Football playoffs begin this weekend in District 7, and one of the teams in the WPIAL Class AAAA hunt is Shaler (7-2), coached by 1986 Clearfield Area High School graduate Jacque DeMatteo.
The Titans, who host Gateway (5-4) Friday at 7:30 p.m., are coming off a 22-9 win over Erie McDowell that gave them second place in the Northern Five Conference at 4-1. The came from behind with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Shaler\’s only conference loss was to champion North Allegheny (8-1, 5-0), which dumped North Hills into third place with a 20-14 win Friday.
Gateway, third in the WPIAL Big East Conference at 3-2, has a deceiving record. Three of its losses were to No. 2 seed and Big East champ Penn Hills 41-7, No. 3 seed and Foothills Conference champ Central Catholic 42-27 and No. 4 seed and Big East runner-up Woodland Hills 21-0. Their other loss was 38-32 to McKeesport (7-2) which finished runner-up to No. 1 seed Upper St. Clair (9-0) in the Great Southern Conference.
Shaler has won only two only playoff games in 35 years.
In District 10 Wilmington (9-0) continued its drive for an undefeated regular season and just about nailed down the top seed for the Class AA playoffs with a 19-0 shutout of host Northwestern in the mud at Albion that made Coach Terry Verrelli, a 1965 Curwensville Joint High School graduate, the fourth coach in Mercer County history to reach the 200-win milestone. His record is 200-98-3 in his 28th season.
The Greyhounds held Northwestern (3-6, 1-5) to 71 yards and four first downs and recovered five of the losers\’ 11 fumbles to reign as champion of the District 10 Region 3 Class AA League\’s first season with a 6-0 record.
Wilmington, which will host Moniteau of District 9 in its regular season finale Friday night, climbed one spot to No. 5 in the Pennsylvania Football News state ranks when Jeannette upset No. 1 Greensburg Central Catholic 7-2. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg inserted Jeannette into No. 5 and kept Wilmington No. 6.
Corry, coached by 1992 Moshannon Valley High School grad Homer DeLattre, locked up its first District 10 playoff appearance in 10 years even though the Beavers were shut out 8-0 by Region 4 Class AA League champion Fairview (8-1, 5-1).
Field conditions made it difficult for both offenses, which combined for 15 fumbles, most on the center-quarterback exchanges. Not counting fumbled snaps, Corry ran only 23 plays, DeLattre said. Neither team completed a pass, and neither averaged two yards per carry. Corry managed one first down and 15 total yards.
Corry is assured of the school\’s first winning season since 1996 at 6-3 for Friday\’s road game against Franklin, a Class AAA team. District 10 pairings will be announced the next day. At 3-3 in the league, the Beavers finished behind Fairview, Harbor Creek (5-1) and Seneca (4-2). North East also is 3-3, but Corry holds the tie-breaker edge with its win over the Grapepickers.
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For the third time this season, the D9Sports.com editors have selected District 9 Football Co-Players of the Week.
Running backs Brian Tamburlin of St. Marys and Jerico Weitzel of Ridgway, two of five Pennsylvania gridders to score five touchdowns last weekend according to Pennsylvania Football News statistics, share the Week Nine honor.
Tamburlin paced St. Marys\’ 43-7 non-league rout of Youngsville with 258 yards on 22 carries for an 11.7 average. The Flying Dutch senior also was co-player of the week in Week Eight in 2005.
Weitzel accounted for all of Ridgway\’s touchdowns in a 39-13 Allegheny Mountain League win over Otto-Eldred. The Elker junior ran 17 times for 192 yards and three TDs, caught two passes for 95 yards and one TD and returned an interception 73 yards for a TD. He was credited with 19 tackles and one forced fumble on defense. Weitzel was co-player of the week with Curwensville\’s Nick Sipes in Week Five.
Sipes was one of three other players who were considered for the honor after running 21 times for 132 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Golden Tide rolled past Sheffield 50-6. Quarterback Shane Heschke rushed for 79 yards and two TDs and passed for 98 yards and one score in Brookville\’s 24-7 victory over District 10 foe Sharpsville, while Larry Stout ran for 168 yards and two TDs as Clarion clinched a spot in the District 9 Class A Playoffs with a 26-7 triumph over Moniteau.
