 11 TDs, while Minich has 46 catches for 683 yards and 10 scores.  Ortz has over 1,000 all-purpose yards.  RB Drew Byers keeps opponents off balance with his 699 yards rushing and 5 TDs.  The Bulldog ‘D’ has forced 22 turnovers.  Ortz has 5 interceptions and Caden Adams has taken down 106 ball carriers.  Redbank’s only loss this year was to Port Allegany 8-7.  Their signature win was beating Central Clarion in the last game of the season giving the Wildcats their only loss.

For Brockway to defeat Redbank they have to keep the Bulldogs offense off the field as much as possible.  Thus, they have to use the ground game and short, safe passes to eat up the clock and move the ball efficiently and steadily down the field.  The most important thing on defense is for the Rovers to find a way (disguised blitzes, etc.) to put pressure on Redbank’s young quarterback.  Otherwise, it will be a long afternoon for the Rovers.  The keys for Redbank Valley to win are offensively, to protect the quarterback and mix in the run to make their dangerous passing attack more effective, and defensively to stop the run and also find ways to pressure Mr. Fox so he has to hurry throws or scramble as he doesn’t usually run the ball very much.

Class 1A District 9 Semi-Final: Keystone Panthers (7-4) vs. Port Allegany Gators (9-1) @ Bradford on Saturday Nov. 12 at 1 P.M.

Port Allegany is the #1 seed because they defeated Redbank Valley during the season.  The Gators also had a first-round bye.  Keystone is the #4 seed.  The Panthers whipped Union/AC Valley last week 35-15.  Port beat Keystone 14-12 last year in the first round of the playoffs, then built a 14-0 lead against Redbank the next week before losing 35-14 in the semis.  Keystone had Port on the ropes earlier this year leading 10-8 deep into the 4th quarter, but the Gators scored twice in the last five minutes to win 20-10.

Drew Keth took over the quarterback duties part way through the season for Keystone and has done a good job, throwing for 681 yards and 9 touchdowns.  In just 9 games running back Kyle Nellis has accumulated 1,153 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.  Tyler Albright has contributed 705 yards and 5 TDs via the running game.  But Albright’s main contribution is being the leading receiver with 29 catches for 573 yards and 9 scores.  Aidan Sell has 93 tackles to lead the Panther defense.  Keystone has intercepted an astonishing 20 opponent passes with Albright having the most at 7 and Keth is second with 5.  Keystone’s other losses were to Brockway by one point, Ridgway, and Redbank.

Port Allegany’s strength is their defense.  They have only given up 91 points all year.  Only once did they give up more than 14 points and that was their 29-24 loss to Central Clarion.  The Gators held Redbank’s potent offense to just 7 points in their 8-7 win.  Blaine Moses heads up that defense with his 101 tackles.  Drew Evens has stepped in front of 4 opposition passes to lead in the interception department.  Evens heads up the triple threat offense that includes Moses and Noah Archer.  Evens has thrown for 928 yards and 8 scores, while running for 442 yards and 5 TDs.  Moses has 840 yards on the ground, scoring 17 times.  Archer has 558 yards carrying the rock with 7 goal line crossings.  Archer is also the top receiver with 41 grabs for 544 yards and 5 TDs.

Keystone’s path to victory involves sustaining drives, winning the turnover battle, and playing lights out on defense.  They did that the first time these two played until the last 5 minutes.  This time they need to do it for the full 48 minutes.  In order for Port Allegany to advance they must control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, get a lead and put the Panthers into obvious passing situations.  Their defense also cannot let Nellis and Albright get into open space when Keystone has the ball.

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