T-D HS Football

Run game sinks Chestnut Ridge

By: Cory Isenberg

LOYSBURG — Chestnut Ridge dominated the line of scrimmage and scored first in the Lions’ PIAA Class AA first-round contest with Karns City Friday night at Northern Bedford High School’s Panther Community Stadium.
But the Gremlins plethora of running backs kept Ridge guessing and off balance as the District 9 champions overcame four turnovers and went on to a 35-14 victory.
Karns City (12-1) plays the winner of today’s WPIAL championship, either South Fayette or Aliquippa.
“Tonight they were the better team,” Chestnut Ridge coach Max Shoemaker said. “You have to give them credit. They just keep coming at you. It wasn’t anything that we hadn’t prepared for or knew was coming at us. They just keep shuffling personnel and running option and power, and they do it well.”
Eight Karns City players rushed for yardage against Chestnut Ridge, led by Wyatt Everetts with 118 yards on 11 carries.
“We have a talented group of running backs and are three deep at tailback and two or three deep at fullback,” Karns City coach Ed Conto said. “We’ve had a lot of weapons all year long.”
On Karns City’s second drive, there was a muffed exchange between Tyler Kepple and one of his running backs, and the Lions’ Trent Crouse recovered the ball at the Gremlins 24.
Chestnut Ridge (9-4) moved the ball on four straight runs with Crouse scoring from the 6. Sean Vanmeter’s kick put the Lions up 7-0, a lead they held into the second quarter.
The Gremlins put together a seven-play drive, with Everetts dashing in from the 49 yards out, eluding several Lions to get to the end zone. Zach Moore’s kick evened the game at the 11:12 mark of the second.
Ridge moved the ball on its next drive but failed to get the first down on a long fourth-and-2 at the Karns City 36.
The Gremlins put together a nine-play drive with Moore scoring from the 6 to put Karns City ahead.
Tristan Rhoades scored a 6-yard touchdown at the 6:29 mark of the third to put the Gremlins ahead by two scores.
Braden Hengst, who averaged 50 yards per punt for the Lions, boomed another one deep after Ridge failed to move the ball on its next series.
But on Karns City’s first play from scrimmage, Everetts fumbled and Ridge’s Beau Bosch recovered at the 7. Three plays later Bosch went in from the 3.
Vanmeter’s kick pulled the Lions to 21-14. But that was as close as the District 5 champions could get.
In the fourth quarter, the fresh legs of Maverick Kelsea scored from the 16 to again give the Gremlins some breathing room.
Rhoades, who was back after an injury that had sidelined him since the second week of the season, tacked on another score, a 14-yard touchdown, with less than a minute to play.
Bosch finished with 34 yards on 17 carries. Matt Wiley added 14 yards on nine carries before he went out with an injury in the third quarter.
Tanner College had four catches for 54 yards.