D-9 Game of the Week: Clarion-Limestone at Smethport

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Smethport’s Blake Kinner (5), head coach Adam Jack and Nate Hollowell (21) spoke about the pressure associated with being the preseason No. 1 team in the District 9 Small Schools North coaches poll during District 9 Football Media Day in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. The Hubbers, who made 12 appearances in the old Allegheny Mountain League championship, are more than comfortable being the team to beat in the division and look forward to having other teams get “up” to face them.

As part of our annual high school football coverage, the Times Observer has provided weekly previews for all the Warren County teams.

We’re going to expand on that a bit this year. We’ll still offer in-depth weekly preview stories for Eisenhower, Sheffield and Warren, but we’re also going to take a look around Districts 9 and 10 to highlight other important games.

The District 9 Game of the Week for Week 1 lived up to its billing and then some as preseason favorites Brookville hosted No. 3 Bradford. The Raiders came away with a thrilling 69-60 win over the Owls.

We’re not sure any game will be able to live up to that kickoff to the season, but if last week was any indication, we could be in for more fireworks in Week 2.

DISTRICT 9 GAME OF THE WEEK: CLARION-LIMESTONE (1-0) at SMETHPORT (1-0)

These two teams beat their opponents by a combined score of 94-6 in Week 1. Facing much tougher competition should give each squad a better idea of their respective strengths and weaknesses in this Small School crossover matchup.

C-L wasted little time dispatching Union/AC Valley as Austin Newcomb returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Newcomb was everywhere for the Lions. In addition to returning kicks, he ran the ball (13 times for 151 yards and a TD) and caught the ball (six receptions for 127 yards, a TD and pair of 2-point conversions). Colby Himes, making his first start at quarterback was efficient and effective for C-L. He went 10-16 for 170 yards and two touchdowns through the air and was able to gain positive yards on the ground. The Lions limited U/ACV to just 64 yards of offense.

Smethport was perhaps more impressive in its season-opening win at Sheffield. The Hubbers rattled off big play after big play. Quarterback Grant Ognen was 4-5 passing for 135 yards and three touchdowns, while Blake Kinner tallied 89 yards on just five carries (two for TDs). He also caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Ognen and blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone. The Hubbers were almost as stout defensively as C-L, as they held the Wolverines to just 75 yards of offense (just six through the air).

Both teams will come into this week sky high and full of confidence. It seems whichever squad is able to step up defensively and limit the big play will come out on top.

PREDICTION: Smethport 31, Clairion-Limestone 24

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