RIMERSBURG - Years from now, when someone looks at the score from Friday night's District 9 Small School showdown between Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley they'll think it was one-sided blowout but those in attendance at Vidunas Stadium on that rainy Friday night will attest it wasn't quite that simple.

Sure, the Bulldogs put away the game with a 20-point outburst in the second half to set the 28-6 final but for most of the 48 minutes both teams were on the field it was -- for lack of a better term -- a rock fight.

Redbank Valley (8-1 overall, 4-1 District 9 Small School South) took advantage of a slew of Falcon Knight turnovers to spoil Union/A-C Valley's bid for the District 9 Small School South title.

The Falcon Knights committed eight turnovers and the Bulldogs turned two of Union/A-C Valley's miscues into points which included a fumble recovery in the end zone by Ray Shreckengost and a 65-yard interception return by Aiden Ortz.

"Our guys pride themselves on how to score touchdowns on defense," Redbank Valley head coach Blane Gold said. "We keep a tally and they want to score more on defense than what they give up.

"At this point in the year, you have to be able to win games like this."

The Bulldogs' Ashton Kahle also picked off three Bailey Crissman passes.

"We gave (Kahle) a teste of playing varsity last year as a freshman and now we have him and another sophomore Mason Clouse back there as sophomores and we will have them in our secondary for two more years," Gold said.

The win gives the Bulldogs a leg up in the race for the number one seed in the upcoming District 9 Class A playoffs.

Redbank Valley got its first break early in the first quarter when the Falcon Knights' Caden Rainey mishandled a Tate Minich punt and the Bulldogs pounced on the loose ball at a the Union/A-C Valley 23.

However, Redbank Valley couldn't turn the miscue into points as Bryson Bain had passes on third and fourth down fall incomplete and the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs at the Union/A-C Valley 22.

A holding penalty on the first play of the Falcon Knights' subsequent drive put Union/A-C Valley behind the sticks and the Falcon Knights went three-and-out. Redbank Valley opened the following drive with an 18-yard completion from Bain to Minich. The Falcon Knights were also flagged for a facemask penalty on the play putting the Bulldogs at the Union/A-C Valley

An offsides penalty before the next Redbank Valley snap moved the Bulldogs to the Falcon Knight 17. But Redbank Valley would move no closer to the end zone. The Falcon Knights' front seven stuffed Shreckengost for no gain on first down and Bain fired three-straight incomplete passes including a throw on fourth down that was caught by Chris Marshall but Marshall was ruled out of bounds.

The Falcon Knights (6-2, 2-2) couldn't muster any offense on the following possession and Union/A-C Valley was forced to punt. Crissman, Union/A-C Valley's punter, had trouble with the snap from center and the Bulldogs special teams unit tackled Crissman at the Falcon Knight 9 where the Bulldogs took over possession.

Shreckengost had back-to-back gains of 1 and 2 yards to put the Bulldogs at the Union/A-C Valley 6. However, Bain's pass attempts on third and fourth down fell incomplete and the Falcon Knights took over at their own 6.

Two plays after the change of possession, there was a fumble on a handoff between Crissman and Mikey Card and the Bulldogs' Brenden Shreckengost pounced on the loose ball at the Union/A-C Valley 5.

The Falcon Knight defense held firm again stuffing Ray Shreckengost for no gain on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 and the Falcon Knights took over.

The Union/A-C Valley defense shined on the goal line stand as Shreckengost had runs of 1 and 3 yards on first and second down, respectively. On third-and-goal from the 1, Shreckengost was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Bain lofted a pass to Marshall in the end zone. Marshall didn't make the catch but Union/A-C Valley's Ryan Cooper was flagged for pass interference on the play giving the Bulldogs another fourth down chance from the Falcon Knights' half-yard line. Union/A-C Valley stopped Ray Shreckengost cold giving the Falcon Knights the ball back on downs.

"(Union/A-C Valley's) defense is everything we expected it to be and then a little bit more," Gold said. "We had three possessions inside their 10 in the first quarter and we couldn't score. They punched us in the mouth. You look at that first quarter and we easily could have led 35-0 at halftime but that defense is that good."

Union/A-C Valley went three-and-out on the following drive and the Falcon Knights were forced to punt.

The Union/A-C Valley pass defense stepped up on the subsequent drive holding Aiden Ortz to a 4-yard gain on a first down completion while dripping Marquese Gardlock for a 1-yard gain on a wide receiver screen on third down and the Bulldogs decided to punt from the Union/A-C Valley 30.

Two plays after the punt, Crissman fired a pass deep down the middle of the field intended that was picked off by Ashton Kahle at the Bulldog 26.

The Falcon Knights' Landon Chalmers sacked Bain for an 11-yard loss on the Bulldogs first play after the turnover. Three plays later, Redbank Valley punted from the Union/A-C Valley 35. Tate Minich's punt pinned the Falcon Knights at their own 3.

The Bulldogs defense stepped up stopping Dawson Camper for a 1-yard gain on first down and then stopped Camper for a 2-yard loss. On third down, there was a fumble on a handoff attempt and the ball squirted into the end zone and Ray Shreckengost pounced on the loose ball for the Bulldogs' touchdown.