That trio tops the Week Nine Honor Roll of 14 players, including Clearfield\’s Isiah Morgan. The Bison sophomore running back rambled for 133 yards on 20 carries and scored twice in a 31-0 District 9 League and Mountain Athletic Conference Seven Mountains Division shutout against Punxsutawney.
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Coudersport (9-0), which will host Curwensville (8-1) Saturday night in the Allegheny Mountain League championship game, continues to be District 9\’s lone Top 10 team in the Pennsylvania Football News state rankings, moving up one notch to No. 7 in Class A this week.
Curwensville is on the PFN\’s \”Other Teams To Watch\” list as well as The Patriot-News (Harrisburg) Honorable Mention list with Coudersport.
Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference champion Karns City (9-0) and District 9 League co-champ Brookville (8-1)AA are on both lists just outside the Top 10 in Class AA, while Redbank Valley (7-2) is recognized by the PFN in Class A.
Three District 6 teams rate Top 10 recognition, State College (8-1) holding No. 10 in Class AAAA, Mountain Athletic Conference champion Huntingdon (8-1) moving into No. 10 in Class AAA and Tyrone (9-0) climbing one spot to No. 4 in Class AA in the PFN rankings. Tyrone also is ranked fourth by The Patriot-News, which has State College and Huntingdon on its Honorable Mention lists.
Other District 6 teams receiving recognition in both rankings are Bishop McCort (8-1) and Penn Cambria (8-1) in Class AA and Bellwood-Antis (7-2), Portage (7-2), Purchase Line (8-1) and Southern Huntingdon (8-1) in Class A.
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District 9 League — Clearfield 4-1**, Brookville 4-1**, Bradford** 4-1, Punxsutawney 2-3, St. Marys 1-4, DuBois 0-5.
Mountain Athletic Conference Seven Mountains Division — Huntingdon* 5-0, Clearfield 4-1, Bellefonte 3-2, Indian Valley 2-3, Punxsutawney 1-4, Lewistown 0-5.
Allegheny Mountain League South Division — Curwensville 8-1*, Johnsonburg 7-2, Ridgway 6-3, Brockway 5-4, Elk County Catholic 4-5, Kane 3-6.
Allegheny Mountain League North Division — Coudersport* 9-0, Cameron County 6-3, Otto-Eldred 3-6, Port Allegany 2-7, Sheffield 1-8, Smethport 0-9.
* — 2006 Champion. ** — 2006 Co-Champion.
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EXTRA POINTS — Clearfield brilliant passing combination of quarterback Andrew Janocko and tight end Adam Jury hold huge leads in District 9 statistics posted by D9Sports.com. Janocko has all but locked up the passing title with 116 completions in 204 attempts for 1,662 yards. He\’s thrown for nine touchdowns. Jury has been on the receiving end of 53 of those completions, good for 801 yards and three scores. Doug Kephart, a split end for the Bisons, is second in receiving with 36 catches for 682 yards, an 18.9 average, and a district-leading seven touchdowns. Bison back Morgan is seventh among the rushers with 177 carries for 929 yards and 12 touchdowns… Curwensville\’s Nick Sipes seems on his way to the rushing crown with 1,435 yards for 236 carries. He\’s scored 24 touchdowns and 183 points, both tops in the district, and certainly among the top totals in the state… Indian Valley back Nam Shartzer set two school season records in Friday\’s 46-13 win over Lewistown; he now has 1,340 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns… Among the players making the Pennsylvania Football News statistic leader lists were Gary Walstrom of Glendale with three touchbacks on kickoffs against Claysburg-Kimmel, Bobby Imbrogno of Elk County Catholic with two blocked punts against Smethport and Mike Johnson of Bradford with two fumble recoveries against East Allegheny… The playoff picture in District 9 shows Clearfield, Bradford and possibly Punxsutawney in Class AAA, Karns City, Brookville, Moniteau and Brockway in Class AA and Curwensville, Coudersport, Redbank Valley, Johnsonburg, Cameron County, Ridgway, Clarion and Keystone in Class A. The Curwensville-Coudersport winner will get the No. 1 seed, with the loser dropping to No. 3 behind Redbank Valley, the top Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference qualifier.