PHILIPSBURG — The venue may be foreign to both teams, but the rivalry will, no doubt, be as familiar as always when the Moshannon Valley and West Branch football teams meet for the 63rd time Saturday evening at Mountaineer Stadium at Philipsburg.
The game, originally scheduled to be a home game for the Warriors, had to be moved because renovations at L.T. Drivas Memorial Field are not yet finished.
Both teams got off to shaky starts in their openers.
The Warriors lost a road game to Juniata Valley 36-7, while the Knights fell to Claysburg-Kimmel at home by a score of 38-13.
Mo Valley was able to move the ball at times against the Bulldogs, as it amassed 180 yards on the ground, led by quarterback Ethan Webb, who carried 12 times for 84 yards. Niko Smeal added 71 yards on nine carries.
“Defensively we need to be aggressive, take away what they like to do and make some plays,” West Branch head coach Kevin Hubler said.
On offense, Hubler says the Warriors need to do a better job up front.
“We need to establish both lines of scrimmage,” he said. “We need to do a better job of running the ball and giving our QB time to throw.”
The Warriors threw for 119 yards last week, but were intercepted three times. Running back Will Herring found some success on the ground with 13 carries for 100 yards.
“West Branch has a pretty good front and the tailback runs hard,” Mo Valley head coach Michael Keith said. “We need to make the QB uncomfortable.
“As for us we need to have some kind of a passing game to keep them honest.”
The Knights did not complete a pass in last week’s loss.
Mo Valley won last year’s matchup 31-27 and has taken 11 of the last 13 meetings. The Black Knights hold a 39-20-3 lead in the all-time series.
In other Week 2 matchups, Clearfield hosts Tyrone in a key early-season Mountain League matchup, Curwensville entertains Sheffield, Glendale is home against Northern Bedford, and Philipsburg-Osceola welcomes Penns Valley to Mountaineer Stadium.
Tyrone (1-0) at Clearfield (1-0)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Tyrone holds a 35-33-3 edge in the all-time series, but Clearfield has won the last eight meetings and 12 of the last 13.
LAST MEETING: The Bison picked up a 28-14 victory last season with Brett Zattoni doing much of the heavy lifting with 152 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tyrone’s Damon Gripp, Tommy Hicks and Brandon Lucas; Clearfield’s Oliver Billotte, Karson Kline and Jake Lezzer.
LAST WEEK: CLEARFIELD 27, PENNS VALLEY 0: Billotte ran for two touchdowns and threw for two scores, both to Kline. Lezzer added 100 yards receiving, and the Bison defense kept the Rams bottled up, allowing just 106 yards. TYRONE 21, BELLEFONTE 13: Lucas threw for 186 yards and two TDs to Gripp, who caught five balls for 146 yards. Gripp also had two interceptions to help limit the Red Raider offense.
COACH’S KEYS TO THE GAME: “We need to keep Gripp in check. He’s a weapon,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “We need to play sound defense and not turn the ball over on offense.”
Sheffield (0-1) at Curwensville (1-0)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Curwensville leads 12-0.
LAST MEETING: The Golden Tide routed Sheffield 56-8 in 2017, getting 161 yards and three touchdowns from all-time leading rusher Nick Stewart.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Curwensville’s Danny McGarry, Jake Mullins and Ty Terry.
LAST WEEK: KEYSTONE 86, SHEFFIELD 0: Keystone put 79 points on the board in the first half, getting two punt returns for touchdowns and recording two safeties to go with plenty of points and yards from its offense. REDBANK VALLEY 44, CURWENSVILLE 0: The Bulldogs ran for 257 yards and two scores, while throwing for 174 yards and four touchdowns, building a 37-0 halftime lead en route to the win. The Tide managed just 95 yards of offense.
COACH’S KEYS TO THE GAME: “Our keys to success are to be much more physical in the run game,” Curwensville head coach Jim Thompson said. “We did a pretty good job with pass protectiooverall last week, but our run game was ineffective. Likewise, we didn’t stop the run last week and it showed on the scoreboard. Our defensive line, linebackers, and safeties must be more disciplined and more physical.”
Northern Bedford (0-1) at Glendale (1-0)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Northern Bedford leads the series 36-5 and has won the last 10 in a row.
LAST MEETING: The Panthers knocked off the Vikings 48-13 last season behind quarterback Thad Leidy throwing for 210 yards and three scores and running back Dalton Smith scoring three times and piling up 176 yards on the ground.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Northern Bedford’s Leidy and Smith; Glendale’s Garret Misiura, Baine Seilhamer and Cody Bickford.
LAST WEEK: BELLWOOD-ANTIS 36, NORTHERN BEDFORD 14: The Blue Devils held a potent Panther offense to 193 yards and two scores, both by running back Dalton Smith, who had 11 carries for 68 yards. GLENDALE 28, EVERETT 0: The Viking defense forced three turnovers, while holding Everett to 118 yards of offense. Baine Seilhamer had a big game in Glendale’s passing attack with over 100 yards receiving and three TDs.
COACH’S KEYS TO THE GAME: Northern Bedford is talented, experienced and very well coached,” Glendale head coach Dave Trexler said. “We have to be consistent in our approach, stay fundamentally sound, and play one play at a time. If we take any plays off or relax Northern Bedford will take full advantage of it.”
Penns Valley (0-1) at Philipsburg-Osceola (1-0)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penns Valley has won the last eight meetings to take a 10-9 series lead.
LAST MEETING: The Rams won last season via forfeit. Penns Valley scored a 56-7 victory on the field in 2018.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Penns Valley’s Aiden Brinker and Stephen Ripka; Philipsburg-Osceola’s Aaron Depto, Kaleb Stamm and Hunter Weitoish.
LAST WEEK: CLEARFIELD 27, PENNS VALLEY 0: The Rams were shut out by the Bison, who limited them to just eight first downs and 106 total yards. Brinker had 44 yards passing and 43 on the ground. PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 35, HUNTINGDON 20: The Mounties piled up 362 yards rushing as both Stamm and Weitosh went over the century mark. Depto added an interception return for a score and caught a pass for another.
COACH’S KEYS TO THE GAME: “We need to eliminate turnovers, and play disciplined football on both sides of the ball,” P-O head coach Jeff Vroman said.