Scholastic Football: Brookville, Coudersport Carry D9 Banners into State Quarterfinals

District 9 schoolboy football fans still interested the state playoffs will have two teams to root for in PIAA quarterfinal action Friday night, Class AA champion Brookville (11-1) against District 7 champion Jeannette (11-1) at Greensburg\’s Offut Stadium and Class A titlist Coudersport (13-0) against District 10 kingpin West Middlesex (13-0) at Clarion University\’s Memorial Stadium.
 
Brookville had to rally in the second half for a 21-3 win over Karns City (10-2) in the 9-AA championship game at Clarion last week. The Gremlins led 3-0 at intermission and had an apparent touchdown early in the third quarter nullified by a penalty for an ineligible player downfield. After the Gremlins\’ ensuing fourth-down pass failed, the Blue Raiders struck quickly with a 71-yard scoring pass from Shane Heschke to Tyler Ross and took control. Heschke and Joe Galbraith ran for insurance TDs in the final 8:35 for the Blue Raiders, who held the losers to 25 net yards rushing for 37 plays and 136 total yards. Galbraith (15-83) and Max Kutz (17-77) led Brookville\’s ground game, and Heschke completed four of nine passes for 153 yards as the Blue Raiders piled up 358 yards.
 
Kutz is No. 4 in D-9 rushing with 1,363 yards and 13 TDs, while Galbraith is seventh with 1,090 yards and 10 TDs. Heschke has completed 67 of 117 passes for 1,234 yards and 14 touchdowns and also run for 481 yards and nine TDs. Ross, a 6-4 senior, has 39 catches for 741 yards and nine TDs. Senior Eli Morres, a 6-6, 275-pound tackle, leads an experienced offensive line that averages 6-3, 255 and was a key to the Blue Raiders leading D-9 in total offense with 398.8 yards a game.

Jeannette, which repeated a 7-2 regular season win over then-No. 1 Greensburg Central Catholic with a 24-14 victory in the WPIAL title game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh last Friday, will be a very formidable opponent for Brookville. The Jayhawks, who are averaging 33.5 points, feature junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, a 6-6, 220-pound football and basketball standout, an offensive line that averages 242 pounds a player and a rugged defense. Pryor, who is high on the recruiting lists of Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan, has rushed for 1,392 yards and 23 TDs and passed for 1,426 yards and 13 TDs with 79 completions in 136 attempts.

Coudersport defeated Curwensville (10-3) for the third time this season in the D-9 title game 48-21 last Saturday at Clarion. The Falcons will bank on the running of Chris Cavallari, whose 1,746 yards are a school record, and the passing of quarterbacks Boomer Wetzel and Justen Kinder. Cavallari has carried 281 times and scored 21 TDs and also added 197 yards on 16 pass receptions. Wetzel shows 39 completions in 83 pass attempts for 620 yards and eight TDs. Kinder is 32-for-73 for 449 yards and six TDs. In the playoffs, the two juniors are a combined 33-for-54 for 502 yards and seven TDs. Logan Hathaway is the top receiver with 21 catches for 374 yards and seven TDs. The Falcons\’ defense is one of the best in the state, allowing only 7.1 points a game.

Coudersport\’s 48-42 double overtime win over Kennedy Catholic last year gave 9-A teams a four-game winning streak and a 6-2 record against D-10 champions in state playoffs, and West Middlesex was on the losing end of two of them, bowing to Clarion-Limestone 40-7 in 2002 and 33-14 in 2003.

The 2006 West Middlesex squad ranks as one of the best in that school\’s history, averaging 35.9 points a game while allowing only 7.3. The Big Reds fell behind for the first time this season last week but overcame Sharpsville\’s 13-0 lead late in the second quarter to triumph 35-13. Quarterback Kolten Hoffman keys a balanced offense with 113 completions in 184 pass attempts (61.4 percent) for 1,917 yards and 18 TDs. Four receivers have at least 200 yards and three touchdowns apiece. The running attack also is balanced with four backs gaining 585 yards or more.

District 6 has three teams in the playoff picture, State College (11-2) against Governor Mifflin for the Districts 3-6 Class AAAA championship Saturday at 1 p.m. at Altoona\’s Mansion Park, Bishop McCort (11-1) against District 10 champ Wilmington (13-0) in a Class AA state quarterfinal Friday at 7 p.m. at Slippery Rock University\’s Thompson Stadium and Bellwood-Antis (10-2) against District 3 champ Steelton-Highspire in a Class A state quarterfinal Friday at 7 p.m. at Altoona\’s Mansion Park.

