CURWENSVILLE – The District 9 Class A football playoffs start Friday night and the Curwensville Golden Tide will travel to battle the Clarion Bobcats at Clarion University with kick-off set for 7 pm.
The Tide enter the contest with a 7-3 record and the sixth seed in the tournament.
Clarion, out of the KSAC, are the three seed with an overall mark of 6-4 on the 2015 campaign.
Although Clarion has a lesser record than Curwensville, the number two squad from the KSAC league is guaranteed the third overall seed in the playoffs in the almost always bewildering seeding process by the District 9 football committee.
The Bobcats own wins over AC Valley, Sheffield, Clarion-Limestone, Keystone, St. Marys and Brookville, a team they defeated last Friday 58-0.
Losses for Clarion have been to Karns City, Moniteau, Union and the top seeded Redbank Valley Bulldogs, a team that the Golden Tide defeated earlier this season 44-30 in week six. See bewilderment above !!
Besides the win over Redbank Valley, Curwensville has also owns victories over Port Allegany, Otto-Eldred, Coudersport, Cameron County, Ridgway and Blairsville.
The Bobcats have averaged 27.6 points per game on offense and have allowed an average of 15.4 points per game by its defensive unit.
Brendan Miller is the senior quarterback for Clarion and has completed just 29 off 100 pass attempts for 352 yards and six touchdown tosses. Miller has been picked off five times this year.
However, Miller is somewhat of a dual threat as he has 222 rushing yards and three TD’s in a running game that can be best described as a “running game by committee.”
The leading ball carrier for Clarion is sophomore Colton Rapp with 577 yards and seven scores.
Following Rapp is Josh Kriebel, a junior, with 416 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Michael McCloskey is next with 230 rushing yards and three trips to the end zone.
Caleb Bailey, a senior, has 187 yards rushing with one TD and Spencer Miller, a sophomore, has 150 yards in the Bobcat running game with two scores.
Kriebel is also Clarion’s leading receiver with 10 receptions, 128 yards and three touchdowns.
The high powered Curwensville offense has racked up an average of 34.9 points per contest while the defense has surrendered 20.9 points per game.
It all starts with senior quarterback Jake Terry who has put up some impressive passing numbers for the Tide, considering they have in recent years been a run dominated offensive squad.
Terry has connected on 83 of 152 pass attempts for 1,369 yards and 16 touchdown tosses with eight interceptions.
Another senior, Quamone Newkirk, is without question the favorite target for Terry as the speedy wide receiver has hauled in 38 receptions and 12 scoring strikes. Newkirk has averaged 19.5 yards per catch while gaining 740 yards in the passing game.
Two juniors have also been good targets for Terry. Zach Marshall and Eli Jacobs both have stepped up as valuable receivers as well.
Marshall has 16 receptions for 267 yards and two TD’s while Jacobs has seven snags for 225 yards and one score while averaging 32.1 yards per catch.
Then, of course, comes one of the best, if not the best, running attacks in the area behind sophomore Nick Stewart and Hunter Johnson, a senior.
Stewart has exactly 1,500 yards on the ground with a 7.7 yards per carry average while scoring 21 times.
One TD pass reception and a kickoff return has Stewart with a total of 23 end zone appearances in 2015.
A very capable back in his own right, Johnson has amassed 748 yards and a 6.6 yard per carry average with six touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball Jacobs leads with a total of 79 tackles but has plenty of help in seniors Ben Junod, with 66 and Shea Bloom with 60. Sophomore Stephen McClure is close behind at 58.
Another senior, Hunter Lancaster, is the high sack man for the Golden Tide with four on the season while Marshall with five and Terry with three pace the Curwensville defense in interceptions.
Recent history shows that Curwensville defeated the Bobcats in the 2000 District 9 Class A title game at Dubois, 23-0. At the time Clarion was ranked as the number one Class A team in the state.
Curwensville, in 2004, won another D-9 A championship, and along the way beat the Bobcats 42-0 in the semifinals.
Clarion got a measure of revenge last year, knocking off the Tide in the first round of the playoffs, 34-13.
Listen to the Curwensville-Clarion playoff game on WOKW-FM, 102.9, with the pre-game show beginning at 6:45 pm. Kick-off is slated for 7 pm.
The other six teams in the District 9 Class A playoff action also battle on Friday night with the following schedule:
#8 Coudersport (5-4) at #1 Redbank Valley (7-2)
#5 Elk County Catholic (7-2) at #4 Brockway (8-2)
#7 Port Allegany (6-4) at # 2 Kane (9-0)
ALL GAMES ARE SCHEDULED FOR A 7 PM KICK-OFF.