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Defense and Shreckengost Lead Redbank Valley to Comeback Victory Over Northern Bedford @RVBulldogs @NBPantherFBall

Written by: on Saturday, November 27th, 2021

 

There couldn’t have been more drama on a snowy night in Clarion where the chilly winter-like air was a witness to a fantastic football game that had fans on the edge of their seats right up to the final few seconds.  By the end of the PIAA single A quarter-final game, Redbank Valley was bruised and battered from a very physical football team from Loysburg.  But the Bulldogs had one more play in them.  Northern Bedford had a 4th down and two at Redbank’s 6-yard line with less than a minute to play.  That is when the Bulldog defense and Zeldon Fisher in particular made the stop of the year when they stuffed a Black Panther running play for a yard loss to ice the game and give Redbank the hard-earned 21-14 come from behind win.

 

Redbank Valley prides itself on defense, but it was Northern Bedford’s offense that pretty much dominated the first half, racking up 174 yards of offense with 125 of that via the ground game.  The Panthers scored twice on a pair of Eion Snider quarterback sneaks.  Plus, the half actually ended with the Panthers knocking on the door at the Bulldog 15-yard line.  The only offense that Redbank could mount in the half was an electrifying 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Brenden ‘Boo’ Shreckengost after the first NBC score.

But on this frigid night the spirits of football eventually found favor with Redbank Valley.  On their second possession of the third quarter, Gunner Mangiantini, filling in for a banged-up Bryson Bain hit Chris Marshall for a 31-yard TD toss to tie the game at 14.  Then, on the first play of the last quarter, Boo Shreckengost, the 5’3” 135 lb. senior broke through the line, shed a couple of tackles, spun away from another, and outran everyone else for what proved to be the game-winning score.

The Bulldogs leading rusher, Ray Shreckengost, was not eligible to play.  So, in stepped his best friend, who had rushed for a grand total of 56 yards all year, and history was made.  “Boo is the heart and soul of this team.  We knew someone was going to have to step up and fill that void left by Ray.  From the kickoff return to the run, I thought Boo was just incredible tonight,” was Coach Blane Gold’s comment after the game.

Immediately following the score that put Redbank up 21-14, the Panthers drove to the Bulldog 14 where Marquese Gardlock came up with his second interception of the game to thwart Northern Bedford’s possible game-tying drive.  His first pick came late in the first quarter and stopped a Panther drive that began in RBV territory.

The next Black Panther possession was their last, but they marched steadily downfield added by a 15-yard penalty.  Needing 9 yards for a first down and facing a 4th down at the Redbank 13, Snider found Adam Johnson near the two with a perfect pass, but as he hauled in the pass and approached the goal line, he was blasted by RBV’s Chris Marshall who dislodged the ball for an incomplete pass.  As Redbank celebrated, a flag was thrown and a penalty for targeting was marked off 7 yards or half the distance to the goal.  The penalty gave Northern Bedford another attempt to make a first down, but this time they only needed two yards.  “That was very tough,” said Coach Gold, “we called timeout because I wanted the kids to know we just had to play another down to win the football game.”  That is when Fisher and the Bulldog defense made the defensive play that will be talked about for years in New Bethlehem (home of Redbank Valley High School).

“I’m just sort of still in shock,” said a saddened Garry Black, Northern Bedford’s coach, “I’ve watched a lot of football and been a coach for a long time.  I just couldn’t be prouder of these group of guys and the effort they gave tonight.”  Black stated that had they scored they would have kicked the extra point to go into overtime.  “We have a good kicking game and we didn’t know if they had any quarterbacks left.”  Both Redbank QBs had been hurt during the game.

Northern Bedford Panthers after a great football game.

Northern Bedford, led by Johnson’s 112 yards on 33 carries, outgained Redbank Valley for the game 277 yards to 261.  The Black Panthers had 183 yards rushing and Redbank had 186.  Panthers Rece Dibert and lineman Remington Bowser had interceptions and Dibert recovered a fumble to stop all 3 Bulldog drives in the first half.  Redbank was led by Shreckengost’s 136 yards on 20 carries.  Counting a pair of kickoff returns for 103 yards, he had 239 all=purpose yards for the night.

Redbank Valley is the first team in school history to win 12 games as they have won 12 in a row since their loss to Keystone in the opening game of the year.  Their record is 12-1 and next week they face the Bishop Canevin Crusaders (12-1), the District 7 champs at a date and time to be announced.  Northern Bedford ends the year 9-4 with the loss to Redbank being their only loss to a single A school.

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