KNOX, Pa. – Behind a make-shift offensive line, Redbank Valley overcame a slow start to blowout Keystone on the road, 42-9, Saturday afternoon.
Rewatch the game
The Bulldogs (4-0) found out late in the week they would be without their starting center and the offensive lineman who would go to tackle allowing Caden Adams to move to center.
That prompted head coach Blane Gold and his coaching staff to move Brandon Ross from fullback to center, a position he had never played before.
But Ross and the rest of the Redbank Valley offensive line answered the bell helping the Bulldogs run for 287 yards on just 23 carries, an average of 12.5 yards per carry.
That included two runners over 100 yards, including tailback Drew Byers (12 carries for 157 yards) and quarterback Braylon Wagner (8 carries for 104 yards). Both Byers and Wagner scored two touchdowns apiece.
Byers, who scored on second-half runs of 30 and 12 yards to help Redbank Valley turn a 13-3 halftime lead into the Mercy Rule, was named the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Game. The junior, who said his dad bet him he couldn’t run for 150 yards in a game, talked about the performance on the Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview.
The game couldn’t have started off worse for Redbank Valley, which had to have seen shades of the 2021 loss at Keystone.
The Panthers (0-4) started the contest with an onside kick, which turned bizarre.
The ball was never actually recovered by either team, but the officials blew the play dead at midfield awarding it to Keystone while the ball was skipping back toward the Keystone 45-yard line
Gold argued for a minute, to no avail, that it should have been an inadvertent whistle and a rekick.
Redbank Valley’s defense was able to make a stop and force a punt, but Wagner gave the ball right back to the Panthers when Drew Slaugenhaupt picked off a Wagner heave at the Keystone 45-yard line.
The Panthers then went on an 18-play drive that ended with a 25-yard Josh Besl field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.
But that was the only Keystone point until late in the game.
Redbank Valley needed just 55 seconds to answer using a personal foul on Keystone on the kickoff to start at midfield and then needing just three plays to score when Wagner ran in from 37 yards out to make it 7-3.
Two drives later, Wagner hit Ashton George from 5 yards out to make it 13-3.
Keystone threatened late in the half driving from its own 41 to the Redbank Valley 11 before Ashton Kahle [picked off a Dom Corcetti pass in the end zone leaving the Bulldogs up 10, 13-3, at halftime.
Three touchdowns in a span of just under six minutes in the third quarter then put the game away for the Bulldogs.
Wagner plowed in from a yard out to make it 21-3 following a 2-point conversion.
Mason Clouse then took a swing pass from Wagner and did most of the work on his way to a 69-yard touchdown reception that made it 28-3, and Byers scored his first touchdown on a 30-yard run to make it 35-3.
Byers’ second score, this one from 12 yards away, put the Mercy Rule into action with 1:03 to play in the game.
Redbank Valley looked like it was going to add to its lead when Brock George appeared to be headed for a score a few minutes later, but George fumbled at the 1-yard line with Keystone recovering.
The Panthers then mounted a 99-yard, 14-play drive against mainly Bulldog backups to close out the scoring on a 5-yard Eli Nellis touchdown run.
Wagner wasn’t as sharp as last week going 9 of 15 for 157 yards while throwing an interception to go with his two touchdown passes.
Mason Clouse had three catches for 108 yards.
Rayce Weaver ran 21 times for 58 yards for Keystone and was 1 of 3 passing for 7 yards., He also caught two passes for three yards.
Corcetti was 8 of 12 passion for 101 yards and the interception.
Slaugenhaupt had two catches for 44 yards with Drew Keth catching three passes for 43 yards.
Nellis ran 13 times for 55 yards, and Jacob Henry added 12 carries for 35 yards and also averaged 29 yards on three kickoff returns.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 46, SHEFFIELD 12
SHEFFIELD, Pa. – Noah Cherry ran for 301 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries to lead Elk County Catholic to its first win of the season, 46-12 over Sheffield.
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Cherry was named the Allegheny of Foxburg Player of the Game.
“The linebackers were hitting the hole I was supposed to go to so I was bouncing it outside and it was working,” Cherry said during the Cole Orthodontic Associates Player of the Game interview.
See Cherry’s full interview:
Despite a big edge in yardage, ECC led just 7-6 after Sheffield’s Colby Barr returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown.
The Crusaders scored twice in the final 346 of the first half, however, as Cherry scored on runs of 12 and five yards to make it 20-6 at halftime.
ECC pulled way in the second half, with Wil Wortman booting a 42-yard field goal (he also made a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter) and Cherry scoring his final touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run.
Matthew Gilmore did the damage in the fourth quarter for the Crusaders, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and hauling in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ben Geci.
Sheffield scored late on a Barr 43-yard touchdown pass to Austin Fiscus.
Geci completed 4-of-7 passes for 36 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Gilmore had three receptions for 32 yards.
Hayden Holden had 74 yards on 19 carries for Sheffield, while Barr completed 3-of-9 passes for 69 yards and also had 39 yards rushing on seven carries.