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Smethport Defends Home Field in 26-6 Win Over Keystone

SMETHPORT, Pa (EYT/D9) – The Smethport football team was able to fend off pesky Keystone in a District 9 Small School clash Friday evening by a final score of 26-6.

The win for Smethport improved their record to 7-1, while the Panthers of Keystone dropped to 5-2 on the season.

(Above, Photo courtesy of

In what was a slow first half in terms of scoring. The Hubbers got on the scoreboard first in the second quarter on a 1-yard run from quarterback Noah Lent with 2:31 left in the half. After the successful point after attempt, the home team led 7-0.

The touchdown would be one of three times the senior Lent would find paydirt in the game, as he rushed for 214 yards on 22 carries. Smethport used the ground attack all game, and needed just one completion to secure the victory.

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

After halftime, the Hubbers added to their 7-0 lead when sophomore Ryan Mason scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter. After a successful point after, Smethport found itself in front, 14-0.

In the fourth, Smethport scored their third straight touchdown as Lent would break free for a 40-yard scoring run to make it a 20-0 ballgame in favor of the home squad with 11:49 left to play in the game.

Despite a tough day offensively, Keystone would not go down quietly as they would respond with a touchdown of their own in the fourth quarter. The Panthers’ score came from senior quarterback Bret Wingard, who found the end zone on a 1-yard keeper. After an unsuccessful kick, the Smethport lead was cut to 20-6 with 8:23 left to play in the fourth.

(Photo by Shelly Atzeni)

The Hubbers continued to use the clock to their advantage, executing a drive that took over five minutes off the clock and ended with another 1-yard touchdown run from Lent. The senior is up to 1,382 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns in 2021, but according to his head coach, Adam Jack, it is the starting five offensive linemen up front that have helped the senior have a historic season and games like he had tonight.

“It is a young group of kids with just one senior on the offensive line, along with two juniors and two sophomore,” Jack said. “I was really pleased with the effort tonight from those guys.”

The five he is referring to include Cole Szuba, Travis Cooney, Hayden Leet, Logan Hurlburt, and Keegen Watson.

Jack was also pleased to get one of his key players back from injury in Ryan Pelchy. The junior running back missed the previous three games with a concussion, but delivered for Smethport in a big way with 11 carries for 76 yards.

Jack said this about Pelchy returning to action and Mason finding the end zone: “It was great to get Ryan Pelchy back after three weeks dealing with a concussion. He had a great game with 11 carries and 76 yards for us. We were also really happy to finally get Ryan Mason in the end zone as well. He only had four carries, but he made the most of them.”

After the final score of the game, which came from Smethport, Keystone orchestrated a drive and a near-response, which ultimately resulted in a Keystone turnover in the red zone with under a minute remaining in the contest. The Hubbers’ junior defensive back, Aiden McKean, was able to pick off the Panthers’ pass, which helped to secure the victory for Smethport.

“I thought the effort was there, and it was only 7-0 at the end of the half,” said Keystone coach Ryan Smith. “We hung with them the whole time and if we just eliminate a few of the mistakes, it wouldn’t have been as bad as what the final ended up being.”

Keystone attempted 33 passes in the game, but could complete just 10 of those attempts for 124 yards. The ground attack did not fare much better for the road team in this one as they collected just 51 yards on 26 carries.

The Panthers were led in rushing by junior Kyle Nellis, who accumulated 39 yards on seven carries.

Despite a tough night offensively, Smith liked what he saw in some instances and just wants his team to clean up their mistakes.

“It just comes down to execution,” said Smith. “We had the ball inside the 20-yard-line two or three times and didn’t score. We moved the ball at times, but we really have to minimize the penalties. We had too many self-inflicted wounds, I call them.”

Defensively, Smith also was pleased with the effort his players showed in containing one of the more explosive offenses, and offensive players, in District 9 this season.

“I thought our guys held their ground and we tackled him (Lent),” Smith said. “He had a few big plays, but that is what big time players do. They go make big plays.”

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

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