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Written by: Phil Myers on Thursday, November 24th, 2022
Reynolds Raiders 11-1 vs. Port Allegheny Gators 11-1 @ Bradford on Friday Nov. 25 at 7 P.M.
The Reynolds Raiders invade Bradford to take on the Port Allegany Gators this Friday. The Raiders are the D-10 champs by virtue of their comeback victory over Eisenhower 28-14. Reynolds has won 9 games in a row since losing to Sharpsville on September 9th. Port Allegany became the D-9 champs when they defeated Brockway 21-14 last week by scoring a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns for their own come from behind win. The Gators have reeled off 10 straight wins since their September 2nd loss to Central Clarion. The winner of this game will meet the winner of the Bishop Canevin and Union Area District 7 championship game.
Reynolds – Overall, the Raiders average 46.3 points a game, which is 8th best in Pennsylvania. Jalen Wagner, the Reynolds running back, has rushed for 2,708 yards and 37 touchdowns. He averages 11 yards a carry. But the Raiders can do more than just run. QB Brayden McCloskey has thrown for 1,465 yards and 14 TDs. McCloskey runs too as he’s garnered 338 yards and 8 touchdowns. Leading receiver, Haydin McLaughlin, has 21 catches for 826 yards and 10 TDs. That is 39 yards per catch. WR Tino Gentile has 20 catches for 342 yards. Kolton Wilkinson is one of the leaders of the Raider defense. The Raider ‘D’ only allows an average of 11.3 points per game.
Port Allegheny – Although they only average 30 points a contest, Port has some tough Gators on offense. Noah Archer scored twice in the 4th quarter last week to defeat Brockway 21-14. He has 809 yards rushing with 11 TDs and 46 grabs for 602 yards receiving with 6 more scores. Archer has 1,738 all-purpose yards. Blaine Moses has run around the field for 988 yards and 18 touchdowns. QB Drew Evens has 1,189 yards passing and 9 TDs plus he has 469 yards rushing and 5 TDs. WR Peyton Stiles has 34 receptions for 352 yards. Moses has 121 tackles for the Gator defense. Nick Wilfong and Evens both have 5 interceptions for the Gator defense that only permits 9.2 points a game.
Keys to Victory – Whoever wins the battle in the trenches should be in good position to win. If neither team wins that battle, then turnovers may be the deciding factor. If turnovers are minimal, then in a game like this field position is very important as it may be hard for both teams to sustain long drives. Short fields will enhance the likelihood of a score. They say defense wins games and it may hold to be true in this contest. Neither defense can allow themselves to be on the field for lengthy periods or they will eventually get worn out. Port has to slow down Wagner and not give up big pass plays. Reynolds needs to not only find a way to control Archer first and foremost, but also Moses and Evens. In a game like this, it may come down to a special team play, a blocked punt or a kick return. Either way, this should be an interesting game.
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