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Redbank Valley Wins Second Consecutive Class A Title After Union/A-C Valley Rallies From 21 Points Down

CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) – Sometimes in sports, especially at the high school level, it is hard when a team builds a big lead early in a contest as Redbank Valley found out in building a 21-0 lead only to see Union/A-C Valley rally to tie the game at 21-21 through three quarters.

Ray Shreckengost scored on a 1-yard plunge with 4:39 to play, giving Redbank Valley the 28-21 victory for their second straight District 9 Class A playoff title on Friday evening at Memorial Field at Clarion University.

(Photos by Madison McFarland)

After the Shreckengost score, the Falcon Knights had another chance, but faced with a fourth down from their own 41-yard line decided to punt with just over three minutes to play.

Redbank was able to gain a first down while forcing Union/A-C Valley to use all three of their timeouts and the Bulldogs were able to run the rest of the time out to seal the victory.

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

“If we’d have been five or 10 yards further up the field, we probably would have gone for it in that situation,” said Union/ACV coach Brad Dittman. “But we had three timeouts and over three minutes to go, so I felt if our defense could have stopped them, we could have gotten another chance. They got a first down and we used up the timeouts, so it wasn’t meant to be.”

After winning the opening coin toss, Redbank Valley took the ball and scored on their second play from scrimmage when Bryson Bain connected on a 64-yard touchdown pass to Chris Marshall. Derrick Downs made the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead at the 11:11 mark of the first.

The Bulldog defense forced a three and out on the Falcon Knights’ first possession.

After the punt, the Bulldogs took over at their own 34. Redbank Valley chewed up seven minutes of clock time, marching 66 yards in 14 plays with Shreckengost scoring his first touchdown of the game from 10 yards out. Downs made another PAT for a 14-0 lead with 4:18 to play.

Redbank Valley then forced another punt, but this time the snap was mishandled, and Carsen Rupp picked up the blocked punt and raced 27 yards for another Bulldog touchdown. The PAT kick made the score 21-0 after one quarter.

We wanted to try and not give up the big plays and they got one right off the bat,” said Dittman. “They also got that blocked punt, which our punter just bobbled and wasn’t able to get it off. To be down 21-0 and to have these guys fight and claw means a lot, and I have no words for that kind of heart.”

Each team would be stopped on downs in each other’s territory with Union/ACV being stopped at the Bulldogs’ 15, while Redbank Valley drove to the Falcon Knight 32 before being stopped.

A double-reverse pass from Ryan Cooper to Skylar Roxbury netted 38 yards on the first play of the drive, moving the ball from their own 32 to the Bulldog 38. Two plays later, Caden Rainey had a 31-yard touchdown run negated by a holding penalty. However, the Falcon Knights would eventually break through when Roxbury hauled in a 12-yard pass from Brody Dittman to put Union/ACV on the scoreboard. Colton Murray made the PAT kick to cut the lead to 21-7 at the 4:27 mark of the second.

Redbank Valley appeared to put themselves in great position to score again as Bain connected on a 52-yard catch and run to Brenden Shreckengost, who took the ball from their own 46 to the Union/ACV 2-yard line. However, a fumble on the next play was recovered by the Falcon Knights in the end zone.

“We got up 21-0 and then they got a touchdown to make it 21-7,” said Redbank Valley head coach Blaine Gold. “We talk about football being a game of momentum. We seemed to get it back when we had that pass down to the 2, and then we fumble and give the momentum right back to them. From there we had a hard time stopping their momentum.”

An interception after the fumble recovery gave the ball back to Redbank Valley and they were able to run out the rest of the clock for a 21-7 halftime lead.

Union/ACV took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 60 yards on six plays with Dawson Camper scoring from 1-yard out. A bad snap on the PAT kick turned into a Ryan Cooper 2-point run to cut the lead to 21-15 at the 9:09 mark of the third quarter.

Redbank Valley, which would not gain a first down the entire third quarter, fumbled on its opening play of the second half to give the ball back to Union/ACV at the Bulldog 37.

Ten plays later, Brody Dittman connected with Cooper on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick sailed wide, leaving the score 21-21 after three quarters.

“They didn’t really do anything we didn’t expect,” said Gold. “They just made plays. Those two touchdown catches weren’t like they blew by our guys as we had good coverage on both, and they just came down with the ball. I swear that team is the best second-half team I’ve ever seen. They were down at least three times and came back and won this year.”

After forcing a punt early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs took over at their own 23. Redbank Valley chewed nearly seven minutes off the clock in 11 plays that ended in Ray Shreckengost’s second touchdown of the game, this time from a yard out. The PAT kick made the score 28-21 at the 4:39 mark.

Union/ACV gained four yards in three plays before deciding to punt, setting up the final sequence where Redbank was able to run out the remainder of the clock to seal the win.

Ray Shreckengost led the Redbank Valley ground game with 92 yards on 19 carries with two scores.

Bain completed 15-of-24 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown. However, only 45 of those yards came in the second half.

Marshall caught five passes for 100 yards with a score, while Ashton Kahle caught two passes for 68 yards.

“It feels great to go back-to-back,” said Gold. “Last year with COVID and everything we only played like eight games and four of those were in the playoffs. This year we played a full schedule, and it was the usual grind. We lost Marquese Gardlock for essentially three games due to the bye. We played all challengers in a 12-game schedule. The way we lost that first game and to have these kids reel off 11 wins in a row is a credit to the work they put in week after week. If you are practicing on Thanksgiving Day it means you must be playing pretty well.”

Rainey rushed seven times for 41 yards to lead the Falcon Knights. Dawson Camper added 27 yards on 12 attempts with a score.

Brody Dittman completed 15-of-23 passes for 169 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Cooper caught six passes for 93 yards while Roxbury caught four passes for 61 yards with each scoring a touchdown.

“We want to use this as a growing point for our team,” said Brad Dittman. “Our seniors worked hard to get us here and it shows the younger guys what they need to do to try and get back here. I’m looking forward to having a great group of kids back next season.”

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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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