WATCH THE VIDEO | PHOTO GALLERY | Undefeated Richland Scores Victory Over Bedford | Sports

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – Richland’s Sam Penna was involved in numerous plays that resulted in positive yardage Friday night at Herlinger Field.

But the senior quarterback’s ability to rush 34 yards in what would traditionally be considered the wrong direction helped the undefeated Rams wrap up a 25-23 comeback win over Bedford.

“It felt like an eternity,” Penna said of the intentional safety that used the last 9 seconds on the clock. “It was all worth it. My rushing yards were down, but we won the game.

Richland (7-0) followed up a huge defensive position in the final minute with three runs from Penna to set up a fourth-and-2 from the Rams 34-yard line.

Coach Brandon Bailey called a time out and his staff discussed their options. With punter Ethan Janidlo injured earlier in the game, Richland chose not to punt.

Another option was to try a first down, but if the Bisons stopped play, Bedford would have seconds to try for a potentially game-winning score.

So Penna took the shot, ran back and weaved to gnaw the clock. He briefly hesitated near the end zone.

“You waited a little too long at 1,” Bailey said with a smile as Penna walked past after the post-game huddle.

On the plus side, Penna rushed for 53 yards and scored two short touchdowns. He hit running back Evan McCracken on two screens that resulted in touchdowns as the trail sprinter ran 42 and 65 yards for the scores.

McCracken rushed for 162 yards on 22 carries and had three catches for 108 yards and both touchdowns.

“Good game. Two very good football teams with great players,” Bedford coach Kevin Steele said. created big games.

“I am proud of our children. They fought and they fought,” Steele said after Bedford slipped to 5-2 with two straight road losses to undefeated teams Penn Cambria and Richland.

“One more game here or there and it’s a different result.”

Bedford quarterback Kevin Ressler gained 104 yards on 14 carries and Ethan Weber had 79 yards on 18 points. