There's a reason you throw out the records in rivalry games.
Because, if you went by records, then Dallastown would've had no trouble with Red Lion on Friday night and completed its perfect regular season. Instead, the Lions (5-2 Div. I, 7-3 overall) went into the Wildcats' home field and displayed their most complete game of the year. In the end, Red Lion exacted three years of revenge and shut out Dallastown, 26-0.
"When you consider the quality of opponent, we didn't do this against the Sisters of the Poor Convent School," Lions head coach Jesse Shay said about his team's performance. "This was an undefeated team and they were undefeated for a reason. My hats off to Kevin (Myers) for winning another division title, but I just could not be prouder of my kids for how they played tonight."
Despite losing, the Wildcats (6-1 Div. I, 9-1 overall) did capture their second straight outright Division I title with South Western losing to Spring Grove.
Perhaps the game may have played out a little different had Dallastown's senior quarterback Cade Gold not missed the game with a foot injury, but, regardless, Red Lion came out flying.
After the two sides played a scoreless first quarter, the Lions broke through early in the second quarter when quarterback Dalton Grove connected with James Jackson on a 30-yard touchdown to go up 6-0. The two teams entered the halftime break at that score, but it was the final 24 minutes when the Lions really dominated.
Cole Snyder doubled Red Lion's advantage midway through the third quarter as he hauled in Grove's second 30-yard touchdown pass of the night to make it 12-0. After that, it was the Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie Show.
The towering senior wide receiver took nearly three full quarters to get involved in the offense, but when he did, he was no match for the Wildcat defense. He turned a measily 15-yard catch into a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown, including breaking three tackles, to put the Lions on top 19-0 after three quarters. Then, he showed his speed midway through the fourth quarter as he took a pitch in the backfield, turned the corner and burned the entire Dallastown defense for a 21-yard touchdown run, putting the game to rest.
"The only thing on my mind was beating them," Boyd-Gillespie said. "If I had to put the team on my back, that's what I had to do. I had to keep pushing them, pushing myself and just win. That's all I want to do all the time."
Boyd-Gillespie finished with 96 yards of total offense, but it all came in the final 15 minutes of action on five total touches. He also had a huge interception at the goalline in the first quarter that prevented the Wildcats from drawing first blood, coming just one play after he fumbled a punt.
As a team, Red Lion outgained Dallastown, 337-201, including a 154-9 advantage through the air.
It was the first time the Lions defeated the Wildcats in four seasons and the first time Shay has tasted victory in the rivalry game, which had an atmosphere that was a nice tune-up for next week's first round of playoffs.
"It's so far and away the most gratifying win because I feel so good for our seniors," Shay said. "I said before the game, this is a special group to me because when I got hired and came here in April, they were only freshmen and the program was in a little bit of turmoil and from Day 1, they bought completely into what I said and what I preach and what my coaches preach."
For Dallastown, it must now put its first defeat of the year quickly in the rear view mirror and gear up for its first round opponent in next Friday's District 3-AAAA playoffs. As for Red Lion, it enters the postseason on a four-game winning streak with plenty of momentum and even more after Friday night's emotional victory.
"It's momentum," Shay said about the victory, "but, a lot of the playoffs is just who you happen to draw. So, I think we've done everything we can do. We're a 7-3 football team, we're playing very well, we'll look at who we draw, which I guess we'll know as late as Sunday, and we'll start game planning. I trust my kids."
Red Lion 0 6 13 7 - 26
Dallastown 0 0 0 0 - 0
RL, Jackson 30-yard catch from Grove (kick blocked), 8:28
RL, Snyder 30-yard catch from Grove (2-point conversion failed), 6:23
RL, Boyd-Gillespie 56-yard catch from Grove (Emig kick), 1:38
RL, Boyd-Gillespie 21-yard run (Emig kick), 26-0, 5:29
Category RL DT
Rushes/Yard 40-183 35-192
Passing 7-11-0 4-10-1
Passing Yards 154 9
Total Yards 337 201
First Downs 15 10
Penalties/Yards 2-10 8-74
Fumbles/Lost 2-1 1-1
Punts/Average 3-35.7 6-42.4
RUSHING: RL - Keough 17-84, Daugherty 4-34, Boyd-Gillespie 2-26, Scott 3-13, Grove 8-11, Jakcson 3-9, Gurreri 3-6. DT - DeVance 4-59, Centeno 14-58, Marks 3-32, Sparks 8-31, Callahan 5-22, Jansen 1-(-)10.
PASSING: RL - Grove 7-11-154, 3. DT - Sparks 4-10-9, 0.
RECEIVING: RL - Boyd-Gillespie 3-70, Jackson 1-30, Snyder 1-30, Keough 1-18, Hildebrand 1-6. DT - Moore 2-11, Jansen 1(-)1, Downey 1(-)1.
- Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker