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Two Late Touchdowns Propel Port Allegany to 20-10 Victory Over Keystone

KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The defenses were dominating.

First downs were difficult to come by.

Points? Forget about a flurry in the first 15 minutes.

But in the end, the Port Allegany football team was able to break through a lengthy deadlock with two big plays each on offense and defense in the fourth quarter in a 20-10 road win at Keystone on Friday night.

Trailing 10-8, Drew Evens found Noah Archer over the middle for a 49-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-10 with 4:46 remaining in the game.

Just two minutes later, Archer broke free on a 21-yard TD run to put the Gators up by two scores.

Nothing, though, was easy for either team.

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

“We left a lot of plays on the field tonight, but that’s a credit to them,” said Port Allegany coach Justin Bienkowski. “Let’s make no mistake about it. As I point down to that Keystone team, that is one heck of a well-coached football team and one heck of a group of kids who play the game hard with respect, dignity and class.”

Keystone (5-4) got on the board first on a 37-yard touchdown run by Kyle Nellis, who is still dealing with a nagging ankle injury.

He looked good throughout, though, with 103 yards rushing on 19 carries.

“Kyle was close to 100% tonight,” said Keystone coach Todd Smith. “It’d be nice to get him back on defense, too.”

Port Allegany (8-1), though, answered with a 1-yard plunge by Blaine Moses, who also plowed into the end zone on the 2-point conversion, for an 8-7 Gator lead less than 10 minutes into the game.

Josh Beal booted a 26 yard field goal early in the second quarter to put Keystone back up 10-8.

The score stayed that way until late in the fourth quarter.

Keystone’s defensive line was stout and helped neutralize Port Allegany’s potent running game, especially in the first half.

The Gators had just 17 yards on the ground in the first two quarters.

“We’re good up front,” Smith said. “We have some solid guys up there and we can match up with people. They had to do some different things to win the game tonight.”

With its running game stalled, Bienkowski decided to put the game in Evens’ hands.

Evens threw the ball 29 times, completing 15 for 171 yards and a touchdown.

The only other game in which Evens attempted even close to that many passes was in Week 2 against Central Clarion, when he put the ball in the air 33 times in a 29-24 loss — the Gators’ only loss of the season.

“We thought they gave us some opportunities to throw the ball,” Bienkowski said. “We just didn’t execute, whether it was routes or passes or protection. We as an offense just didn’t play well for four quarters. But we played well when it mattered.”

That was in in the final five minutes.

The Port Allegany defense helped set up the offense with two key plays.

The Gators forced a fumble at the Keystone 49. Two plays later Evens hit Archer for the go-ahead score.

Evens intercepted a pass by Drew Keth intended for Tyler Albright on the first play of Keystone’s next possession. Albright didn’t see the pass coming and Moses came up with the pick at the Panther 33.

A pass interference call on third-and-17 gave Port Allegany a third-and-2, which it converted for a first down a play later on a sneak by Evens. The Archer TD run followed for a 20-10 lead.

Keystone drove to the Port Allegany 29, but Moses picked off Keth to end the drive and any last gasp at a comeback.

“One thing for sure as you look into these kids’ eyes, they know they need to get better and they need to improve,” Bienkowski said. “They will work to get better and they will work to improve. The coaches also have to tighten up and the players have to tighten up. It’s almost time for the playoffs. This is what these guys work year round for.”

Archer led the Gators with 40 yards rushing on six carries. He also caught six passes for 107 yards.

Keth was 7 of 14 for 77 yards for Keystone. Aidan Sell added 47 yards rushing on 10 attempts.

Like Port Allegany, Keystone is hoping to charge into the playoffs trending upward after next week when it travels to Moniteau.

“We know we have a good team,” Smith said. “We know we have a chance against anybody. We played right with this team tonight, a team that is probably going to be the No. 1 seed in the bracket. We’re just going to get ready for Moniteau next week and the playoffs.”

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