Redbank Valley was unable to stop the run, and as a result, Brockway ran them out of the District 9 playoffs.
Anthony Benson ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, and the Rovers broke a halftime tie to defeat No. 4 Redbank Valley, 28-14, in the District 9, Class A quarterfinals Friday in New Bethlehem.
Brockway (6-5), the No. 5 seed, operated almost exclusively out of a wildcat/single-wing formation and churned out 268 yards rushing on the muddy field. The Rovers advance to face No. 8 Union-Rimersburg, which knocked off No. 1 Ridgway.
“It was a team effort all the way around, offense and defense,” Brockway coach Frank Zocco said. “We knew we had a shot to run the ball because teams have run on them, and with the field conditions, we knew we had to run.”
On the opposite side, the Bulldogs (7-3) were able to gain just 74 yards rushing, even with Brockway defending against the pass first.
“They did a nice job in their pass defense by dropping a lot of guys, and when they do that, we’re supposed to run the ball,” Redbank Valley coach Ed Wasilowski said. “We’re facing a five-man box, and we couldn’t run it the last couple of games when we’ve gotten that. I don’t understand it, because we’re playing 7-on-5 and should be able to run the ball.”
The game started as though it might be a shootout with each team scoring a touchdown on its first two possessions. Benson and Hunter Miller ran in scores for Brockway, while Nick Shoemaker hauled in touchdown passes of 1 and 18 yards from Jake Dougherty for the Bulldogs.
Late in the first half, a miscue by Brockway and the referees gave the Bulldogs a golden opportunity to take the lead.
With 58 seconds remaining before halftime, the Rovers snapped the ball over the head of punter Jarrett Esposito, who chased the ball down at the 3 and illegally kicked it out of the back of the end zone.
By rule, Redbank Valley should have been given the option to replay the down after a penalty applied at the spot of the kick or take the result of the play, a safety. Instead, the penalty was applied as a loss-of-down foul, which gave the Bulldogs the ball inside the 2.
Redbank couldn’t cash in from there, as they were backed up by a pass interference penalty before Dougherty had a pass intercepted by Anthony Isabella, the first of two picks by Isabella.
“That was a big lift for them dodging that bullet,” Wasilowski said. “We had a gift, and we didn’t take advantage of it.”
Brockway dominated the ball in the second half with drives of 15, 8 and 12 plays to chew up the clock and get the half’s only two scores.
Dougherty finished with 137 yards on 16 of 23 passing. The Bulldogs quarterback ends his career sixth in District 9 history with 5,830 yards and seventh in D-9 history with 62 passing touchdowns.