BROCKWAY, Pa. – Jaxon Huffman got into a rhythm on the second play from scrimmage in the second half. His next three passes went for 145 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs took the lead for good.
Huffman put the finishing touches on with a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter to help Redbank Valley back to the District 9 Class 1A title with a 26-7 win over Port Allegany.
Rewatch the game:
“I was missing some reads, had to get a little help by the coach, and then whenever I saw him (Ashton Kahle) running down the field I knew I had to get it in his arms,” Huffman said during his Cole Orthodontic Associates player interview.
See the full Cole Orthodontic Associates player interview:
Kahle caught both of those touchdown passes, the first a 21-yard scamper on a pitch pass after Huffman had connected with Mason Clouse for 43 yards. The second was a juggling catch that Kahle turned into an 81-yard TD that broke the game open for the Bulldogs.
“I was thinking, ‘To the house,’” Kahle said. “I caught it in a little bit of a bobble, but I didn’t really know where the corner was behind me. I wasn’t paying attention cause I was tracking the ball. But as soon as I caught it and I realized there was no one around me, there was just dust behind me.”
Kahle’s 249 receiving yards pushed him past 1,000 yards for the season, the first Bulldog to reach that milestone in program history.
“It’s definitely special,” Kahle said. “Out of every amazing football player that has ever come out of Redbank, to be the only one with 1,000 yards receiving, it’s just a special accomplishment.”
Kahle and Huffman’s performances earned them Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Co-Player of the Game honors.
The Bulldogs found themselves in a dog fight early against the defending D9 champion Gators.
Port Allegany struck first thanks to a 49-yard run by Peyton Stiles late in the first quarter.
Redbank Valley answered less than two minutes into the second quarter when Huffman hit Clouse for a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs went for the conversion but Huffman’s pass was broken up leaving the Gators with a 7-6 advantage.
Despite several quality chances, neither team scored again in the first half.
“We told everyone it was going to be a dog fight. We got exactly what we expected from Port Allegany,” Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold said.
See Gold’s full interview:
Port Allegany had two opportunities to increase its lead late in the second quarter. The Gators were stopped on fourth down inside the 20 on one possession, then missed a field goal after driving down to the 4 on the next possession.
“You can rate defenses a lot of different ways, my biggest measure is how many points you give up,” Gold said. “Our defensive mantra is keep making them snap the football. If that means they’ve got a first-and-goal from the three, we’re going to make them snap it four times. We gave up the big, long touchdown run. But outside of that, when you look at what we were able to do when they got the ball inside the 20, obviously they got the job done when they needed to.”
Redbank Valley also had an opportunity to take the lead with less than a minute left in the first half. Jarrod Funk intercepted Huffman at the Gators’ 10, but a fumbled snap on the next play gave the Bulldogs a first down at the 11.
The Bulldogs’ first two second-half touchdowns came in a 2:35 span.
Port Allegany was moving the ball well on the possession following Kahle’s 81-yard touchdown, including converting a fourth down in Redbank Valley territory. But, after getting inside the Bulldogs’ 40, Aiden Bliss was hit and fumbled allowing Redbank Valley to take over possession.
Redbank Valley’s defense came up with another fourth down stop early in the fourth quarter as Port Allegany had again driven inside the Redbank 45.
This time the Bulldogs took advantage and Huffman capped a nearly 4-minute drive with his touchdown run to put the game out of reach.
Stiles led the Gators’ ground attack with 149 yards and a touchdown on 22 caries. Bliss had 15 totes for 72 yards. Nick Wilfong was 5-8 passing for 37 yards. Stiles had three receptions for 30 yards.
Huffman was 13-22 passing for 344 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also ran 15 times for 23 yards and a score.
Clouse had three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown and Rylan Rupp had a 40-yard reception.
Redbank Valley will play the District 10 champion, either Lakeview or Cambridge Springs who will play Saturday at 7 p.m., in the PIAA quarterfinals.
That the D10 championship isn’t being played until Saturday means the Bulldogs will have a day to revel in their championship victory.
“We’re going to enjoy it as much as we can,” Gold said. “That’s what I said to my coaching staff. I said if we find a way to win this dog fight, it’s a perfect setup for us because obviously we don’t know who we’re playing and it can just give us a Friday night and a Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon just to enjoy it. Because the amount of time that this takes, the amount of commitment this takes, it wears you out. So it’s nice that we have a 24-hour period to breathe.”
REDBANK VALLEY 26, PORT ALLEGANY 7
Score By Quarters
Port Allegany 7 0 0 0 — 7
Redbank Valley 0 6 13 7 — 26
P – Peyton Stiles 49 run (Jarrod Funk kick), 1:30.
R – Mason Clouse 15 pass from Jaxon Huffman (pass failed), 10:22.
R – Ashton Kahle 21 pass from Jaxon Huffman (pass failed), 10:55.
R – Ashton Kahle 81 pass from Jaxon Huffman (Owen Clouse kick), 8:20.
R – Jaxon Huffman 3 run (Owen Clouse kick), 6:54.
Port Allegany – Redbank Valley
10 First Downs 14
41-235 Rushes-yards 31-61
5-8-0 Comp-Att-Int 13-22-1
37 Passing Yards 344
49-272 Total Plays-Yards 53-405
3-2 Fumbles-Lost 2-0
2-38.5 Punts 2-39
2-15 Penalties-Yards 5-50
Port Allegany — Peyton Stiles 22-149, Aiden Bliss 15-72, Nick Wilfong 3-10, Trenton Kiser 0-5, Team 1-(-1).
Redbank Valley — Drew Byers 12-27, Jaxon Huffman 15-23, Owen Clouse 1-14, Team 3-(-3).
Port Allegany — Nick WIlfong 5-for-8, 37 yards.
Redbank Valley — Jaxon Huffman 13-for-22, 344 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int.
Port Allegany — Peyton Stiles 3-30, Trenton Kiser 2-7.
Redbank Valley — Ashton Kahle 9-249, Mason Clouse 3-55, Rylan Rupp 1-40.