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Hershey, Here Come the Bulldogs

Chris Marshall sprints towards the end zone on his game-changing interception in the third quarter. The pick tied the game at 14 right when Bishop Canevin looked to be ready to go up two scores. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa's work here

PITTSBURGH – Yes, Joe Mansfield, it’s real. You and your Redbank Valley teammates are headed to Hershey and a date with PIAA glory.

Mansfield and the rest of the Bulldogs are headed to the PIAA Championship game for the first time in school history following a 23-14 win over WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin Friday night at North Hills Martorelli Stadium.

“It don’t feel real,” Mansfield, the star defensive end whose sack in the end zone of Bishop Canevin backup quarterback Kole Olszewski with 5:08 to play drove the final stake into a comeback from 14 down early for Redbank Valley. “It ain’t real.”

While it was Mansfield sack that punctuated the win, it was Chris Marshall’s third-quarter interception that changed the game.

Redbank Valley (13-1), who trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter and 14-7 at halftime, looked like it was about to go down 21-7 when Bishop Canevin, thanks in part to a fake punt, had first-and-10 at the Bulldog 11.

But Marshall stepped in front of a Jason Cross pass, picked it off at the 2-yard line, and raced 98 yards the other way for the game-tying touchdown.

“I saw the quarterback’s eye going to that right side, and I saw him (the receiver) coming straight across the middle,” Marshall said. “I read it like a book. I picked it off, and I just took off. I am thinking touchdown.”

Redbank Valley head coach Blane Gold said without looking at the film it looked like Bishop Canevin (13-2) was trying to hit something across the middle.

“That was stuff we had prepped for,” Gold said. “One of their touchdowns last week was a quick slant across the middle. Chris Marshall changed the game.”

Ashton Kahle (6) and his Redbank Valley teammates celebrate at the end of the game. Photo by Jared Bakaysa

It was another turnover that set up the go-ahead touchdown.

After Jaiden Torres fumbled at midfield with Brenden Shreckengost recovering at the Redbank Valley 43-yard line with 3:48 to play in the third quarter, the Bulldogs drove 57 yards in nine plays taking the lead, 21-14, on a 1-yard Shreckengost touchdown run 31 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The big play of the drive came on a 27-yard pass on third-and-20 from Bryson Bain to Aiden Ortz that moved the ball to the Bishop Canevin 25-yard line.

Two more passes and an offside on the Crusaders put the ball at the 5-yard line to start the fourth quarter, and two Shreckengost runs gave Redbank Valley the lead.

Redbank Valley’s defense that forced a punt, and the offense was able to move to the 14-yard line before a Derrick Downs 31-yard field goal was short with 7:02 to play.

But the Bulldogs’ defense came up big with a Carsen Rupp sack back to the seven followed by Mansfield’s game-clinching safety/sack that helped make Redbank Valley the first District 9 team to reach a PIAA championship game since Smethport in 1992 and just the third all-time (Keystone in 1989).

Carsen Rupp (52) and Brenden Shreckengost (3) mob Joe Mansfield after Mansfield sacked the Bishop Canevin QB in the end zone for the game-clinching safety. Photo by Jared Bakaysa

“It’s hard to put into words,” Gold said. “It’s one of those things where we liked the match. It wasn’t a Clairton. It wasn’t a Jeanette. It wasn’t a team that was here year in and year out. But it was a really talented football team. They came out. They smacked us in the mouth. They went up 14.”

Watch Gold’s full postgame interview


Yes, they did.

Bishop Canevin looked every bit of the WPIAL champion when it took the 14-0 lead just under three minutes into the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Cross after Cross had hit Xavier Nelson with a 77-yard touchdown pass just over three minutes into the game.

At that point, the Crusaders were outgaining the Bulldogs 172 yards to 29.

But, Redbank Valley didn’t panic.

The Bulldogs answered the second Bishop Canevin touchdown drive with a 9-play, 60-yard scoring drive that was capped when Bain did his best young Ben Roethlisberger impersonation breaking out of a sack and scrambling five yards for a touchdown that made it 14-7 at halftime.

