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Redbank Valley Rallies to Topple Northern Bedford County in PIAA Class A Playoffs

CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) – For the second consecutive week, Redbank Valley found itself trailing in a playoff game.

For the second straight week, there was no panic.

(Redbank Valley’s Brenden Shreckengost breaks into the open field/photo by Madison McFarland)

The Bulldogs fell behind 7-0 and 14-7 against District 5 champ Northern Bedford County and each time rallied. It took a 48-yard run by Brenden Shreckengost to give Redbank Valley its first lead of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter and it held up in a 21-14 win over the Panthers at Clarion University Friday night in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.

Shreckengost came into the game with just 55 yards rushing this season. Ray Shreckengost had been the bell cow in the running game for Redbank with 878 yards, but he was unavailable Friday night.

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

The team found out just a few hours before the game that Ray Shreckengost would not play for unspecified reasons. Instead, his best friend on the team, Brenden Shreckengost (no relation to Ray) got the start and rumbled for 137 yards on 20 carries, including the game-winning score in the fourth quarter.

“When we found our about Ray, our football team was very emotional,” said Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold. “Ray is one of our captains and a big part of our team.”

So is Brenden Shreckengost – nicknamed “Boo” – on defense, even though he’s one of the smallest players on the roster.

“We were concerned about Boo emotionally,” Gold said. “We said, ‘Take that heartache and pain you’re feeling and run for (Ray) tonight.’ His effort was just incredible. I can’t say enough about the kids. He’s 5-foot-3 and 135 pounds.”

Redbank Valley (12-1) fell behind 7-0 when Eion Snider scored from 4 yards out with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter to give NBC a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs didn’t take long to respond.

Brenden Shreckengost made his first big impact in the game with a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to knot the game at 7-7.

The senior bobbled the ball a few times before gathering it at the 25, sprinted to his right, broke a few tackles and raced down the sideline for the score.

NBC (9-4) moved ahead again late in the second quarter on another TD run by Snider, this one from the 2, for a 14-7 lead at the half.

Chris Marshall caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Gunner Mangiantini with 5:09 remaining in the third quarter to tie the game for the second time at 14-14.

That set up the winning TD run by Brenden Shreckengost to start the fourth.

(Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold reacts after the Bulldogs’ win/photo by Madison McFarland)

“We felt like one area that we had an edge tonight was we felt our offensive line would be able to be successful against their defensive line,” Gold said. “We felt like no matter who we put in the backfield was going to be able to gain yardage. As much credit as goes to Boo, a lot of credit also goes to the offensive line because if you’re going to have a kid who is 5-3 and 135 pounds rush for 137 yards, you have to have some pretty good blocking up front.”

Redbank Valley’s defense secured the win with a late goal-line stand, stuffing NBC on a fourth-and-2 from the 4 with 40 seconds remaining.

NBC’s trio of young stars – Snider, Adam Johnson and Aaron Bowers – were mostly held in check.

Snider, the sophomore quarterback, did throw for 93 yards, but he was held to 5 yards on the ground. Johnson managed 96 yards rushing on 25 carries and Bowers caught just one pass for 36 yards.

Mangiantini made the most of his chances for Redbank Valley.

He completed both passing attempts for 45 yards and a score.

Senior quarterback Bryson Bain had a difficult night passing in tough cold and snowy conditions. He was 3 of 9 for 44 yards and two interceptions.

Still, it was another state playoff win for Redbank Valley.

The Bulldogs find themselves in the PIAA Class A semifinals for the first time in school history.

“Sometimes the most enjoyable things in life are on the other side of valleys,” Gold said. “We went through a valley today with some of the emotional stuff we had to deal with. Tonight is a special one that I’ll remember forever because they dealt with adversity before the game and through the entire game.

“We’re the first team in school history with 12 wins,” Gold added. “We’re the first team to get to the semifinals.”

Redbank Valley will play WPIAL (District 7) champion Bishop Canevin next week at a site and time to be determined in the semis.

Bishop Canevin (13-1) rolled past OLSH 42-7 Friday afternoon at Heinz Field for its first district title in 31 years.

“As a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, the only thing you ever want is a chance to go to Hershey,” Gold said. “This team has earned the right to play a game with a chance to go to Hershey and I’m so proud of what they’ve battled through. That’s all we can ask for right now. A chance.”

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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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