Halloween puts jolt of fear in Leader into week 9
After back-to-back weeks of perfect predictions, the Leader has begun to wonder if it’s more difficult to pick Halloween-worthy pumpkins from the local farms. People sure do grab the best ones in a hurry.
This week’s patch of games includes a few mushy choices; so many losses tend to leave teams feeling rotten. But there also are games with conference-title and playoff-positioning implications. Those are ripe for the picking.
You might want to be careful when following the Leader into a corn maze — the Leader knows what it’s like to get lost in those high stalks. But trust the Leader when it comes to picking produce and Friday night performances.
Burrell (6-2, 5-1) at Ford City (5-3, 4-2)
With a win, Burrell secures at least a share of the Allegheny Conference title. With a loss, the Bucs likely fall to fourth. That’s a pretty motivational scenario for Burrell. But Ford City wins this one with swarming defense and support from the home crowd.
Ford City, 17-16
Kittanning (1-7, 1-4) at Indiana (6-2, 4-1)
Unless it improves its defense, Kittanning is unlikely to keep up with Indiana. The Wildcats allow a Greater Allegheny Conference-worst 33.3 points per game, and the Little Indians score 35 per game.
Freeport (6-2, 5-1) at Summit Academy (3-5, 3-3)
Freeport also has a shot at the Allegheny Conference, or at least a piece of it. A Saturday game might cause the Yellowjackets to start slow, but Freeport will take care of business against a slumping Summit Academy.
Apollo-Ridge (1-7, 1-5) at West Shamokin (0-8, 0-6)
Offense was a point of pride for both teams earlier in the season — Apollo-Ridge threw the ball well, and West Shamokin churned out yardage on the ground. But both teams regressed the past few weeks, so neither is pleased with much at the moment. Friday will change the mood for one group.
Leechburg (0-8, 0-7) at Wilkinsburg (1-7, 0-7)
This battle for the Eastern Conference basement could come down to the team that has the ball last. Wilkinsburg last beat Leechburg in 2008, so the team might be due. But the Leader believes in Leechburg.
St. Marys (5-3, 2-1) at Karns City (5-3, 2-1)
They might have the same records, but these two teams are headed in opposite directions. Karns City will cruise in this Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Large School division contest as long as its defense keeps St. Marys under 28 points.
Karns City, 45-20
Keystone (2-6, 2-2) at Redbank Valley (4-4, 3-1)
Redbank Valley allowed a season-low in points last week during a 42-12 win over Punxsutawney. But the Bulldogs will set a new low on Friday because Keystone’s offense has only cracked the 10-point barrier once this year. Easy win for Redbank Valley as long as the team stays focused.
Redbank Valley, 38-7
Last week: 6-0