Strothers helps Redbank Valley edge Ridgway
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mark Strothers has been a big-play back for Redbank Valley all season, but when it mattered most, he showed he can get the tough yards, too.
Strothers ran for 152 yards and touchdowns of 3, 54 and 19 yards on a season-high 24 carries to lead the No. 3 Bulldogs over No. 6 Ridgway, 31-26, in the District 9, Class A quarterfinals Friday in New Bethlehem.
Redbank Valley (7-3), which earned its first playoff win since 2010, advances to face No. 2 Curwensville in the semifinals next week at a time and location to be determined.
Strothers, a senior, reached a pair of milestones. He surpassed 1,000 yards for the season on his third carry, an 8-yard run, and his three rushing touchdowns give him a school-record 21 this season. But it was the tough yards he was able to get late in the game that made the difference.
Redbank got the ball at its own 23 with and 28-26 lead and 6:34 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs then put together a 13-play drive — including six carries by Strothers — that ended with a 35-yard Zane Watson field goal with 39 seconds to play.
“That was a big drive. We had some penalties that put us behind the sticks, but we ground it out,” Redbank Valley coach Ed Wasilowski said. “I would've liked if we could've taken it in (for a touchdown) there. If they would've won it after that, more power to them, because they had to go the length of the field with no timeouts and less than a minute.”
Ridgway (5-6) returned the kickoff to its 36, but on the Elkers' first play, Ridgway quarterback Ben MacDonald had his pass tipped by Devin Schimp and intercepted by Nick Shoemaker to seal the win.
“Give a lot of credit to Redbank Valley. They're going to represent District 9 well in the semifinals, and whoever they play is going to have their hands full,” Ridgway coach Mark Heindl said. “We were able to get back in it, but we couldn't get that stop we needed with enough time left.”
Apart from the final interception, MacDonald had a strong game for the Elkers. The junior quarterback completed 12 of 19 passes for 202 yards and a score, and he also ran for two touchdowns.
“We knew on defense that we were going to have our hands full, because they have some great athletes,” Wasilowski said. “They ran the ball better than I thought they would first half, so we made some adjustments to stop that, but then they started throwing it on us.”
Redbank Valley never trailed in the game after a 55-yard Mitch Blose return of the opening kickoff helped to set Strothers up for a 3-yard touchdown run. Though the Elkers answered with a 3-yard scoring run by MacDonald, the extra point was blocked to keep the Bulldogs ahead.
The Bulldogs led at halftime, 21-12, after a 20-yard scoring pass from Jake Dougherty to Kyle Schrecengost. Ridgway cut the lead to 21-18, but Redbank Valley handed the ball to Strothers on seven of its next eight plays, including a 19-yard scoring run to cap the drive.
“I'm proud of our kids,” Wasilowski said. “They controlled the ball too much on us e_SLps but luckily, we escaped. We can enjoy this one for a little while and then come back tomorrow to get to work on Curwensville.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- High school football roundup: Fulmore hits career milestone for CWNC
- Hectic week ahead for WPIAL student-athletes
- West Shamokin spoils Ford City festivities
- Pine-Richland knocks off No. 1 Central Catholic, takes conference title
- Apollo-Ridge offense earns rest period against Deer Lakes
- Springdale secures another playoff berth
- Charleroi wins wild, long affair
- Shady Side Academy tops Kittanning; both clinch playoff spots
- Big night from Stapleton brothers carries No. 9 Indiana over Knoch
- Motivated Bears coming to Monessen
- High school roundup: Trinity upsets West Mifflin in Big 9