Change in approach sparks Bulldogs

Ray Shreckengost

Change in approach sparks Bulldogs

Redbank Valley made a halftime adjustment to dedicate itself to the run and the switch sparked the Bulldogs' 27-6 win over Smethport in a rematch of last year's District 9 Class A title game

By Chris Rossetti



At halftime of the key midseason matchup between Redbank Valley and Smethport Friday night, Bulldogs' head coach Blane Gold knew something had to change.

After all, while his team was leading 8-6, it was struggling mightily on offense having managed just 18 total yards of offense in the opening 24 minutes, including just three on the ground.

Change it did.

The Bulldogs committed to a rushing attack right out of the gate in the second half, and that rushing attack was a big reason Redbank Valley won a key 27-6 decision over the previously unbeaten Hubbers.

"We just basically said we were going to make a decision, make the commitment to run the football," Gold said.

Committing to the run meant committing to the big fellow in the backfield, Ray Shreckengost.

After handing the ball to Shreckengost just four times in the first half - for 17 yards - the 6-foot, 216-pound senior was given the rock 23 times after the break for 108 yards giving him 27 carries for 125 yards.

On the opening drive of the second half, alone, Shreckengost carried the ball six times for 66 yards expanding Redbank Valley's lead to 15-6 with a 1-yard run.

Gold praised his offensive line for allowing the Bulldogs to commit to the ground game.

"That is the group we have probably put the most amount of pressure on this year because we have such high expectations for them," Gold said. "We knew coming into the game they were going to be a key, and they just did a fantastic job down the stretch."

While Redbank Valley's offensive line and Shreckengost were taking over the game, the Bulldogs' defense made sure the offensive's work wasn't for naught.

After allowing Smethport quarterback Noah Lent to run 17 times for 98 yards before halftime, the Bulldogs limited District 9's leading rusher to negative five yards in the second half and Smethport to 123 for the game.

"That (defensive) is our pride and joy," Gold said. "That's the stuff we really take a lot of pride in. Nine (Lent) is a tremendous athlete. We've been reading a lot about nine. Two (Redbank Valley's Joseph Mansfield), 24 (Shreckengost, who also plays on defense), and 55 (Kolby Barrett) are good for us. These guys, they've been playing in our system for four years. It was an opportunity they were excited about tonight to take on a guy (Lent) who, quotes, puts up video-game numbers. I couldn't be prouder of these guys that have been playing the system for four years. If you look at the matchups the last two years, that's 12 total points we've allowed them. That's just saying a lot about the effort of those guys because if it's a very, very, very good offense."

After the Shreckengost touchdown to start the second half, Redbank Valley started to put the game away two drives later thanks to an acrobatic touchdown catch by Chris Marshall on the right side of the end zone to make it 21-6.

Shreckengost then put a capper on his big second half with a 3-yard run with just 1:49 to play.

Despite just the 33 yards of offense in the first half, Redbank Valley led by two points thanks to a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ashton Kahle followed by a 2-point pass from Gunner Mangiantini to Marquese Gardlock.

Smethport got its lone touchdown on a 9-yard Lent to Brandon Higley touchdown pass just before halftime but saw the 2-point conversion stopped.

Redbank Valley managed just 175 yards on the night with 157 coming in the second half.

With the win, the Bulldogs are now 5-1 overall, while Smethport fell to 5-1.

Redbank Valley is at Bucktail Friday.

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