MEYERSDALE – For a pair of unbeaten Somerset County football rivals that sit less than 10 miles down the road from each other, Berlin Brothersvalley and Meyersdale put on a shootout before a crowd estimated at around 4,000 on Friday night in a fierce WestPAC clash.
The Red Raiders used some big plays on offense and special teams, and a defense that held the high-octane Mountaineers scoreless in the second half in a 28-14 victory.
“These guys over here in black know everything about adversity,” Meyersdale coach Ryan Donaldson said about his squad. “When we were down 14-7, we knew this was our ballgame and we were prepared. We shut them out in the second half and I am so proud of these guys. They did everything we asked of them all week and were great tonight.”
Tied at 14 at the half, the turning point of the game came on the second-half kickoff return as Meyersdale’s Tyler Fisher took the ball at the 18 and dashed 82 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Brennan Campbell added the extra-point kick and put the Red Raiders ahead 21-14.
“When we came back out after halftime, I told Ty to return it for a touchdown and he did it,” said Devin Kretchman, who finished with 91 yards on the ground. “I think we wanted it just a little more than they did tonight.”
The Mountaineers then went three and out, punting the ball back to Meyersdale at the Berlin Brothersvalley 33. The Red Raiders marched down the field on an incomplete pass and eight running plays which took the ball down to the 29.
On the ensuing play, Kretchman took a direct snap, rolled to his right, stopped and threw a pass to Fisher at the 1. Drake Gindlesperger punched it in from there and Campbell’s kick gave Meyersdale a two-score lead.
On their next series, the Mountaineers put together a 13-play drive going to the 1. A bad exchange in the backfield had Meyersdale lineman Riley Whitfield recovering the fumble and setting up the Red Raiders at the 20.
Berlin Brothersvalley had one final opportunity to score in the fourth quarter, going from mid-field to the 31, but penalties stalled the drive and Meyersdale took over on downs with 6:45 to go and held onto the ball the rest of the game.
“Penalties and turnovers really hurt us tonight,” Mountaineers coach Doug Paul said. “We didn’t play a good game. Part of that is because of Meyersdale’s defense, but we will learn from this.”
The Mountaineers moved the ball on their opening series of the game, going from their own 29 to the 9, before Reese Kennell came up with an interception, the first of two for the senior, to give the Red Raiders the ball. But on the first play after that pick, Meyersdale quarterback Mahlon Reese threw an interception to Berlin’s Charlie Fisher.
This time, it only took four plays for Berlin to score, as Will Spochart rumbled in from the 6.
Brady Glessner added the extra point for a 7-0 Mountaineers lead.
Spochart ended Meyersdale’s next possession at the 5, picking off Reese a second time. But Berlin lost the handle on the ball on a pitch play and Kretchman recovered in the end zone to get Meyersdale on the board. Campbell kicked the first of his four PAT’s to even the game at 7.
The Mountaineers bounced back with a six-play drive, with Spochart running the final 16 yards for the score and Glessner kicking the extra point.
Meyersdale evened the game on a 12-play drive that covered 66 yards, with Reese taking the ball across the line for the score. Campbell’s kick set up the halftime tie.
Berlin Brothersvalley (6-1) is slated to host Conemaugh Valley next Friday while Meyersdale heads to Portage to face the Mustangs.
“We are going to have fun with this win because it’s against Berlin, but then we are going to back at it and get ready for Portage,” Donaldson said.