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Redbank Valley Defense Faces Biggest Challenge to Date in Noah Lent, Smethport

SMETHPORT, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The first time Redbank Valley football coach Blane Gold saw Smethport quarterback Noah Lent play as a sophomore, he knew he was going to be something special.

Lent has lived up to that early analysis.

And then some.

(Senior Ray Schreckengost, right, has been a force at defensive tackle for four years for Redbank Valley/photo by Madison McFarland).

Lent, now a senior at the helm of the Hubbers’ offense, is having a remarkable season with 678 yards passing and 13 touchdowns to just one interception and 918 yards rushing with 16 TDs.

Last week in a 56-18 win over Otto-Eldred, Lent was responsible for all eight Smethport TDs.

“What I always say about Noah Lent,” said Smethport coach Adam Jack, “is I’m glad he’s on my team and I don’t have to play against him.”

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

Gold and Redbank Valley, though, do need to play against Lent and the 5-0 Hubbers when they make the long trek to Smethport Friday night. It will be a showdown of two of the top teams in District 9, Class A.

Gold has experience against Lent, including last year’s district championship game. Redbank Valley slowed down Lent enough to post a 20-6 victory.

This, though, isn’t the same Noah Lent Gold and the Bulldogs will face this time around.

“Watching their five games this year, he’s gotten so much better throwing the football,” Gold said. “What makes him really dangerous is he’s really good at throwing the ball on the run.”

(Smethport senior quarterback Noah Lent has accounted for 29 touchdowns this season for the Hubbers)

That provides a whole new challenge for Redbank Valley’s defense, which so far has lived up to every challenge they have faced.

The Bulldogs shut out Brockway last week and have given up just 34 points this season — 22 coming against Keystone in a season-opening loss in which the Panthers scored two defensive touchdowns and also returned a punt for a score.

“If you pay attention to Redbank and are in the know, their offense gets a lot of attention because they have those big receivers catching everything, but their defense has been in the top five in the state in points allowed,” Jack said. “They’re doing their job and sometimes that gets overlooked.”

Not by Jack, who said he knows Lent and his offense is in for their biggest challenge of the season against Redbank Valley and its aggressive front, namely defensive ends Joe Mansfield and Brandon Ross.

“When you play a Redbank Valley team, one defensive end always gives you fits,” Jack said.

Mansfield gave Brockway fits last week, making a big hit on freshman quarterback Brayden Fox to force a fumble that Ray Schreckengost scooped up for an 18-yard score.

Schreckengost and Kolby Barrett, both four-year starters at defensive tackle, often get overlooked. They were a big part of the reason why Brockway’s running game was stuffed last week.

“Ray is an example of a guy who’s flown under the radar, but he’s started at D-tackle every single game that he’s been healthy,” Gold said. “Everybody loves to talk about Joe and Joe deserves that because Joe’s kind of a flashy guy, a guy who makes plays. But we have a guy in the middle there in Ray who has started every single game since he got here as a freshman.”

Redbank will need all hands on deck defensively against Smethport, which also has weapons around Lent.

One of those guys is senior wide receiver Alex Ognen, who took two years off from football because of health concerns, but is back again this season and playing well.

Ognen has emerged as one of Lent’s go-to targets and Smethport’s big-play receiver. He has 16 catches for 285 yards and eight touchdowns.

“I’ll say this for Alex, too — it’s a lot of fun to have him playing again for us,” Jack said. “Alex same out this year and developed a chemistry with Noah in 7-on-7s. He may not be the fastest kid, but he runs great routes.”

Both coaches have already sensed a different atmosphere in practice ahead of this big game.

“We told the kids these are the games you want to play in,” Jack said. “These are program games, as we like to call them. We haven’t had too much success against Redbank recently, but it’s a good measuring stick for us.”

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