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Redbank Valley Uses Dominant First Half to Topple Keystone, 42-7

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) – In a clash of undefeated teams, Redbank Valley prevailed over Keystone on the strength of a dominant first half en route to a 42-7 victory. 

(Above, Aiden Ortz finds some running room for Redbank Valley/photo by Madison McFarland)

The Bulldogs improve to 4-0 on the season while Keystone drops to 3-1.

“Tonight was a big win with the top spot in Region 2 on the line,” Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold said. “If we can get a two touchdown lead, we feel like we can get teams like Keystone out of their element.”

For a game in which things seemed to go Redbank’s way for the majority of the night, things started quite the opposite as Keystone started out with the ball and began putting together a nice opening drive.

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

A 32-yard carry by senior running back Kyle Nellis set up the Panthers deep in Redbank Valley territory.

While it seemed as if the Bulldogs defense would get a defensive stop, the Keystone offense managed to break through on a fourth-and-6 situation, ending with a 7-yard touchdown run for Nellis.

It took the Redbank Valley offense just over a minute to respond as quarterback Cam Wagner found fellow senior Aiden Ortz for a 65-yard pitch-and-catch, tying things up at 7-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, the bad breaks for Keystone began to slowly mount as a fumble on the return set up the Bulldogs in prime position to take the lead.

The Bulldogs did just that as Wagner hooked up with junior wideout Ashton Kahle from 30 yards out, giving Redbank Valley a 14-7 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

The ensuing Keystone possession ended in a punt.

With time winding down past the 15-second mark, the Bulldogs were on the prowl once again from the Keystone 5.

Wagner, who had two passing touchdowns in his pocket up to this point, showed off his dual-threat ability, scrambling out to his right before finding an open Owen Clouse and a 21-7 margin to end the first quarter.

On the ensuing Keystone possession, the offense, led by Rayce Weaver, failed to find its groove. The possession ended with Kahle securing an over-the-shoulder interception.

Just seconds later, the Bulldogs offense fired quickly with a 52-yard reception by Clouse. At the 10:11 mark, Wagner and Kahle hooked up once again from 16-yards out, putting the score at 28-7.

Wagner tacked on one more throwing touchdown midway through the second quarter, finding Clouse from 15-yards out and putting the Bulldogs up 35-7.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ortz broke off an 86-yard touchdown on a flip pass from Wagner with about 4:10 remaining in the half, setting the final score at 42-7.

Redbank Valley’s defense did an outstanding job limiting the Keystone offense, not only after their opening score, but throughout the remainder of the game.

“I’ll put my DBs up against any 1A school in the state,” Gold said. “Once we got that two touchdown lead, five turnovers later, we were able to get that clock down.”

Wagner finished 11-of-13 passing with 325 yards and six TDs. He also took home Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game honor.

“We’ve had full confidence in giving Cam the reigns of our offense,” Gold noted. “We’re seeing the production to go along with it.”

Kahle totaled 110 yards on five catches with three touchdowns while Clouse checked in with 100 yards on four grabs.

On the other side, Weaver completed 3-of-10 passes for 21 yards and three interceptions.

Nellis finished with 92 yards on 18 carries.

Both teams will be on the road next week as Redbank Valley visits Ridgway, while Keystone will travel to Smethport.

For Panthers’ coach Todd Smith, all he and his team can do now is look to rebound next week.

“Not much to say — we lost to a good team,” Smith said. “They are very athletic and have a lot of team speed. We made too many mistakes tonight. We have some work to do and we bounce back next week.”

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