Unbeaten Ridgway will look for win number five tonight at E.J. Mansell Stadium in DuBois where they face the 1-3 Beavers (7 p.m.).
Last Friday, the Elkers took care of business in Bradford (0-4) with a 56-19 win, and DuBois earned a 34-6 home win over the Kane Wolves (2-2). This is the first meeting between the two as District 9 Large Division foes – the Beavers replace Brockway, who now plays in the Small Division South.
Ridgway head coach Mark Heindl's squad opened with a 24-7 win at St. Marys (3-1), won the home-opener over Kane 42-6, and defeated Moniteau (0-3) 42-14 on Sept. 10 in Johnsonburg, leading up to the Bradford game. The last three wins all finished with the mercy rule, running clock.
The Beavers didn't fare well in their traditional opener with Clearfield (4-0) losing 27-7, but despite losing, they played unbeaten 4-0 Brookville and the one-loss Dutch tough. The Raiders beat them 21-7 and the Dutch 14-7.
"They are big, and they are physical," Heindl said of tonight's opponent. "Don't let the record of 1-3 deceive you because they could very easily be 3-1. Obviously, Clearfield is Clearfield, but they were tough in weeks two and three, and it was really just a matter of Brookville and St. Marys capitalizing on mistakes. But last week, DuBois put the shoe on the other foot and capitalized on Kane turnovers. So, they are a dangerous football team."
The Beavers took advantage of four interceptions in the win over the Wolves.
Heindl feels tonight will be a good indication of where his team sits at the halfway point.
"We feel great about going down there, and obviously bringing DuBois into the league means that we'll be playing up again in the Large Division, but we're looking forward to the challenge. We really feel this is going to give us a good inkling of where we stand midway through the season."
Over the past three games, the second and third teamers have all seen action. Heindl discussed the impact it has had on his team.
"It's been beneficial not only getting the younger guys in, but it also buys some time for our guys that don't come off the field – it gives them a breather. And, just to let their bodies heal and mend a little bit is very pivotal for these guys this time of the year. So, it's been a big plus."
Playing in DuBois
E.J. Mansell Stadium will bring fond District 9 championship memories for the Elkers - winning the 2017 Class A title and 2019 AA title. They won a semifinal game there on their way to the 2016 Class A championship and beat Moniteau in the 2A semifinals in 2018 when they won the district title by beating Brockway. They also beat Karns City on the artificial surface in the 2019 semifinals.
"We kind of call it our home away from home when we hit the playoffs in November, but we're treating this like a playoff game that's going to be a physical football game like they always are," Heindl said.
It's Homecoming night for DuBois. Heindl knows the Beavers will be boosted by it.
"We're hoping to build off what we've done in the first four weeks, and with it being Homecoming, we know they're going to give us one [heck] of a football game. So, we're going to do our best to give it back. We say it week in and week out, but the team that makes the least number of mistakes and can capitalize on those by the other team should be in great shape at the end."
Game coverage – WDDH – 97.5 FM – The Hound will broadcast the contest. You'll find more information later tonight and Saturday on our webpage – ridgwayrecord.com.
Other Large Division action – It’s a battle of unbeatens (4-0) in Brookville where the Raiders host Karns City. The 3-1 Dutch are at 0-3 Central Clarion County. Kane (2-2) host Punxsutawney (0-3) and it’s a battle of winless teams in Moniteau (0-3) where the Warrior will host 0-4 Bradford.