Gunner Mangiantini ran in the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead with 3:39 remaining in the first half.

The teams traded punts on the following two possessions.

On the Falcon Knights' final possession of the half, Union/A-C Valley made a push down the field with Crissman finding Skyler Roxbury for an 11-yard gain and Crissman connected with Cooper for a 26-yard gain putting the Falcon Knights at the Bulldog 20. In the waning seconds of the half, Crissman fired a pass toward the end zone that was picked off by Gardlock at the Redbank Valley 6.

Both defenses were stellar in the first half with the Bulldogs holding the Falcon Knights to 65 total yards and two first downs while picking off Crissman twice. The Falcon Knights held the Bulldogs to 49 total yards and one first down.

Redbank Valley went three-and-out on its first possession of the third quarter.

Union/A-C Valley converted a first down on its opening drive of the quarter with Caden Rainey running for 8 yards while Mikey Card ran for 5 yards. But the Falcon Knights' drive stalled and they were forced to punt.

Crissman's punt covered around 50 yards. The Bulldogs' Marshall picked up the ball around the Redbank Valley 20 went left toward the sidelines where he was met by a host of Falcon Knights. Marshall lost control of the ball and Card scooped it up at the Bulldog 17 and galloped to the end zone for the Falcon Knights' touchdown.

Crissman's two-point conversion pass attempt failed but the Falcon Knights had trimmed the Bulldog lead to 8-6 with 8:07 left in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs answered the Union/A-C Valley touchdown in short order with Bain connecting with Gardlock for a 34-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes after the Falcon Knight score.

A key play on the drive was a 27-yard completion from Bain to Marshall which moved the Bulldogs from their own 45 to the Falcon Knight 32.

Tyson Adams booted the extra point to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 15-6 with 6:18 left in the third quarter.

Two plays after the touchdown, Kahle stepped in front of Camper to intercept a Crissman pass near the 50-yard line. Kahle returned the pick to the Falcon Knight 35.

The Bulldogs couldn't capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt four plays later.

Neither team's offense could mount a significant drive the remainder of the quarter.

The Union/A-C Valley duo of Colton Murray and Camper snuffed out a Bulldog drive themselves as they recorded back-to-back sacks. The Falcon Knights sacked Bain six times with Chalmers recording three takedowns himself.

Union/A-C Valley looked like it might cut into the Bulldogs lead on the Falcon Knights' first possession of the fourth frame. Card had a 15-yard run and the Bulldogs were flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty later in the drive. On a second-and-6 play from the Redbank Valley 29, Crissman dropped back and rolled slightly to the right and attempted a throwback screen pass to the left but Ortz intercepted the pass at the Falcon Knight 35 and returned it 65 yards for the Bulldog score.

Adams' PAT kick extended the Redbank Valley lead to 22-6.

Union/A-C Valley went three-and-out on its next drive with Joseph Mansfield and Zeldon Fisher combining to sack backup quarterback Trey Fleming for losses of 8 and 11 yards.

The Bulldogs put the game away on its next possession putting together a 51-yard, four-play drive that was capped by a 1-yard TD plunge by Ray Shreckengost.

Ray Shreckengost had the key play on the drive rushing for a 50-yard gain which gave Redbank Valley a first-and-goal at the Falcon Knight 3.

Adams missed the PAT kick but the Bulldogs held a 28-6 lead with 5:08 left in regulation.

Kahle sealed the game by intercepting Crissman for a third time on the second play of the following Union/A-C Valley possession.

"Turnovers and ball control killed us tonight," Union/A-C Valley head coach Brad Dittman said. "We have to take a look at it and see why we made so many turnovers.

"It's really disappointing in a game as important as this one to have that many turnovers.

Redbank Valley will close its regular season Friday (Oct. 29) at Punxsutawney while Union/A-C Valley will host Coudersport in its regular season finale.

REDBANK VALLEY 28 , UNION/A-C VALLEY 6

Redbank Valley 0- 8- 7 -13 28

Union/A-C Valley 0- 0- 6 - 0 6

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

RV Ray Shreckengost recovered fumble in end zone (Gunner Mangiantini run), 3:39

Third Quarter

U/AC Mikey Card 17 fumble return (pass failed), 8:07

RV Marquese Gardlock 34 pass from Bryson Bain (Tyson Adams kick), 6:18

Fourth Quarter

RV Aiden Ortz 65 interception return (Adams kick), 9:01

RV Ray Shreckengost 1 run (kick failed), 5:08

TEAM TOTALS (Redbank Valley; Union/A-C Valley)

First Downs: 6; 5

Rushes-Yards: 26-49; 34-32

Passing Yards: 137; 59

Comp-Att-Int: 13-24-0; 4-17-5

Total Yards: 181; 91

Penalties-Yards: 8-75; 10-62

Fumbles-Lost: 1-1; 5-3

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing Redbank Valley, Ray Shreckengost 17-78, Aiden Ortz 1-1, Bryson Bain 6-(-30), Joseph Mansfield 1-1, Team 1-(-1). Union/A-C Valley, Mikey Card 8-26, Bailey Crissman 4-5, Dawson Camper 11-19, Caden Rainey 3-10, Andrew Verostek 3-11, Trey Fleming 2-(-15), Team 3-(-24).

