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Written by: Phil Myers on Thursday, December 9th, 2021
The Redbank Valley Bulldogs came up short against the Marauders of Bishop Guilfoyle by a score of 21-14 at Hersheypark Stadium Thursday afternoon. The Class A championship game was a classic and had the fans from both teams standing in the last couple minutes when the Bulldogs drove into Marauder territory with a chance to tie or possibly win the game. “This playoff run has been incredible,” said a saddened RBV coach Blane Gold, The win was Bishop Guilfoyle’s fourth state championship in five tries.
It was a game of momentum swings and big plays, mainly in the second half as Redbank had trouble moving the ball in the first half as perhaps some jitters affected play on the opening couple of drives. In spite of Guilfoyle shutting down the Redbank’s offense in the first two quarters, the Bulldog defense kept them in the game by permitting the Marauders to score only once on a Karson Kiesewetter one-yard run with 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
BG brought pressure on the quarterback almost every time Bryson Bain dropped back to pass. RBV had a total of 32 yards and 2 first downs in the opening half. Both of those first downs came late in the second quarter. Using the bend but don’t break theory, the Bulldog ‘D’ thwarted each Marauder drive before and after that Kiesewetter score to keep the enthusiasm high on the Redbank sidelines. It appeared all they needed was a break or the offense to come alive.
They got both. Leading 7-0 and receiving the second half kickoff, Guilfoyle was looking to go up by two scores but Redbank forced a turnover and suddenly the momentum switched. Redbank began to move the ball a little bit and on their following possession, the Bulldogs tied the game on a beautiful 39-yard pass from Bain to Marquese Gardlock and Tyson Adams’ PAT. That capped a 6-play 69-yard drive.
Bishop Guilfoyle chose a game plan that was heavy on a pounding run game. Using all the backs as blocking backs, the quarterback Kiesewettet would just plow forward as the Marauder line appeared to be getting a push most of the time. Kiesewetter ended up with 128 yards on 30 carries. A few plays after the game was tied, BG’s coach Justin Wheeler elected to go with a trick play. Kiesewetter faked another run from the same formation, but stopped and hit a jump pass to the tight end, Anthony Cioffari, who was wide open for a 57-yard TD. Deven Wyandt’s second of three extra points put BG back in front 14-7 with 2:47 left in the third quarter. “That got us off guard,” stated Gold. Momentum switchback to Bishop Guilfoyle.
As the clock ticked away in the fourth quarter, Redbank found themselves at the Marauder 49 after a nice punt return by Ashton Kahle. Redbank does not usually try trick plays, but they used one they had practiced all week to tie the game. Facing a third and long at the Guilfoyle 38, Chris Marshall lined up as quarterback and handed the ball off to Kahle who in turn flipped the ball to Bain who had lined up as a wide receiver. Bain then turned and fired a perfect pass to Gardlock who was running free down the sideline for the game-tying touchdown. Momentum switchback to Redbank Valley.
But, as champions do, Bishop Guilfoyle answered with another big play that fooled the Bulldog defense. Kiesewetter pump faked a short out pass to Cooper Rather and the safety bit allowing Rather to get free and Kiesewetter hit him in stride for a 43-yard pass to the Redbank 20. Two plays later Rother ran 14 yards to allow his Marauders to retake the lead 21-14. Momentum switchback to Guilfoyle.
Redbank did not hang their heads and give in. With a little over 3 minutes to play they drove inside the BG 35, but a sack put the ball back to the 40 and subsequently Bain had to throw a Hail Mary that was picked off to seal the victory for Bishop Guilfoyle. Bain finished the game with 138 yards passing and 2 touchdowns with the 1 interception. Gardlock caught 4 passes for 95 yards and the 2 scores. The question was asked of Gold had you scored, what would you have done on the extra point? “We would gone for the win, we felt that was the best chance to win the state championship.”
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