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For Three Redbank Valley All-State Football Players, the Honor Means a Great Deal

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It was the last thing Chris Marshall expected.

At first, he didn’t believe it.

(Photos by Madison McFarland)

But then it sunk in. After not even playing football until he was a junior last season, Marshall was an all-state defensive back in Class A, as voted on by the Pennsylvania Football Writers and announced Tuesday afternoon.

“It does mean so much to me,” said Marshall, a senior. “I didn’t even think I was gonna be able to get out and even play that many games on defense – I was hurt for a while. But it does mean a lot. It’s special.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

It was special, too, for teammates Bryson Bain and Joe Mansfield, who also made the team.

Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold was named Co-Coach of the Year in Class A as well.

Bain, a senior quarterback, was another late arrival to the program; He didn’t play football until this season. Mansfield, also a senior, has been a staple on postseason all-star teams over the years at defensive end.

For Marshall, it was an even bigger surprise because he was limited to just offense for a large chunk of the season; He had a nagging ankle injury and he didn’t line up on the defensive side of the ball from Week 3 through Week 10.

When he finally returned to the secondary, he made a huge impact – none greater than in the state semifinal against Bishop Canevin when he returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown to completely swing the game and send the Bulldogs on their way to Hershey.

“I just try to make plays and get stops on people,” Marshall said. “Make them keep snapping the ball.”

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Despite missing time, Marshall made 54 tackles and intercepted four passes.

Bain’s selection was also special.

With a scholarship to Indiana University of Pennsylvania in hand to play baseball, it would have been easy for Bain to dismiss any thoughts of playing football in his final year. But he played anyway.

“Bryson was very clear to us that he wanted to play this year to play with his best friends and to win a championship,” Gold said. “A crazy stat with Bryson is before our win against Port Allegany, he had never won a playoff game (in basketball or baseball). He just wanted to be a part of something special.”

Turns out Bain was something special on the football field. He won the starting quarterback competition against Gunner Mangiantini and Cam Wagner and proceeded to throw for 2,253 yards and 30 touchdowns.

He was a big part of the reason why the Bulldogs made their historic run to the PIAA Class A championship game with his strong arm, leadership and demeanor.

“I came in and we were in a competition. Nothing was handed to me,” Bain said. “Everything I got, I earned. I worked really hard, so to get to get the recognition at the end, I mean, it’s really cool. And then to see Chris and Joe and coach get coach of the year – it’s definitely cool.”

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Mansfield has been on the map for years with his quick first step and penchant for getting into the backfield to throw running backs for big losses, or get to the quarterback for momentum-turning sacks.

Mansfield, with the apt nickname of “Cheat Code,” was at it again as a senior. He had 23 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. He was a handful against everyone he faced.

“It’s nice to get — it’s an achievement most people don’t get,” Mansfield said. “I’m just appreciative to the people who have noticed my hard work.”

It was difficult to not notice what Gold and his staff were able to do this season. They rallied the team after a disappointing and disheartening season-opening loss to Keystone and helped guide the Bulldogs to 13 straight wins before the state championship game. Redbank Valley was a play or two away from a state crown.

For that, he shared the coach of the year honor with the coach who edged his team in the state title game, 21-14 – Bishop Guilfoyle’s Justin Wheeler.

“It was a sympathy vote,” Gold quipped.

What meant more to Gold was getting three players on the writer’s team. Redbank Valley had four players make that team in the history of the program before this year. Now it has three in one season.

“That’s a big deal for us,” Gold said. “I’m really proud of those guys. It’s a great story for all three of them.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.



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