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The 2 and 22 Show: Albright, Nellis Combine for Five Touchdowns as Keystone Downs Union/A-C Valley, 43-7

RIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Two plus 22 added up to a lot of big plays and points for the Keystone football team.

Tyler Albright rushed for 95 yards on nine carries and a touchdown and also intercepted a pass and returned it for another score, and Kyle Nellis gained 142 yards on the ground and found the end zone three times as the Panthers rolled to a 43-7 road win over Union/A-C Valley on Friday night.

(Above, Keystone coach Todd Smith talks with his team after the victory over Union/A-C Valley.)

The duo did a lot of their damage out of the wing-T formation on counter plays.

Union/A-C Valley knew Keystone was going to run it.

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

It didn’t matter.

“We knew all that stuff was coming,” said Falcon Knights’ coach Brad Dittman. “And we couldn’t stop it. We knew it was going to be the two and 22 show and we were really undisciplined on defense at times.”

Six of Albright’s nine rushing attempts went for 10 yards or more. Nellis also busted off chunk runs on his 17 carries, including a 39-yard scoring scamper in the second quarter that gave the Panthers a 16-0 lead and an 11-yard TD run that closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“That play worked really well for us tonight, I’d say,” Albright said, grinning. “We were getting 10 yards plus every time we ran it.”

And Keystone ran it a good bit.

It was a special teams play, though, that got the Panthers going.

The two teams played to a stalemate for much of the first quarter with neither offense gaining much traction. Then Elijah Will broke the deadlock, grabbing a blocked punt out of the air and returning it six yards for the first score of the game late in the first.

Albright plowed into the end zone on the 2-point conversion to make it 8-0 Keystone.

“We struggled, honestly, with penalties as the beginning,” said Keystone coach Todd Smith. “It kept knocking us back. I thought all three phases we played pretty well tonight.”

Union/A-C Valley had a golden opportunity to wrest the momentum back after Bailey Crissman pounced on a loose ball at the Keystone 20. But the Falcon Knights could do nothing with it, giving the ball back on downs to the Panthers at the 21.

Six plays later, Nellis broke free to give Keystone the 16-0 lead.

The Panthers got another break near the end of the half when they forced a Union/A-C Valley fumble and recovered it at the Falcon Knights’ 19. Two plays later, Rayce Weaver scored on a 1-yard sneak to make it 22-0 with 1:12 remaining on the clock.

It was the symptom of a larger illness for Union/A-C Valley so far this season.

“The blocked punt for the touchdown. The fumble when we’re just trying to maybe break a run off and do something before the half. The interception here in the second half for the touchdown,” Dittman lamented. “Those are big plays and big turnovers that led to points for them.”

Meanwhile, Union/A-C Valley struggled offensively for the second straight week.

Mikey Card managed 71 yards on 11 carries for the Falcon Knights, but 47 of them came on a run on the final play of the first half.

Brody Dittman was just 4 of 17 for 32 yards and two interceptions, and penalties were again abundant for Union/A-C Valley.

“We have to be a whole lot better,” Dittman said. “We have to do a better job having these kids prepared. That’s 100% on me.”

Keystone’s defense had a lot to do with some of Union/A-C Valley’s troubles.

The Panthers are blessed with a big and physical front and active linebackers.

Then there’s Albright roaming the secondary.

His 36-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter put the game away after Union/A-C Valley had given itself a glimmer of hope when Brody Dittman found Skyler Roxbury on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap a long scoring drive that made it 22-7.

Nellis’ second score of the game — a 5-yard run — was the answer Keystone was looking for.

Albright’s pick-six was the nail in the coffin.

“I was hoping I would make it out of this game with an interception,” Albright said, smiling.

Keystone (2-0) made it out of this game with another win and a 2-0 start under first-year coach Smith.

“We’re doing a great job up front and the guys are buying in,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter who touches the ball or who scores the touchdowns as long as Keystone wins at the end of the game.

“We’re playing good team D,” he added. “We’re getting people to the football and that’s what it takes. I’m just proud of the effort from our guys.”

For Union/A-C Valley (1-1), there will be some soul searching this week with another tough test on the horizon next week against Central Clarion.

“I told them I think we’re a good football team,” Coach Dittman said. “We’re just playing poorly right now. But I believe we’re a good football team. I 100% told them that I hope this is a wake up call for them, that we can’t just think because we step on the field, we’re gonna win. We have to come out here and put the work in and we’re not doing that right now.”

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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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