The slightly shortened 2020 high school football season had no shortage of big plays. Leaping catches, defensive stands, and key turnovers were as present as always in the fight for the D9 Titles. To highlight some of the most exceptional plays of the season, D9sports.com and Explore Your Town have compiled their top ten plays of the season.
(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography.)
All games that were covered with video by our staff are fair game to be selected, but some top plays may be omitted due to a lack of clear video. If you have a top play from the season on video that isn’t on the list, feel free to email the video with a short description to firstname.lastname@example.org. The play will be included in a future article.
10: Union/A-C Valley’s Tanner Merwin Scores on a Physical Run
Despite possessing a small squad of just over 20 players, the Union/A-C Valley Falcon Knights were one of the premier teams in D9 this season due in part to their physical brand of football. This touchdown run by quarterback Tanner Merwin displays the powerful rushing of the Falcon Knights offense. The touchdown was one of many during the Falcon Knights’ big win over Curwensville.
9: Punxsutawney’s Big Blocking Clears the way for Kameron Falgout
Lineman highlights are sometimes hard to find, but this long touchdown run by Kameron Falgout showcases a powerful offensive line at work. Led by D9 O-line MVP Brandon Ishman, the Chucks front parted the sea for Kameron Falgout, who used his explosive speed to score the Chucks’ first points of 2020.
8: Brookville’s Robert Keth Snags One-Handed Grab for TD
Robert Keth was one of the biggest playmakers in Brookville’s explosive offense, and catches like this are the reason why. Keth used his strength to fight through the cornerback, his leaping ability to get to the football, and his coordination and skill to pull off the one-handed catch. The touchdown helped increase the lead during Brookville’s big win over Moniteau.
7: Central Clarion Stuffs Karns City to Win Game
After Central Clarion trailed Karns City 35-15 after three quarters, the Wildcats mounted a massive comeback, taking advantage of turnovers to surge to a 43-35 lead with 1:28 to play. Needing a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game, Karns City surged down the field, scoring a touchdown as time expired. On the two-point conversion attempt, the Wildcats’ defense stood firm, stuffing the inside run to finish off the comeback victory.
6: Redbank Valley Scores Key Safety vs Union/A-C Valley
Defense was king in the midseason contest between Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley. In a scoreless game in the second quarter, Redbank Valley’s Joe Mansfield was able to bust through the Falcon Knights’ line, sacking the quarterback to force a safety. The points proved pivotal, as the Bulldogs won a narrow 10-7 decision over the Falcon Knights, with the win propelling Redbank Valley to a conference title.
5: Redbank Valley’s Trenten Rupp Retakes the Momentum with a Pick
Redbank Valley jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in their state playoff game, but the Bulldogs conceded a safety. On the subsequent drive, Northern Bedford entered Redbank Valley territory, threatening to seize the momentum with a quick touchdown. On a first down play from the Bulldogs’ 33 yard-line, Trenten Rupp intercepted a deep pass and returned the ball back to the Bulldogs 30 yard-line. The play was one of many key turnovers in the win, which was Redbank Valley’s first state playoff victory in program history.
4: Role Reversal: Keth Connects with Krug for Brookville Fake Punt TD
In perhaps the most creative play of the season, Brookville scored on a cleverly executed fake punt in their playoff victory over Ridgway. Receiver Robert Keth lined up as the punter, while quarterback Jack Krug functioned as the long snapper. After snapping the ball, Krug snuck off into space, finding a hole in the defense to receive a lofted pass from Keth. Krug hauled in the pass and used his exceptional speed to beat the last defender and find the endzone for one of his seven total touchdowns in Brookville’s dominant playoff win.
3: Karns City Denies Brookville on 4th Down
Karns City scored the upset of the season as they toppled Brookville to win the D9 Class AA title. With Karns City trailing 14-13 and Brookville driving deep into Gremlins’ territory, the Gremlins needed a stop to stay in the game. After a Nathan Waltman tackle stopped the Raiders on a 3rd-and-1 run, Cole Coon and Waltman combined to deny Brookville on 4th down, halting Brookville’s drive with 10:00 to go in the fourth quarter. The stop kept the Brookville lead at one, allowing Karns City to win the game with a late field goal.
2: Redbank Valley’s Trenten Rupp Scores on a Flawless Team Effort
With the Bulldogs leading Coudersport 14-0 in the D9 Class A Semifinals, the Bulldogs ran a perfectly executed play, with Cam Wagner finding Trenten Rupp on a short out route. Two incredible downfield blocks by Dalton Bish and Christopher Marshall turned a short gain into a big play, clearing the way for the athletic Rupp to sidestep a defender and sprint to the endzone. The key touchdown put Redbank Valley up by three possessions, allowing the Bulldogs to cruise into the D9 finals.
1: Karns City’s Owen Colwell Kicks the Game-Winning Field Goal vs Brookville
With the pressure on and the D9 Class AA Title on the line, Owen Colwell knocked home a 27-yard field goal to win the championship for Karns City. Working against the cold weather, Colwell ignored the discomfort and pressure to finish off a spectacular team effort by Karns City, handing Brookville their only loss of 2020. The clutch nature and championship implications of the big kick make the play the number one play of the 2020 season.