The Port Allegany Gators’ football team ended a successful season on Friday, November 12th with a 35-14 road loss to the Redbank Valley Bulldogs.
The game was much closer than the score indicates, as the Gators jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the blink of an eye but gave the Bulldogs three short fields of 20, 20 and 14 yards which were all capitalized for touchdowns to help Redbank get right back in the game and score 35 unanswered for the win.
The Gators came out swinging as Drew Evens connected with Noah Archer for a 31-yard touchdown play with 7:30 to go in the first to give Port Allegany the early lead.
After both teams came up empty for the remainder of the quarter, Evens threw his second touchdown pass of the night, a six-yard pass to Blaine Moses 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs then pinned the Gators deep in their own territory where they were eventually forced to punt from their own end zone, and Tate Minich started the momentum with a nifty punt return to the 14 yard line.
Ray Schreckengost punched it in from seven yards out to cut Port’s lead in half at 14-8 after Gunner Mangiantini’s two-point conversion pass to Ashton Kahle.
The Bulldogs then were able to take the lead and hold off the Gators before the half when Bryson Bain tossed a nine-yard scoring pass to Aiden Ortz to go with the extra point for a 15-14 lead at the break.
Schreckengost continued to put together his solid night with a three-yard scoring run at the 8:12 mark of the third quarter for a 22-14 lead.
Bain came up big on multiple third and long situations throughout the game, including a crucial 4th and goal all the way out at the Gator 23 yard line where he hooked up with Tate Minich for the score to give Redbank some breathing room with just 4:40 to play at 28-14.
The Bulldogs then put the game away when Ray Schreckengost scored his third and final touchdown with a 17-yard run with 2:44 left.
Drew Evens was 15/23 passing for 194 yards, the two touchdowns and an interception to finish off an incredible sophomore season with a total of 124 completions out of 213 attempts for 1,811 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Noah Archer caught six passes for 82 yards and a score to finish a tremendous season of 46 catches for 710 yards and eight touchdowns as well as 127 carries for 674 yards and five touchdowns.
AJ Wiley caught two passes for 58 yards.
Blaine Moses caught three for 23 yards and the other touchdown and finished the season just short of 1,000 yards rushing with 173 carries for 979 yards.
Bryson Bain was 15/24 passing for 181 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Bulldogs.
Redbank Valley ran for 219 yards as a team, but 205 of those were from Ray Schreckengost and his three touchdowns, the best game of his career and tied his career-best for rushing touchdowns in a game.
The Bulldogs also shut down a Port Allegany run game that went for 215 yards against Keystone, to negative 14 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The Gators finish the season with a record of 6-5 and return many key offensive players next season as Evens, Archer and Moses are all juniors and Peyton Stiles a sophomore.
Redbank Valley improves to 10-1 and will play Union/A-C Valley (9-2), a 14-8 winner over Smethport, in the D9 1A Championship this Friday night at 7 PM at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium. It’s a big rematch for the Falcon Knights, as they committed nine turnovers and lost to the Bulldogs at home on October 22nd, 28-6 and are in the title game for the first time.
It was a revenge win for Union over Smethport, as they were knocked out of the district playoffs twice by the Hubbers in the last three seasons with a 28-0 loss in 2018 and a 12-10 loss in 2020.