“District 9 prepared us for this,” Gold said. “We were down 14-0 to Port Allegany and won the football game. We had to score late to beat Union/A-C Valley. We were down last week (to Northern Bedford). These guys have taken every lesson they have learned this season, and they put it together tonight. That is the most excited I have seen our guys in the locker room at halftime. They knew if we just kept driving, there was no way (Bishop Canevin) expected to be in this position.”

While the excitement in the locker room was great, the fake punt seemed to switch the momentum back to the Crusaders.

After Redbank Valley had forced Bishop Canevin into a fourth-and-16 at its own 39, Nelson rugby-style rolled out on the punt and then saw an opening and took off for a 31-yard gain to the Bulldogs 30-yard line. A pass interference call on Redbank Valley and 21-yard Cross to Lesae Lacks put the ball on the 11 before Marshall turned the game around.

“I was freaking out,” Mansfield said of the Marshall interception.

Watch Mansfield and Marshall in their postgame interview

Redbank Valley was helped by the fact it played a fairly clean game with just one early turnover – it acted like a punt on an interception by Bain – and just six penalties for 50 yards, while Bishop Canevin had five turnovers – four interceptions and the lost fumble – and 16 penalties for 121 yards.

The Bulldogs will take on District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle, a 20-7 winner over District 4 champion Canton, in the PIAA title game at 1 p.m. Thursday at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.

“It’s a dream,” Marshall said. “We’ve been dreaming of this since we were little kids.”

REDBANK VALLEY 23, BISHOP CANEVIN 14

Score by Quarters

Redbank Valley 0 7 7 9 – 23
Bishop Canevin 7 7 0 0 – 14

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

BC – Xavier Nelson 77 yd pass from Jason Cross Jr. (Geno DeFrank kick), 8:59

Second Quarter

BC – Cross Jr. 1 yd run (Geno DeFrank kick), 9:12
RV – Bryson Bain 5 yd run (Tyson Adams kick), 4:52

Third Quarter

RV – Chris Marshall 98 yd interception return (Adams kick), 7:44

Fourth Quarter

RV – Brenden Shreckengost 1 yd run (Tyson Adams kick), 11:29
RV – Safety (Joe Mansfield sacks Kole Olszewski) in the end zone, 5:08

TEAM STATS

Stat-Redbank-Bishop Canevin

FIRST DOWNS………………. 15 12
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)………… 30-84 30-107
PASSING YDS (NET)…………. 149 217
Passes Att-Comp-Int……….. 29-15-1 27-12-4
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS….. 59-233 57-324
Fumble Returns-Yards………. 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards………… 0-0 1-17
Kickoff Returns-Yards……… 3-11 3-12
Interception Returns-Yards…. 4-98 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg)………… 4-30.2 3-32.3
Fumbles-Lost……………… 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards…………… 6-50 16-121
Possession Time…………… 25:15 22:45
Third-Down Conversions…….. 2 of 11 4 of 10
Fourth-Down Conversions……. 0 of 2 1 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances……. 2-3 1-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards…….. 3-17 2-15

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING: Redbank Valley-Brenden Shreckengost 19-75; Bryson Bain 8-12; TEAM 3-minus 3. Bishop Canevin-Keshawn Harris 7-46; Xavier Nelson 2-28; Jaiden
Torress 7-28; Jason Cross Jr. 6-15; Marquis Carter 5-7; TEAM 1-minus 1; Kole
Olszewski 2-minus 16.

PASSING: Redbank Valley-Bryson Bain 15-for-29, 149 yards, 1 interception. Bishop Canevin-Jason Cross Jr. 8-for-18, 177 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions. Kole Olszewski 4-for-9, 40 yards, 1 interception.

RECEIVING: Redbank Valley-Chris Marshall 4-61; Marquese Gardlock 4-29;
Aiden Ortz 2-22; Mason Clouse 2-18; Brenden Shreckengost 1-10; Tate Minich 1-10; Ashton Kahle 1-minus 1. Bishop Canevin-Lesae Lacks 7-89; Xavier Nelson 5-128.

INTERCEPTIONS: Redbank Valley-Chris Marshall 2, Tate Minich 1, Aiden Ortz 1. Bishop Canevin-Jason Cross Jr. 1.

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