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‘Heart of a Lion’: Brenden ‘Boo’ Shreckengost Answers the Call and Delivers for Redbank Valley

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — When Brenden Shreckengost was just a toddler, he was injury prone.

He’d run through the house, as most little boys want to do, fall and get hurt. His mother called them “boo-boos” and, eventually, a nickname was born.

(Above photo by Madison McFarland)


It’s stuck throughout his life.

Shreckengost cherishes the nickname.

His parents died when he was five. Being called Boo is a way to honor his mother’s memory.

“I love the nickname because it’s one of the many ways I can keep her with me,” Shreckengost said.

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

His grandparents have raised Shreckengost and his older sister, Shylie, and football soon became a calling for Shreckengost.

He’s no longer injury-prone. Instead, the senior has become a rock for the Redbank Valley football team despite his 5-foot-3, 135-pound frame.

Growing up, Shreckengost has always been easily overlooked. He’s used that as fuel. Powered him. Made him let his play and attitude do the talking.

“He’s got the heart of a lion,” said Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold. “He’s the most respected player on this team.”

Shreckengost has excelled on the defensive side of the ball for the Bulldogs. This year has been one of his best with 68 tackles and 10 stops for a loss.

Friday in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals, Shreckengost got the chance to shine on offense under difficult conditions.

With starting running back Ray Shreckengost (not related to Brenden) unavailable against Northern Bedford County because of off-the-field issues, Boo became a featured back for the first time in his career.

He didn’t let that chance go to waste.

Shreckengost came into that playoff game with just 55 yards rushing this season. He ran for 137 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the 21-14 triumph over NBC that sent Redbank Valley to its first state semifinal berth in school history.

“This is the first time in his life that he was used as a featured back,” Gold said. “He’s a kid who is always prepared mentally and physically. He’s always ready to do play whatever position we put him in.”

Just hours before the game, the team found out Ray Shreckengost would be out. Ray and Boo are close friends, and the situation hit Brenden Shreckengost particularly hard.

But, he was able to put that aside. His 75-yard kickoff return after North Bedford’s touchdown on the opening drive gave Redbank Valley the boost it needed.

“I was worried the events of the day would be an emotional anchor,” Gold said. “But, it’s almost like Boo, with the kickoff return, basically said, ‘I got you guys. It’s gonna be OK.’ And I think that kickoff return just kind of freed everyone up. As weird as it sounds, it was almost like Boo gave them permission to play.”

Shreckengost has mostly been a role player on offense. Now, he’ll be the main guy in the backfield going forward this week against WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin on Friday at North Hills’ Martorelli Stadium.

He’s ready for the challenge.

He prides himself on facing anything and playing much bigger than what the tape and scale say.

“Yeah, I’ve had to deal with that over the years,” Shreckengost said. “I’ve never allowed that to be an issue. I play with a lot of heart and a chip on my shoulder. I think it gives me a little bit of an edge because people underestimate me.”

His teammates don’t.

Shreckengost leads mostly by example. He doesn’t talk a lot, and he’s not a rah-rah kind of guy.

He doesn’t have to be. Shreckengost is a guy the whole team has been able to rally around.

“Obviously every team has its little cliques,” Gold said. “We have a group that are basketball players. We have a group that are good baseball players. This team gets along very well in general, but obviously, there are those natural friendships. But, no matter what small clique anybody on this team is a part of, everyone on this team has a tremendous amount of respect and rallied around Boo.”

Shreckengost said he didn’t realize how many yards he was piling up against Northern Bedford until after the game.

His 48-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Redbank the lead for good. On the run, he showed his strength, bouncing off a tackler, spinning, and then outrunning another NBC defender on his way to the end zone.

“I knew I was doing pretty well,” Shreckengost said. “But not 137 yards well. It was definitely different stepping in like that, but I was glad I was able to do it. It was fun.”

Gold said the moment couldn’t have happened to a better young man.

“He’s just one of those kids who deserves everything he gets,” Gold said. “He deserves to soak up every bit of it because he’s a guy who has always flown under the radar.”

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