WINDBER, Pa. – The Redbank Valley defense forced five turnovers and ran the ball efficiently en route to the Bulldogs’ first state playoff win in school history, as they defeated Northern Bedford 28-15. The Bulldogs leaped out to a 21-0 first half lead, and cruised through the second half to secure the victory. Redbank Valley’s tenacious run defense was key for the Bulldogs, who allowed -8 total rushing yards while conceding a lone touchdown on defense.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Ray Shreckengost, who rushed for 86 yards on 15 carries. Hudson Martz also rushed for 32 yards. Quarterback Cam Wagner threw for 90 yards and a touchdown, with Chris Marshall reeled in four catches for 69 yards and a score. Northern Bedford’s offense struggled, registering -8 total rushing yards. Quarterback Thad Leidy threw for 161 yards, but five interceptions and six total turnovers doomed the Panthers.
The first Redbank Valley possession ended with a quick three-and-out after three unsuccessful passing attempts. After punting, the Bulldogs forced a fumble on Northern Bedford’s first play from scrimmage to retake possession in Panthers’ territory.
Four plays later, the Bulldogs made Northern Bedford pay, as Wagner connected with Marshall for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 9:00 remaining in the first quarter. A successful PAT made the score 7-0.
Northern Bedford’s second possession ended in their second turnover, as Tate Minich picked off a third-and-long pass to give the Bulldogs’ possession around midfield. After a pair of penalties put the Bulldogs inside the red zone, a Ray Shreckengost run converted a fourth-and-two on the Northern Bedford four yard line. On the next play, Kobe Bonanno powered his way into the endzone. Another successful PAT put the Bulldogs up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Redbank Valley’s run-stopping defense came up big again, stuffing Northern Bedford and forcing a punt. Northern Bedford quickly reciprocated, jamming up the running game to force a Redbank Valley punt.
The two teams traded interceptions to start the second quarter, as Northern Bedford picked off Wagner on a third-and-long heave, while Marshall picked off a Leidy pass inside Panthers’ territory. Two plays later, Martz sprinted in from ten yards out for the Bulldogs’ third touchdown of the game, making the score 21-0 with 8:52 left in the second quarter.
Redbank Valley snagged their fourth turnover of the game on Northern Bedford’s next possession, as Trenten Rupp picked off a pass on a fourth-down gadget play. A Shreckengost run put the Bulldogs in scoring range, but the Panthers’ defense stood firm, forcing a fourth down incompletion to cause a turnover on downs with 3:00 left in the period.
Turnover number five came soon after, as Dalton Bish snagged picked off a Leidy pass, killing Northern Bedford’s last chance to score before the break. A few quiet runs by the Bulldogs bought an end to the first half, with Redbank Valley on top 21-0. The Bulldogs completely dominated the line of scrimmage, and Northern Bedford had a total -17 rushing yards in the first half.
Redbank Valley’s defense continued their success, forcing a Northern Bedford punt to start the second half. The punt pinned the Bulldogs deep inside their ten yard line, and two stellar plays by the Panthers forced a safety. The safety made the score 21-2. The Panthers appeared poised to score their first touchdown of the game, easily entering Redbank Valley territory. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Rupp snagged his second interception of the game, killing the Panthers’ drive.
On the following drive, Northern Bedford forced their second turnover of the game, as Brady Clark snagged an interception around midfield. Clark found the sideline and used his speed to scamper into the endzone for a pick six and Northern Bedford’s first touchdown of the evening. A failed 2-pt attempt made the score 21-8 halfway through the third quarter.
After forcing a Redbank Valley punt, the Panthers used the run to success, generating a first down on a big gain. The Bulldogs stood firm soon after, forcing a turnover on downs around midfield after denying a fourth down screen pass opportunity.
Early in the fourth quarter, Brenden Shreckengost dashed for a big run to put Redbank Valley on the 12 yard line as they looked to build upon their lead. After the Bulldogs had their first two quarterback sneak attempts stuffed, Bonanno found the endzone on his third try, giving the Bulldogs a sturdy 28-8 lead with 7:00 left to play.
A late Bulldogs fumble gave Northern Bedford an opportunity to score a late touchdown, and the Panthers were able to convert, as Clark scampered in for a one-yard touchdown to cut the score to 28-15 with 3:00 left in the game.
An unsuccessful onside kick attempt ended Northern Bedford’s hope of a comeback, as the Bulldogs were able to run out most of the clock. The Panthers’ final drive came up short, as Redbank Valley secured a first-round state playoff victory, winning 28-15.
The Bulldogs will advance to face District 10 champion Reynolds at a time and place to be determined.