Meyersdale vs. Windber

Meyersdale defensive lineman Riley Whitfield (left) recovers a fumble by Windber running back Dylan Tomlinson (bottom) during their game on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at Windber Stadium. 

WINDBER – Meyersdale quarterback Mahlon Reese had one bad pass all night against host Windber.

The Red Raiders senior threw a pick on the fifth play of the game to stop a promising drive, but after that, Reese went 15-for-16 for 165 yards and two touchdowns while senior teammate Devin Kretchman amassed 118 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns as Meyersdale rolled to a 35-14 victory over the Ramblers to remain unbeaten (6-0) in the WestPAC.

“We were balanced tonight and that is our offense,” said Meyersdale coach Ryan Donaldson, whose team scored on each of its next five possessions. “We saw a little bit of that in Week 4 when we played Conemaugh Township, and we were able to do that tonight. That’s the game plan going forward.”

After Reese’s interception, the Ramblers turned the ball back over to the Red Raiders on a fumble at the Windber 23.

Meyersdale put together a short seven-play drive, letting Kretchman do most of the heavy lifting, including the score from the 2 to get the visitors on the board. Brennan Campbell added the first of his five extra point kicks for a 7-0 lead.

Another Windber fumble near midfield with 3:30 left in the first quarter led to another Meyersdale score.

The Red Raiders marched 44 yards on 10 plays, including a fourth-down play that saw Kretchman rush for 11 yards to the 6. Two plays later Kretchman crossed the goal line with 10:50 left in the second quarter.

“Windber did make some mistakes early on, and we were able to capitalize,” Donaldson said. “Our offense was on all night, and that’s what you expect them to be.”

Meyersdale increased its advantage to three scores with less than a minute left before the half as Reese found Tyler Fisher open for the 10-yard score.

Windber scored on its first series of the second half, moving 68 yards on nine plays capped by a John Shuster 8-yard run and Evan Custer kick to cut the Red Raiders lead to 21-7.

“In the first half, we just didn’t have the ball,” Windber coach Matt Grohal said about his youthful squad. “We had just three possessions in the first half and two turnovers and turned the ball over once on downs deep in the red zone. We have to do a better job defensively.”

Meyersdale answered right away with a nine-play series of its own, ending with a 14-yard pass from Reese to Gavin Hetz at the 4-minute mark of the third.

Each team added one more score in fourth with Kretchman scoring on his longest run of the night, 24 yards to give the Red Raiders a 35-7 advantage with 11:52 left.

Shuster scored from the 3 for the Ramblers, who covered 67 yards on 11 plays. 

Custer’s kick set the final.

Reese connected with seven different receivers including four throws to Hetz for 51 yards and five for 65 yards to Dakota Kennell and eight different Red Raiders ran the ball.

“We have all those tall, athletic receivers, and it’s great to see Mahlon Reese back again,” Donaldson said. “Everybody was involved tonight and that’s great to see.”

Shuster finished with 70 yards on 20 carries while teammate Dylan Tomlinson added 102 yards on nine carries for the Ramblers (3-3), who play at Conemaugh Valley next Saturday.

“I thought offensively we were good all night. We punted just once against a really good football team,” Grohal said. “At the end of the day, we’re happy with the way we played, just not with the loss.”

Meyersdale will host 6-0 Berlin Brothersvalley next Friday night.

“We are right where we want to be,” Donaldson said. “We knew we were up against a tough matchup against Windber. We are going to carry this  momentum over and keep this thing going.”

Cory Isenberg is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5080.​ Follow her on Twitter @CoryIsenbergTD.

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