WINDBER — The Chestnut Ridge Lion football squad understands the expectations that are presented to them each week.
Although they might not be the biggest on the field, they know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
On Friday, Berlin Brothersvalley marched down the field and scored first in the District 5-AA final at Windber Rambler Stadium. The Lions showed little signs of adversity as they went on to score the next six touchdowns en route to a 41-20 victory.
“Our kids, we have gritty kids. They’re not the biggest and we work hard in the offseason on our strength,” said Chestnut Ridge coach Max Shoemaker. “When we go into a battle we expect to win. It’s about expectations. These kids believe in what we’re doing, credit to them.”
This marks the Lions’ fourth consecutive district title, and its third against Berlin Brothersvalley in the last four years. The locals have won seven of the last eight district title games between District 5 and a subregional with District 8, dating back to 2012. All seven were won on the field, and they added three previous district titles in 1996, 2003, and 2006.
Logan Pfister had two rushing touchdowns and a 21-yard pass to Joe Gardner. The Lions also had a pair of rushing touchdowns by Trevor Weyandt and Trey Maxwell, as well as a 61-yard interception return by Matt Whysong.
Berlin Brothersvalley’s Cole Blubaugh opened the game with a three-yard touchdown run, scoring with 8:52 remaining in the opening period. Chestnut Ridge’s Weyandt blocked the PAT kick as the Mountaineers led, 6-0.
The Lions lined up at the BB 47 after a 43-yard kickoff return by Whysong.
Pfister had a small pass to Whysong before a 20-yard pass to Kaden Bowser for the Lions’ first first down of the game.
Maxwell had a five-yard run before Pfister bolted down the field for a 20-yard touchdown run. Brady Miller’s PAT kick was good, and the Lions’ took a 7-6 lead with 7:49 left to play in the first quarter.
Late in the second quarter, Whysong was in the right place at the right time and his athleticism paid off. He picked off Berlin’s Abe Countryman and sprinted down the field for a 61-yard interception return. Miller’s PAT was good, and the Lions took a 14-6 lead into the half.
The third quarter is where the Lions put the game away, scoring four times to put the mercy rule into effect.
Chestnut Ridge received the opening kickoff of the second half and Duane Knisely downed the ball at the CR 39. Maxwell had a four-yard run before Pfister’s speed was too much for the Mountaineers as he ran down the field for a 57-yard touchdown run just 56 seconds into the second half. Miller added the PAT and the Lions led Berlin, 21-7.
Berlin went three and out on its next possession and a short 27-yard punt was caught at the Berlin 42 and returned to the BB 21.
Pfister hit Gardner in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 9:34 left in the third period. Miller’s kick was good, and the Lions were ahead, 28-7.
Whysong added his second interception of the game with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter, placing the Lions at their own 11.
Following two small gains, Pfister had a 23-yard pass to Whysong and a 13-yard pass to Lucas Nicodemus to put the line of scrimmage at the BB 46.
Pfister had a run for no gain before flipping the ball to Weyandt and the sophomore took off down the field for a 46-yard touchdown run. The kick was no good, but the Lions extended their lead, 34-6, with 4:14 remaining in the third.
Seth Holderbaum had the Lions’ fourth interception of the night, putting the locals at the BB 23 with 3:56 left in the third.
Weyandt had a run of five yards before Maxwell had three yards for eight, four, and six yards respectively. His final run of six yards was for a touchdown with 2:01 left in the third quarter. Miller booted the PAT through and the Lions put the mercy rule into effect, 41-6.
“In the third quarter we turned the tables,” Shoemaker noted. “We capitalized on some of their turnovers. Our kids made some great defensive plays.
“Whysong made two picks, one to the house and that second one was even more spectacular. Holderbaum had a nice one on their end of the field that turned into a quick six points.”
Weyandt had the other interception for the Lions.
Berlin’s late third quarter drive carried over into the fourth quarter, with Blubaugh scoring on a 56-yard touchdown run just 12 seconds into the final period. Berlin added the PAT and Berlin cut the deficit to 28 points, 41-13.
The Lions turned the ball over on downs and Berlin’s Gavin Sager added a 60-yard touchdown run on the following play, cutting the deficit to 21, 41-20, with 5:23 remaining in the game.
Chestnut Ridge ran the clock out as the Lions secured their fourth straight district title, 41-20.
“We thought we moved the ball in the first half, but we were hurting ourselves,” Shoemaker added. “We said at halftime to eliminate the mistakes. We got greedy a couple of times.
“In the third quarter we came out and set the tables.
“Credit to Berlin. They came in with a good game plan. They stifled us with what they were doing defensively.”
Chestnut Ridge improves to 9-2 for the year and hosts Wilmington, who won the District 10-AA title game, beating Greenville, 45-7. It will be a rematch of last year’s PIAA Class AA opening round game, a game where Wilmington won, 40-33.
A date, time, and site has yet to be determined for next week’s state playoff game.
GAME NOTES — The Lions outgained Berlin, 20-11, in first downs. ... Chestnut Ridge had 243 yards rushing to Berlin’s 235. The Lions also won the passing game with 156 yards to Berlin’s 30. ... Pfister had 72 yards rushing to lead the Lions, but Blubaugh led the night with 123 yards. ... Gardner had three receptions for 43 yards to lead the Lions. ... Berlin Brothersvalley finishes the year, 10-2.
District 5-AA Final No. 1 CHESTNUT RIDGE 41, No. 3 BERLIN BROTHERSVALLEY 20
Berlin Brothersvalley 6 0 0 14 — 20
Chestnut Ridge 7 7 27 0 — 41
BB — Cole Blubaugh 3-yard run (kick blocked), 8:52 in the 1st. CR — Logan Pfister 20-yard run (Brady Miller kick), 7:49 in the 1st. CR — Matt Whysong 61-yard interception return (Miller kick), 2:39 in the 2nd. CR — Pfister 57-yard run (Miller kick), 11:04 in the 3rd. CR — Joe Gardner 21-yard pass from Pfister (Miller kick), 9:34 in the 3rd. CR — Trevor Weyandt 46-yard run (kick failed), 4:14 in the 3rd. CR — Trey Maxwell 6-yard run (Miller kick), 2:01 in the 3rd. BB — Blubaugh 56-yard run (Brady Glessner kick), 11:48 in the 4th. BB — Gavin Sager 60-yard run (Glessner kick), 5:23 in the 4th.
Team Statistics BB CR
First Downs 11 20
Yards Rushing 235 243
Yards Passing 30 156
Pass Record 3-12 12-17
Intercepted By 0 4
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties-Yards 0-0 6-55
Punts-Avg. 3-27.3 1-24