Late Score by Karns City Helps Gremlins Beat Keystone in D9 2A Quarterfinals
KNOX, Pa. (D9Sports) – Luke Garing scored on a 5-yard run with 2:59 to play, as fifth-seeded Karns City rallied to beat fourth-seeded Keystone, 28-22, in the District 9 Class 2A quarterfinals at Keystone High School.
(Photo of Karns City’s Kaden Scherer Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
Relisten to the game:
The Gremlins (8-3), who led 14-0 early in the second quarter and 21-6 at halftime, found themselves trailing Keystone (9-2), 22-21, late in the game when a three-and-out by the Panthers was followed by a 55-yard Anthony Kamenski pass to Kaden Scherer that set Karns City up at the Keystone 5-yard line with just over three minutes to play.
“I just ran a post and got the corner feed and found open field and ran,” Scherer said. “It just couldn’t have been a more perfect pass. It was right in my arms in stride. It was awesome.”
Watch Scherer’s postgame interview.
Karns City found itself in need of a big play late because of a strong second-half push by Keystone.
After falling behind by 15 at halftime, the Panthers clawed back into the game thanks in part to a big special teams miscue by Karns City as well as a pair of fourth-down touchdowns.
The special team’s miscue came in the second part of the third quarter when Gremlins punter Ethan McElroy had trouble with the snap and Keystone’s Nick Weaver recovered the loose ball and returned it a short distance to the Karns City 12-yard line.
After three plays went just three yards, Keystone faced a fourth-and-seven at the 9-yard line when quarterback Isaak Jones threw a jump ball into the right middle of the end zone where Jayden Blazosky came down with the ball for the touchdown.
The Panthers then ran a trick play out on the two-point conversion following a 5-yard false start penalty with Weaver taking the snap in the wild cat and handing the ball to Blazosky on the reverse. Blazosky then stopped and hit Jones in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 21-14.
After Keystone’s defense forced a punt, the Panthers took over at the Karns City 47-yard line and drove to the 1-yard line where they had first-and-goal following a 6-yard catch by Alex Rapp on fourth down. Jones went into the line three times to no avail, but on fourth-and-goal Weaver took the pitch and scored to pull Keystone within a point, 21-20, with 7:52 to play.
Keystone lined up in the muddle-huddle formation to kick the extra point, but Jones, the holder, instead ran for the two-point conversion to put the Panthers ahead, 22-21.
The Panthers defense then forced a three-and-out forcing a Karns City punt from the Gremlins 43-yard line.
“At that time of the game and where we were on the field, I wasn’t sure,” Karns City head coach Joe Sherwin said. “Should we go for it? Should we punt it? I had confidence in our defense that they could give us a three-and-out, and they did. That was a big key to the game.”
Karns City’s defense did get the three-and-out when Keystone played it conservative running twice right into the middle of the line from its own 22-yard line before throwing an incomplete pass on third-and-eight forcing a punt.
“We were trying to run some time off the clock,” Keystone head coach Ryan Smith said. “They had been stopping our run all night. Anything I tried inside, outside or whatever, they were stuffing. I figured, try to get some time off the clock. It is part of play calling. Sometimes you are right, sometimes you are not.”
Taking over at its own 40-yard line, a first-down run went nowhere before Kamenski hit Scherer with the 55-yard strike to set the up the winning touchdown.
“It was post pattern by Kaden,” Sherwin said. “They had about nine guys in the box, so the middle was wide open. He ran that post pattern wide open. The offensive line gave Anthony lots of time to find him and he just got behind everybody. I thought he was going to get into the end zone.”
Watch Scherer’s big catch and run.
Karns City grabbed the early lead on a pair of Hunter Rowe touchdown runs with Rowe scoring on a 5-yard run on Karns City’s opening drive that went 12 plays, all on the ground, and took 6:10 off the clock after the Gremlins received the opening kickoff.
Rowe then scored on another 5-yard run with 9:37 left in the first half to make it 14-0.
Keystone answered back when Jones hit Rapp with a 44-yard scoring pass to make it 14-6 with 3:13 to play before halftime, but Karns City answered with a 5-yard Kamenski to Corry Dunmyre touchdown pass with just two seconds left in the half to make it 21-6.
Kamenski went 5 of 7 passing for 94 yards and the touchdown pass while rushing 20 times for 97 yards. Rowe added 19 carries for 78 yards and two scores, while Garing ran 10 times for 31 yards. Scherer had two catches for 69 yards and also picked off a pass on defense.
Jones was 6 of 17 passing for 105 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing an interception. He ran 14 times for 12 yards. Weaver and Taylar Altman, Keystone’s dynamic duo running tandem, was held to just 13 yards on 11 carries with Weaver gaining six on seven totes and Altman seven on four carries.
Blazosky caught four passes for 49 yards with Rapp hauling in two for 50 yards.
Karns City will rematch with Ridgway in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Mansell Stadium in DuBois. The Gremlins fell to the Elkers at home, 19-13, Oct. 11.
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