NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Cam Wagner threw three second-quarter touchdown passes and the Redbank Valley Bulldogs pulled away for a 28-12 win over two-time defending champion Coudersport in a District 9 Class 1A semifinal Saturday.
The 5-0 Bulldogs land in next Saturday afternoon’s D9 final against Smethport at Brockway’s Varischetti Field starting at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs haven’t won a championship since 1996, Smethport since 1998.
Redbank Valley beating Coudersport ended a three-game losing streak to the Falcons, two of them in the playoffs including last year’s 42-13 finals loss. And the Bulldogs did it preparing for the Falcons without 18 players who were quarantined for the previous 10 days, unable to practice physically with the rest of the team.
“That’s just a testament to (the kids),” Bulldogs head Blane Gold said. “Coudersport beat us 150-20 in two games last year and then back to our playoff loss in 2018, but we felt confident with two things. I have a senior-lead defense, and when you defend the triple option (Coudersport offense), you have to play assignment football. So as long as they were mentally prepared, we were going to be OK.”
The Bulldogs kept the Falcons out of the end zone until they were up 28-0 early in the third quarter. Wagner replaced starter Gunner Mangiantini and threw TD passes in three straight possessions, a 15-yarder to Dalton Bish on fourth-and-13 at the 8:56 mark of the second quarter, a 31-yarder to Marquese Gardlock with 5:44 remaining in the half and then a 54-yarder to Trenten Rupp with 1:23 left before halftime.
The Falcons and Bulldogs traded end zone interceptions to start the game, a hint of what was to be an eight-turnover game with four committed by each team. Coudersport came up short on a chance to score at the end of the first half, but Hayden Keck’s pass to the end zone as time ran out fell incomplete.
On the first play of the second half, the Bulldogs pounced on a bad option pitch by Keck and after a scramble for the loose ball, the Bulldogs’ Joe Mansfield went 20 yards for the score and it was 28-0 13 seconds into the third quarter.
The Falcons scored on Brandt Kightlinger’s 4-yard run on the last play of the third quarter and Keck’s 21-yard TD pass to Kightlinger with 6:43 left in the game to set the final score.
Wagner completed 12 of 16 pass for 146 yards with his three TDs while Mangiantini completed 7 of 11 for 67 yards and an interception. Gardlock caught four passes for 70 yards.
The Bulldogs went nowhere on the ground as the Falcons limited them to 30 yards on 25 attempts.
Kightlinger ran for 120 yards on 27 carries and caught two passes for 21 yards, scoring both of the Falcons’ TDs. Keck completed 9 of 22 passes for 106 yards with two interceptions and the TD pass while rushing for 10 yards on 14 attempts.
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REDBANK VALLEY 28, COUDERSPORT 12
Score By Quarters
Coudersport 0 0 6 6 — 12
Redbank Valley 0 21 7 0 — 28
R – Dalton Bish 15 pass from Cam Wagner (Landon Pence kick), 8:56.
R – Marquese Gardlock 31 pass from Cam Wagner (Pence kick), 5:44.
R – Trenten Rupp 54 pass from Cam Wagner (Pence kick), 1:24.
R – Joe Mansfield 20 fumble recovery return (Pence kick), 11:47.
C – Brandt Kightlinger 4 run (run failed), :00.
C – Brandt Kightlinger 21 pass from Hayden Keck (conversion failed), 6:43.
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yards 25-30 49-148
Comp-Att-Int. 29-27-1 9-22-2
Passing Yards 213 106
Plays-Yards 52-243 71-254
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 3-2
Punts-Avg 2-43 0-0
Penalties-Yards 12-113 9-73
RUSHING — Redbank Valley: Ray Shreckengost 11-20, Brenden Shreckengost 6-15, Dalton Bish 2-6, Kobe Bonanno 1-2, Marquese Gardlock 1-2, Hudson Martz 3-0, Gunner Mangiantini 1-(-15). Coudersport: Brandt Kightlinger 27-120, Logan Ruter 5-10, Hayden Keck 14-10, Cavyn Ayers 3-8.
PASSING — Redbank Valley: Gunner Mangiantini 7-for-11, 67 yards, 1 Int.; Cam Wagner 12-for-16, 146 yards, 3 TDs. Coudersport: Hayden Keck 9-for-22, 106 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints.
RECEIVING — Redbank Valley: Marquese Gardlock 4-70, Trenten Rupp 3-56, Dalton Bish 6-46, Tate Minich 5-23, Chris Marshall 1-18. Coudersport — Logan Ruter 2-36, Dalton Keglovits 3-30, Brandt Kightlinger 2-21, Josh Ross 1-14, Cavyn Ayers 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS — Redbank Valley: Dalton Bish, Trenten Rupp. Coudersport: Hayden Keck.