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TAKE TWO: Keystone Ready for Rematch With Port Allegany in D9 Class A Semifinals

BRADFORD, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The Keystone football team will venture far away from Knox, but there will be an element of home in Bradford for Panthers’ coach Todd Smith when his team takes on Port Allegany in the District 9 Class A semifinals.

(Photo by Madison McFarland)

Smith’s son, Christian, lives and works in Bradford.

A large contingent of the Smith family will make the trek north for the 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday afternoon.

“His birthday is next week,” Smith said. “My family is going to go up and eat lunch with him and they are all going to come over and watch the game. I was pretty excited the game was in Bradford.”

Keystone is also excited to get another crack at Port Allegany.

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

In the regular-season contest, the Panthers led 10-8 before the Gators scored 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 20-10 win.

Even though Keystone lost to the No. 1 seed, Smith was pleased with how his team matched up against physical Port Allegany.

“We felt like we played them really tough,” Smith said. “They’re just a really good football team. We have a lot of respect for them. They play the right way and they’re well-coached. We’re excited to get another chance to play them.”

In that meeting, Keystone’s defense held Port’s potent ground game to just 67 yards on 25 carries.

But it was the arm of quarterback Drew Evens that helped propel the Gators to the win.

Evens was 15 of 29 for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Kyle Nellis rushed for 104 yards in the loss for Keystone against Port Allegany and Aidan Sell added 45 yards on 10 attempts.

Keystone has developed a lot of weapons and they are all healthy heading into this matchup with the winner getting the victor out of the Redbank Valley vs. Brockway game, which is also being played at 1 p.m. on Saturday, for the D9 title.

“We want to spread the ball around,” Smith said. “(Tyler Albright) and Kyle and Aidan — we try to distribute the carries as evenly as we can and make the other team defend all three of them.”

Keystone can also throw the ball when needed.

Sophomore Drew Keth has played well, stepping in for the injured Rayce Weaver.

Keth has completed 40 of 76 for 681 yards and nine TDs.

“Drew’s come a long way in the passing game,” Smith said. “We haven’t had to throw a whole lot, but when we have, he’s been on and made some big plays for us. We feel confident if we need to throw more. We can definitely do that.”

Albright has been a dual threat for the Panthers with 705 yards rushing and 573 yards receiving.

Last week, Keystone won its first playoff game since 1989.

The Panthers would like nothing more than to wait only eight days instead of 33 years for the next one.

“Our guys aren’t ready to stop playing,” Smith said. “We’re just excited to have another playoff game and just lay it all out there and see what we can do.”

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