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THE PICK SIX: Redbank Valley’s Marshall Will Always Be Linked to Iconic INT as He Heads Off to Play Football at Clarion University

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — His name will forever be linked to one play.

“The Pick Six.”

(Photo by Madison McFarland)

But Chris Marshall’s two years on the Redbank Valley football team had plenty of other highlights.

Enough to land him a spot at Clarion University for the next four years.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“Chris’ performance in the postseason, when we needed him the most and when the stakes were the highest, is what will be remembered the most,” said Bulldog football coach Blane Gold.

Marshall was at his best in crunch time.

In nine playoff games with Redbank Valley in the two years he played football, Marshall caught 27 passes for 432 yards and seven touchdowns as a wide receiver and recorded 61 tackles and intercepted four passes as a safety.

None of those interceptions were bigger than the 98-yard pick six he had against Bishop Canevin in the PIAA Class A semifinals at North Hills’ Martorelli Stadium in December.

The Crusaders were up 14-7 and driving for another TD when Marshall stepped in front of a pass from Jason Cross intended for Xavier Nelson, caught it in full stride, and galloped down the far sideline while waving to the Bulldog fans for a momentum-shifting score.

Redbank Valley went on to win, 23-14, to advance to the state title game in Hershey.

It’s the most iconic play in Bulldog football history and it will be commemorated at the school with a plaque.

“I watched it the other day at our banquet,” Marshall said. “I still think about it a lot. It was definitely really, really fun.”

Gold said he has never seen one play impact a game, especially one that deep in the playoffs, so profoundly. But it did.

Also lost in the shuffle was the fact that Marshall made another key play late in that game with another drive-ending interception that erased all hope of a Bishop Canevin comeback.

Marshall also had 19 tackles in the 21-14 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the state title game.

“I found a picture from Bishop Canevin’s Facebook page of (‘The Pick Six’),” Gold said. “It was the last picture in a series of pictures. It’s an angle where the ball is just getting released and Chris isn’t even in the picture, he wasn’t even in the vicinity to make a play, but his athleticism made the play.”

It’s that athleticism and his size — Marshall is 6-foot-4 — that made him a highly coveted prospect among Division II universities.

Ultimately, Marshall decided to stay close to home at Clarion University. He wants to be a part of the rebuild there.

“I’m kind of looking forward to helping turn that program around,” Marshall said.

Marshall played football all through his youth and into junior high, but stepped away from the gridiron to focus on basketball.

His father, Emmanuel Marshall, is the boys basketball coach at Redbank Valley.

But just before his junior year, Marshall decided to play football again. His friend, Marquese Gardlock, was also going out for football for the first time and helped convince Marshall to give it a shot.

“I knew I could be good at football because I played football when I was little and was pretty good,” Marshall said. “But I stopped. The first couple of weeks, me and Quese kind of just ran with the No. 2s and learned the offense and the ways of everything. We worked our way up and got some pretty good playing time in the first game.”

It wasn’t long before both were fixtures on the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Gardlock also landed a Division II scholarship at California University of Pennsylvania as a cornerback.

Locking up spots at the D-II level has become more difficult for high school prospects because of the NCAA transfer portal. More and more Division I players are finding their ways onto Division II rosters, leaving fewer opportunities.

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in recent years has been a popular landing spot for those players entering the portal.

“I think any time a player goes from District 9 to a PSAC school, it’s a big deal,” Gold said. “It’s an even bigger deal now, just because of how that portal has probably taken away opportunities from high school athletes. So, you gotta be really happy and proud of those guys.”

Marshall has a clear mission to get ready for college football in the fall.

“I’m definitely putting on a little weight,” Marshall said. “I probably need 10, 15 more pounds than where I’m at right now. I’m going to work on my footwork and speed stuff. Just get stronger.”

Marshall enters a Clarion program that is almost starting from scratch.

The Golden Eagles hired Raymond Monica has head football coach in February. He takes over for Chris Weibel, who was let go after going 19-46, including an 0-10 campaign in 2021.

“It was kind of a long wait (to sign) because they were in that transition there to a new coach and things like that,” Marshall said. “It was a huge weight off of my shoulders.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.



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