Union/A-C Valley Makes History with Share of D9 League Small School South Title
NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (D9Sports) – History was made Friday night when Union/A-C Valley used a 28-7 road win over Redbank Valley to claim a share of the D9 League Small School South title with the Bulldogs and Keystone, a 44-41 winner over Elk County Catholic.
(Photo of Luke Bowser of Union/A-C Valley. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
“These kids are phenomenal to coach,” Union/A-C Valley second-year head coach Brad Dittman said. “They’re all in. Our motto every week is ‘all in on one’ and the kid bought into it from day one. We’re looking for that one win on Friday night, and they respond to it. They put so much work into it and have so much heart and character. They’re a great groud of kids to coach.”
The league crown is the first in the four-year history of the co-op program. It is also the first-ever football league champion for a team representing A-C Valley and the first for a team representing Union since 1984 – Union won eight league crowns as a stand-alone program.
The Falcon Knights (7-2 overall, 3-1 D9 League Small School South) built a 20-0 lead after three quarters and outgained Redbank Valley (7-2, 3-1) 230 yards to 176.
Relisten to the game:
Luke Bowser threw two touchdowns and ran for a third for the Falcons Knights going 9 of 20 passing for 106 yards and rushing six times for five yards.
He threw touchdown passes to Karter Vogel (7 yards) and Caiden Rainey (14 yards) and ran for a 2-yard score. Eli Penny also added a 4-yard scoring run.
Rainey caught four passes for 50 yards and also intercepted a pass on defense, while Tony Thompson had a game-best 57 yards on the ground.
Redbank Valley, playing its first game without injured quarterback Gunner Mangiantini, got a 26-yard scoring pass from Cam Wagner to Sam Hetrick early in the fourth quarter to get within 13, 20-7.
Wagner was 10 of 22 for 87 yards, the touchdown and an interception with Sam Hetrick catching three passes for 26 yards. Ethan Hetrick had four catches for 47 yards.
Redbank Valley, though, couldn’t run the ball. The Bulldogs, losers of two straight by a combined score of 84-7, ran for just 65 yards on 34 carries led by Ray Schreckengost’s 15 carries for 33 yards. Hudson Martz added 30 yards on the ground.
Colton Hoffman led Union/A-C Valley’s defense with 13 tackles while Andrew Verostek added 12 stops and Rainey had six tackles and an interception.
Despite the loss, Redbank Valley still claimed a share of the league crown when Keystone beat ECC. The Bulldogs had beaten the Panthers back in Week Zero while Keystone beat Union/A-C Valley two weeks ago. It is Redbank Valley’s third league crown since 2015 and the seventh in school history.
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