Last week, State College jumped off to a 14-0 lead, fell behind 20-14 going to the fourth quarter and then scored 20 unanswered points for a 34-20 upset of Bishop McDevitt (9-4) of Harrisburg to avenge a 24-18 loss to the Crusaders on Sept. 30, third seed Bishop McCort came out on top 37-28 in a see-saw thriller against top seed Tyrone (12-1) in the District 6 title game before 4,366 fans at Altoona\’s Mansion Park and third seed Bellwood-Antis used a pair of long scoring drives in the second half for a 22-8 victory over fifth seed Juniata Valley (9-3) in the District 6 finale at Mansion Park.

Bishop McCort, which had ousted Philipsburg-Osceola in the semis, used the running of Scott Lewis and passing of Jordan DeFrances to pile up 421 yards in stunning Tyrone. Lewis carried 27 times for 181 yards and one TD, while DeFrances hit eight of 14 passes for 208 yards and three TDs, all to Chris Seidel for 47, 10 and 70 yards. Johnny Franco had 11 carries for 79 yards and one TD and returned an interception 10 yards for another TD, while Tyler Golden completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards and two TDs for the Golden Eagles.

Wilmington is coming off its seventh District 10 title game victory under coach Terry Verrelli, a 1965 Curwensville Joint High School graduate. The Greyhounds, now No. 3 in both the Pennsylvania Football News and Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings, turned back Fairview (10-2) 23-6 last week with Chris Burns pacing a 261-yard ground attack with 130 on 19 carries. Wilmington got short touchdown runs in each of the first three quarters on drives of 54, 63 and 67 yards.

Verrelli\’s 28 Greyhound teams have a combined record of 204-98-3, with two D-10 Class AA titles (2000, 2001) and five Class A crowns (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006). Wilmington won WPIAL Class A championships under Verrelli in 1987 and 1988, losing in the first PIAA Class AA championship game that year.

The season ended for Class AAA champions Bradford (8-3) of District 9 and Hollidaysburg (8-5) of District 6 in the first round of inter-district play, the Owls beaten 48-14 by District 4 titlist and No. 2-ranked Selinsgrove (13-0) and the Golden Tigers nipped 20-19 by District 8 champ Oliver (11-2).

Bradford trailed only 13-7 with just over three minutes left in the half, but the Seals put up two quick scores, one after an interception, for a 28-7 lead. The Owls, who were District 9 League tri-champs with Clearfield and Brookville, were led by a strong core of seniors who were on a winless junior high team as freshmen.

Hollidaysburg saw a 13-0 halftime lead go by the boards against Oliver, which used a pair of halfback passes for touchdowns and a big PAT stop after the Golden Tigers\’ final score with 1:19 left. The second halfback pass, a 34-yarder on fourth down, erased Hollidaysburg 13-12 lead with 4:28 remaining.

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Losing to Coudersport in the District 9 Class A title game did not cost Curwensville in the state rankings, as the Golden Tide remained on the Pennsylvania Football News \”Other Teams To Watch\” and the Harrisburg Patriot-News Honorable Mention lists.
 
District 9 now boasts a pair of Top 10 teams. Coudersport jumped up two notches to No. 4 in the Pennsylvania Football News ratings and moved up one spot to No. 7 in the Patriot-News ratings, while Brookville broke into the Pennsylvania Football News Class AA rankings at No. 8.
 
Brookville still is honorable mention in the Patriot News rankings. The only other District 9 teams receiving recognition are Bradford in Class AAA and Karns City in AA. Both are rated \”Others Teams To Watch\” by the Pennsylvania Football News and honorable mention by the Patriot-News.
 
District 6 still has a quartet of Top 10 teams in the Pennsylvania Football News rankings, State College (11-2) up one place to fourth in Class AAAA, Bishop McCort of Johnstown up from 10th to seventh and Tyrone dropping from third to 10th in Class AA and Bellwood-Antis up from 10th to seventh in Class A. The Patriot-News has State College No. 10, Bishop McCort No. 9 and Bellwood-Antis No. 9.
 
Tyrone was dropped to honorable mention by The Patriot-News, joining Hollidaysburg (8-5) in Class AAA, Forest Hills (9-3) in Class AA and Juniata Valley (9-3), Purchase Line (9-2) and Southern Huntingdon (9-2) in Class A. The Pennsylvania Football News has Hollidaysburg, Juniata Valley, Purchase Line and Southern Huntingdon on its \”Other Teams To Watch\” lists.
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