Passing Redbank Valley, Bryson Bain 12-23-0 129, Gunner Mangiantini 1-1-0 3. Union/A-C Valley, Bailey Crissman 4-17-5 59.

Receiving Redbank Valley, Tate Minich 3-39, Marquese Gardlock 5-48, Aiden Ortz 3-7, Chris Marshall 2-35, Bryson Bain 0-(-5). Union/A-C Valley, Skyler Roxbury 2-30, Ryan Cooper 1-26, Caden Rainey 1-3.

KNOX - Due to illness, the Keystone boys' basketball team was unable to play or hold practice for a little more than two weeks but if the Panthers suffered any rust from the prolonged shutdown, it didn't show.

CLARION - There would have been no shame for the Clarion Area girls' basketball team to come up short in their KSAC crossover against visiting Moniteau Friday night (Jan. 14) seeing as how the Bobcats had two consecutive games postponed and Clarion was taking on the Warriors under the direct…

COUDERSPORT - The Clarion and Redbank Valley wrestling teams traveled to the county seat of Potter County last Saturday (Jan. 8) for the Coudersport Duals. Each team wrestled five matches; the Bobcats posting a 2-3 record and the Bulldogs going 3-2.

FRILLS CORNERS - It's been a number of years since the Union High School girls' basketball team was a force in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference and District 9 but on Thursday night (Jan. 6), the Golden Damsels announced their return.

CLARION TWP. - Rebuilding the Clarion-Limestone girls' basketball team has been a long and arduous process for Lions' head coach Gus Simpson but if C-L's game Dec. 22 is any indication, the Lions' rebuild is nearing completion.

FRILLS CORNERS - In a year where the KSAC Small School landscape is in a state of flux, the North Clarion boys' team made a statement they might be the team to beat when it is all said and done.

CLARION - What the 2021-22 Clarion boys' basketball team lacks in experience they make up for in heart as was evidenced Friday night (Dec. 17).

CLARION - The 2021-2022 Clarion wrestling team is young and lacking any veteran grappler with a postseason pedigree. Despite this, head coach Lee Weber enters this year's campaign optimistic; he has almost a full squad, which should make the Bobcats more competitive in duals than the squad t…

The Golden Damsels struggled from the field down the stretch of a 46-39 setback to Elk County Catholic

Redbank Valley's bid for a PIAA Class A title falls shy with a 21-14 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the championship final

Today (Dec. 9), the Redbank Valley football team will be attempting to do something no District 9 football team has ever done; win a state title.

WHEELING, W.Va. The Golden Eagle volleyball team's historic 2021 season came to a close on Thursday night (Dec. 2), as fifth-seeded Clarion fell to fourth-seeded Edinboro 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 20-25, 18-25) in the opening round of the NCAA Atlantic Regional. Clarion (22-10) took the first set a…

PITTSBURGH - Maybe the perfect quote to sum up the Redbank Valley football team's 2021 season would be, "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."

CLARION - It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium Friday night (Nov. 26) as the snow was falling at a healthy clip and even though there was no tree or tinsel, the Redbank Valley football team got what they were wishing for.

EAST STROUDSBURG The Golden Eagle volleyball team claimed the third Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship in program history on Saturday afternoon, defeating top-seeded Gannon 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-17) at East Stroudsburg's Koehler Fieldhouse. It is the Golden Eagles' fi…

MECHANICHSBURG - To win a state title is special in itself but to win two in a row puts a team in rarified air.

CLARION - Redbank Valley's bid for a second-straight District 9 Class A title was at a crossroads late in the Bulldogs' title tilt with Union/A-C Valley as Redbank Valley was tied at 21-21 with the Falcon Knights and faced a fourth-and-11 at the Union/A-C Valley 21 but the Bulldogs' Tate Min…

SLIPPERY ROCK - For about a half an hour Tuesday night (Nov. 16), the Clarion Area High School volleyball team looked like they were in serious trouble as WPIAL champ Bishop Canevin went on a 9-3 run to take a 20-14 lead in Game One of the PIAA Class A semifinals but in the end, the Bobcats …

SLIPPERY ROCK - You'll have to excuse the Clarion Area High School volleyball team if they weren't awed by the PIAA quarterfinal stage on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 13) at Slippery Rock Area High School but the Bobcats have been here before.

RIMERSBURG - For three-straight years, the Union/A-C Valley football team was close to breaking into the playoff win column but the Falcon Knights always seemed to fall short.

KNOX - Familiarity plays a significant role when it comes to a team's comfort on a playoff stage which is what likely aided the Keystone High School volleyball team in their District 9 Class 2A semifinal against Karns City.

CLARION - Clarion is headed back to the District 9 Class A championship game and the PIAA playoffs after a convincing 3-0 sweep of rival Clarion-Limestone Tuesday night, Nov. 2, at Clarion High School.