NEW BETHLEHEM — In what was a back-and-forth affair for much of the contest, the host Redbank Valley Bulldogs were able to end their their-game losing streak by defeating the visiting Coudersport Falcons 41-27 on Homecoming Night Friday.
Redbank Valley (5-3) rushed for 304 yardst, with 165 coming by way of Hunter Wiles. The Bulldogs’ offensive line helped paved the way for the likes of Wiles as well as others.
Redbank Valley head coach Ed Wasilowski was glad to see the potential of the Bulldogs’ rushing attack realized.
“I think we got away from our run game the past couple weeks,” Wasilowski said. “We decided we were going to use our whole offense. We have to be able to run inside a little bit to set up our passing game. Once we saw that we were having a lot of success, we just decided to stay with it.”
Wasilowski credited several Bulldogs on their efforts in the victory.
“Hunter Martz and Ethan Hetrick mostly were our leaders,” Wasilowski said. “It wasn’t their talking and stuff, just how hard they play and the kids fed off it. Hunter Wiles was a man out there tonight. The O-line, Hudson Martz and Travis Crawford blocking for him kind of took over the game in the second half.”
Coudersport head coach Tom Storey said a lack of consistent execution and healthy players made it difficult on the Falcons efforts.
“We struggled getting our guys on the leads,” said Storey, whose team dropped to 5-3. “We were expecting a little more on the pass side, and they did pass on us. That hurt us as well. We got a little banged up during this game at the beginning. That’s kind of where it started hurting at. We’re a little thin on our varsity side. No excuses, but we got to get better at that stuff.”
The two teams traded blows in the first half, with the difference in points never reaching more than eight. At halftime, the squads were knotted even at 21-21.
The first score of the game came on a 44-yard run from Bulldogs quarterback Keaton Kahle, who slashed his way through the middle of the Falcons’ defense and into the end zone with 10:17 remaining in the first quarter.
Coudersport would answer, as Coudersport’s Stephen Kelly rushed in from four yards out to bring the score within one. Kelly finished the game with 20 carries for a game-high 171 yards and all four of his team’s TDs.
Before the first quarter ended, Wiles cashed in on the first of three rushing TDs with a 24-yard scamper under a minute left in the quarter, making the score 14-6 following a Kristofer Shaffer point-after.
In the second, Kelly found the end zone again, this time from 16 yards midway through the quarter.
Wiles answered back with another score of his own, punching it in from a yard and extending the RBV lead to 7 with 3:28 left in the half.
Nonetheless, less than two minutes later a Bulldogs fumble at their own 10 and recovered by Coudersport’s Tony Gleason set up another Kelly touchdown on the following play, with a Dalton Keglovits point-after kick, tying the score at 21 with 1:36 remaining.
Coudersport took its first and only lead of the game just 43 seconds into the second half by way of a 44-yard run by Kelly.
“He’s got to be a workhorse,” Storey said of Kelly. “We’re not deep in a lot of our positions. We’ve got to get those other guys to step up. He’s a hard runner. He has been for me for the last two years. He can break it when we need it.”
On the following possession, a run of 19 by Wiles and a completion of 36 from Kahle to Buzard helped put the Bulldogs into decent position to score. A holding penalty paired with an incompletion and less pronounced gains would bring up a 4th and 9 on the Coudersport 20. Kahle found Ethan Hetrick on a post to the middle of the end zone, tying the game at 27 and taking the lead after another Shaffer point-after.
“They’ve been doing it all year,” said Wasilowski about the QB-WR duo. “Sometimes Keaton looks to Ethan a little too much. We have guys wide open because they’re so worried about Ethan. But you can’t fault Keaton. Al McGuire a long time ago in basketball said ‘you dance with who brought you’, and Ethan Hetricks the guy we brought to the dance and he came through tonight.”
Later, Wiles score his third TD with 2:25 left in the third, extending the lead to 8.
In the fourth, interceptions by Hunter Buzard and Javin Brentzel stalled Coudersport drives and kept the game out of reach when coupled with an untouched Hunter Martz running in from seven yards out to complete the game’s scoring with 8:35 left in the game.
The Bulldogs travel to Foxburg Friday to face Union/A-C Valley at A-C Valley High School.