PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Redbank Valley’s 23-14 win over Bishop Canevin in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals Friday night made District 9 history.
The Bulldogs are the first District 9 football team to make the PIAA championship game since 1992 when Smethport beat Rochester 6-0 in Class 1A, and just the third District 9 team to ever qualify for the PIAA title game. Keystone was the first D9 team to make it when it beat Clairton, 15-14, in 1989, just the second year of the PIAA football playoffs.
Redbank Valley is also the first D9 team to ever make the finals having to win more than one game and will look to be the first D9 state football champion when it faces Bishop Guilfoyle at 1 p.m. Thursday at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.
“These kids were playing for District 9, too,” Redbank Valley head coach Blane Gold, who was three years old in 1992, said. “I will never forget a phone call I had with Coach (Mark) Heindl from Ridgway. I remember when they won four in a row (D9 titles), two in Single A and two in Double A. We had a conversation and he said what you did last year (when Redbank Valley reached the PUAA quarterfinals) gave District 9 hope. A lot of kids in District 9 win a D9 champion and that is it. We talked about that this week. This football team isn’t just doing something special for us it is doing something special for District 9 as well.”