BROCKWAY — Avenging yet another regular-season loss, the Coudersport Falcons will play Smethport for the District 9 Class 1A title this Friday night at Bradford Area High School.
And that’s exactly what head coach Tom Storey’s team wants as two playoff wins over Redbank Valley and then Clarion-Limestone in a 22-12 win last Friday night at a rainy and cold Varischetti Field.
The unbeaten Hubbers beat Coudersport, 21-20, in a down-to-the-wire showdown back on Oct. 19 to claim the Small School North Division title. But since then, the Falcons knocked off two teams that beat them earlier.
“That’s a big deal for us. The kids worked hard for that and this is what we’re pushing for in the postseason, to take it this far,” Storey said. “To be able to have another chance at Smethport …The Revenge Tour, that’s what it is. That game slipped away from us and we’re looking forward to having that game again. I know the boys are. They’re absolutely ready for that one.”
It’s the first trip to the district final since 2009 when the Falcons fell to Clarion, 7-0. They’re looking for their first championship since 2006 when they won their second straight crown in a 48-21 win over Curwensville.
Smethport, which advanced to the finals with a 28-0 win over Curwensville, hasn’t played for a title since 1998 when the Hubbers beat C-L, 28-14. The Falcons and Hubbers did meet for a district title once, back in 1994 when the Falcons won 21-20.
In the Falcons’ win over C-L, they turned around a 34-22 loss at C-L back on Sept. 14. The Lions led 12-0 at halftime, but lost the services of their star running back Austin Newcomb the rest of the way.
Newcomb ran for 185 yards on 22 carries in the first half alone, scoring both Lions touchdowns on runs of 42 and 9 yards. He broke the District 9 record for rushing yardage in a season, finishing with 2,628 yards, but apparently suffered an injury that left him hobbling the rest of the night and he did not return in the second half.
“Newcomb is a tough kid and definitely him not coming out (in the second half) could’ve played a part, but we needed to get their confidence back and have them do what they were doing,” Storey said.
In the second half, the Falcons limited the Lions to 27 yards and two first downs.
“We made a little bit of an adjustment and made sure people were playing where they needed to and stuff like that,” Storey said. “They’re a good, solid team. They hit their leads and counters well and a lot of times we were thinking they were going to pop out instead, and they weren’t. They were going to run inside, so we made adjustments, got our guys where they needed to be and let the second half go.”
While stuffing the Lions, the Falcons scored 22 unanswered points with Stephen Kelly starting things with a 10-yard run at the 5:36 mark of the third quarter. Kolby VanWhy added the two-point conversion.
Coudersport went up 14-12 65 seconds into the fourth quarter on quarterback Hayden Keck’s 1-yard run.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Lions fumbled the ball and the Falcons cashed the turnover into points when Kelly raced 42 yards for a touchdown. Keck’s two-point run set the final with 7:57 left.
Kelly ran for 147 yards on 25 carries while Keck completed 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards.
Coudersport will continue on to play Smethport this Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Bradford for the D9 1A title. Smethport remains undeafeated, winning their last game against Curwensville 28-0.
The last time Coudersport and Smethport played each other in the title game was 1994, when Coudersport won 21-20.