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Redbank Valley’s Bid for State Championship Comes up Just Short Against Bishop Guilfoyle

Redbank Valley's captains with the PIAA Second-Place trophy. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa's work here

HERSHEY, Pa. – Silver is pretty special, too.

Redbank Valley’s bid to become the first District 9 football team to win a state title came up just short on Thursday, as the Bulldogs fell to Bishop Guilfoyle, 21-14 at Hersheypark Stadium in the PIAA Class 1A final. It was a game that was worthy of a championship and then some.

Bishop Guilfoyle’s Cooper Rother’s 14-yard touchdown run with 3:21 to go in the fourth quarter broke a 14-14 tie and proved to be the difference.

Redbank drove inside the BG 40, but Karson Kiesewetter intercepted Redbank quarterback Bryson Bain at the 18-yard line with 32 seconds left to end it.

“I think that when you look at how the season started, a lot of people were really questioning what this team was made of and were they the real deal,” said Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold.

He was, of course, referencing the 22-20 loss to Keystone to open the season. The Bulldogs were for real, however, rattling off 13 straight wins to get to Hershey, winning their second consecutive District 9 title in the process.

“As we look at the season, the most memorable things are what they did to battle back and overcome adversity, and that’s really what football’s all about.”

Redbank Valley’s Marquese Gardlock hauls in a touchdown pass in the second half of the PIAA 1A championship game against Bishop Guilfoyle. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics.

The Bulldogs (13-2) battled back against a Marauder team that led 7-0 at halftime (which included a big fourth-down stop at the end of the half by Joe Mansfield and Kolby Barrett) and held the Bulldogs without a first down until the final minute of the first half.

The total yardage read 176-32 in favor of the Marauders (11-4) at halftime, but Redbank Valley, as they have done time and again during their playoff run, used big plays to come back.

Bain and Marquese Gardlock were front and center in the effort.

On the Bulldogs’ second drive of the second half, the passing game got going. Bain found Gardlock for an 11-yard hook-up down to the BG 43, and three plays later, on 3rd-and-6, Bain laid the ball out perfectly on a 39-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline.

Just like that Redbank, which had just two first downs before the drive started, was tied with 4:18 to play in the third quarter.

“I mean, look at where we’ve been the last two weeks,” Gold said. “Being down seven is nothing for this team. The way they battled and the way they fought back…you’ never want to lose, but before I took over I was an assistant for a lot of blowout losses in our final playoff game, and the last two years at the state level, we’ve got a five-point loss and seven-point loss. Obviously, we don’t find any moral victories, but that says that the guys kept fighting until the very end.”

It’s something they have done time and again in the postseason, rallying from 14 points down early against Port Allegany in the D9 semifinals and again against Canevin last week in the PIAA semis. They also trailed in their PIAA quarterfinal win against Northern Bedford.

Guilfoyle, which won its fourth PIAA title and first since 2016 (they lost in 2019 to Farrell), responded immediately, needing just three plays to re-take the lead.

After a 10-yard rush by Kiesewetter, the junior quarterback executed a Tim Tebow-esque jump pass to Anthony Ciffari, who found himself wide open, racing into the end zone from 57 yards out.

“Getting that big score to Marquese was a big deal and you know, they brought it back and hit that big play on the jump pass,” Gold said. “They snuck a guy in at tight end and we didn’t have an adjustment for it and they hit a big one there. I take the blame for that.”

The teams traded punts after that point, with Redbank Valley getting the ball back with 7:50 to go, trailing 14-7.

The Bulldogs, courtesy of Boo Schreckengost and Ashton Kahle moved the ball methodically on the ground down to the 38, where they faced a 3rd-and-10.

That’s when they decided to go into the back of tricks.

Receiver Chris Marshall lined up at quarterback (Bain split out at receiver), handed the ball off to Kahle, who flipped it back to Bain, who hit a streaking Gardlock wide open down the sideline for a touchdown.

Tyson Adams’ extra point to tie the game with 4:38 to go was good.

“We practiced that all week,” Gold said. “Coach (Jason) Kundick doesn’t necessarily like running big plays, but we really liked that this week. It was such a big moment. The good football teams come back and answer and that’s probably what you saw there.”

On the ensuing drive, a 43-yard pass from Kiesewetter to Rother set up Rother’s go-ahead scoring run.

“We scored to tie it up, they answered, we answered and they ultimately answered last,” noted Gold.

Gold also said if they would have scored again late, they were going to go for two.

“We thought that was our best chance to win a state championship,” he said.

Bain finished with 138 yards passing, 95 of which went to Gardlock, while Shreckengost had 47 yards on the ground.

Kiesewetter had 128 yards rushing on 30 carries and 119 through the air.

And even though it didn’t end the way they wanted, the Bulldogs will forever cherish the memories they made in getting to the championship game.

“At the end of the day we made some mistakes, I made some mistakes,” Gold said. “But as long as we can all look in the mirror and say that we sold and gave it everything we had, that’s basically what I wanted to remind them of. They beat a WPIAL champ last week that probably not many people gave us a chance against and we talked about that.

“They took Bishop Guilfoyle right down to the wire and we’re proud of that. I thought last year’s senior class was going to be hard to replace and obviously each class is unique in their own ways, but I mean this senior group took us to a place that’s it’s never been to before. It’s going to be really hard to replace these guys.”

Redbank Valley poses with the PIAA second-place trophy. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics.

Score By Quarters
Redbank Valley 0 0 7 7 — 14
Bishop Guilfoyle 7 0 7 7 —;21
First Quarter
B – Karson Kiesewetter 1 run (Deven Wyandt kick), :26.
Third Quarter
R – Marquese Gardlock 39 pass from Bryson Bain (Tyson Adams kick), 4:18.
B – Anthony Cioffari 57 pass from Karson Kiesewetter (Wyandt kick), 2:47.
Fourth Quarter
R – Marquese Gardlock 38 pass from Bryson Bain (Tyson Adams kick), 4:38.
B – Cooper Rother 14 run (Wyandt kick), 3:21.
R            BG
First downs              10           17
Rushes-yards        25-27    50-230
Comp-Att-Int.       12-26-1     4-5-0
Passing Yards      138           119
Total Plays-Yards 51-165   55-349
Fumbles-Lost         0-0           2-2
Punts                      4-34.5      1-37
Penalties-Yards     3-15          7-82


Redbank Valley: Brenden Shreckengost 12-47, Chris Marshall 1-1, Bryson Bain 10-(-5), Team 2-(-16). Bishop Guilfoyle: Karson Kiesewetter 30-128, Cooper Rother 18-96, Drew Abraham 2-67.

Redbank Valley: Bryson Bain 12-for-25, 138 yards, 2 TDS, 1 Int.; Team 0-for-1. Bishop Guilfoyle: Karson Kiesewetter 4-for-5, 119 yards, 1 TD.

Redbank Valley: Marquese Gardlock 4-95, Aiden Ortz 3-30, Tate Minich 2-6, Ashton Kahle 1-5, Chris Marshall 2-2. Bishop Guilfoyle: Anthony Cioffari 1-57, Cooper Rother 2-46, Collin Campbell 1-16.


Bishop Guilfoyle: Karson Kiesewetter.

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