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Redbank Valley Falls Short in Quest for Class A State Football Title, Losing 21-14 to Bishop Guilfoyle

HERSHEY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Blane Gold’s voice cracked. Bryson Bain’s lips quivered.

It was an emotional day. An emotional game. An emotional end.

(Photos by Madison McFarland/EYT Media)

The Redbank Valley football team took body blow after body blow from Bishop Guilfoyle in the PIAA Class A championship game at Hersheypark Stadium Thursday afternoon. The Bulldogs punched back — twice — tying the game at 7-7 and again at 14-14.

The Marauders landed the decisive haymaker on a 14-yard touchdown run by Cooper Rother late in the game, closing the remarkable Redbank Valley season with a heartbreaking 21-14 loss.

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“Just to get here,” Bain said, pausing to gather his thoughts and contain his emotions, “was special. I mean, right now, it’s kind of hard to see it that way. In a couple of days maybe we’ll see it that way. Right now, though, it hurts. It just really hurts.”

Two big pass plays by Bishop Guilfoyle also hurt. The Marauders’ ball-control offense stung. So did their pass rush, which besieged Bain all game.

Still, Redbank Valley was in a tie game with less than four minutes remaining in a state championship.

The Bulldogs just couldn’t conjure up one more big play. One more rally.

Facing a fourth-and-17 at the BG 40 with 43 seconds remaining, Bain scooped up a bad snap off the turf, got his eyes down field and lofted a deep shot in the middle of the field that was intercepted by Karson Kiesewetter to ice the game.

Bain’s arm had brought Redbank Valley (13-2) back from two seven-point deficits. He hit Marquese Gardlock down the left sideline on a perfectly placed throw from 39 yards out to make it 7-7 in the third quarter.

In the fourth, he found Gardlock again, this time from 38 yards, at the end of a trick play to make it 14-14.

That second score began with Chris Marshall taking the snap in the shotgun and handing it to Austin Kahle on a jet sweep. Kahle, though, pitched it back to Bain, who was lined up out wide, and the senior tossed a perfect pass to a wide-open Gardlock to tie the game.

“Coach (Jason) Kundick doesn’t like to run trick plays, but we really liked that one this week and it was such a big moment,” said Gold, Redbank Valley’s head football coach. “I have to fight Jason to practice trick plays, so I give him a ton of credit for doing something he necessarily doesn’t like to do.”

(Redbank Valley senior Marquese Gardlock was the Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game after catching four passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns)

There wasn’t many plays for Kundick, the offensive coordinator, to call — period — in the first half.

That’s because Bishop Guilfoyle controlled the clock, winning the time of possession battle 19:28 to 4:32. The Marauders ran 36 plays to 19 for the Bulldogs and had 11 first downs to just two for Redbank.

Still it was just 7-0 on the strength of a 1-yard sneak by Kiesewetter.

Bishop Guilfoyle had a 19-play drive stall at the Redbank Valley 20 when Kiesewetter was stuffed on a fourth-and-1. Still, the march — which began at the BG 7 — shaved more than 10 minutes off the clock.

Kiesewetter rushed for 101 yards on 22 carries in the first half alone. The Bishop Guilfoyle quarterback operated out of a unique formation with seven lineman up front and three backs directly in front of him while in the shotgun.

In the second quarter and in the second half, Redbank Valley adjusted, got more push up front, and were beginning to stop the run.

That’s when the Marauders went to the air for two huge plays.

The first was out of that formation that looked like something out of the 1930s newsreels. Kiesewetter faked a run, stopped, and threw a jump pass to Anthony Cioffari, who had leaked out of the backfield, for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.

After Redbank Valley rallied again to tie, Kiesewetter hit Rother on a 43-yard pass. Two plays later, Rother scored what would be the game-winning touchdown.

“I’m so proud of our guys,” said Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler. “Hats off to Redbank. They battled to the end in a heck of a football game and a heck of a state championship.”

Wheeler has relied on Kiesewetter all season after senior Haiden Garner had to call it a season in Week 2 after tearing his ACL in the offseason.

He relied on him a great deal again. Kiesewetter finished with 128 yards on 30 carries.

“Karson has been unbelievable the last couple of weeks — really all season — but in the playoffs, he just hit a new gear,” Wheeler said. “I mean, he’s making plays that were awesome. He makes big plays in big moments. I’m so excited for him.”

Bishop Guilfoyle (12-4) provided a nice moment at the end of the game when Garner, who dressed, took the last two kneel downs to end the game.

Redbank Valley had many special moments this season, which started with a 22-20 loss to rival Keystone.

The Bulldogs won 13 straight games after that setback and rallied from 14-point deficits twice in the playoffs to move on.

“When you look at how the season started, a lot of people were really questioning what this team was made up of, if they were the real deal or not,” Gold said. “The most memorable things for me are the what they did to overcome adversity and what they did to battle back. That’s what football is all about. They battled … and took it right down to the very last snap of their careers.

“They took it right down to the wire and I’m proud of that,” Gold added. “I thought last year that senior group was going to be hard to replace. Each senior group is unique in their own ways. But, I mean, this senior group took us to a place that it’s never been before, so it’s gonna be really hard to replace these guys.”


Redbank Valley 0 0 7 7 — 14
Bishop Guilfoyle 7 0 7 7 — 21

Scoring Summary
First quarter

BG — Karson Kiesewetter 1 run (Deven Wyandt kick), :26

Third quarter
RV — Marquese Gardlock 39 pass from Bryson Bain (Tyson Adams kick), 4:18
BG — Anthony Cioffari 57 pass from Kiesewetter (Wyandt kick), 2:47

Fourth quarter
RV — Gardlock 38 pass from Bain (Adams kick), 4:38
BG — Cooper Rother 14 run (Wyandt kick), 3:21

Individual statistics
Rushing: Redbank Valley, Boo Shreckengost 12-47, Chris Marshall 1-1, Bryson Bain 11-(-9), TEAM 1-(-12); Bishop Guilfoyle, Karson Kiesewetter 30-128, Cooper Rother 18-96, Drew Abraham 2-6.

Passing: Redbank Valley, Bryson Bain 12-26-138-1; Bishop Guilfoyle, Karson Kiesewetter 4-5-119-0.

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

Team Statistics
First downs: Redbank Valley 10; Bishop Guilfoyle 17
Rushing yards: Redbank Valley 27; Bishop Guilfoyle 230
Passing yards: Redbank Valley 138; Bishop Guilfoyle 119
Penalties: Redbank Valley 3-15; Bishop Guilfoyle 7-82

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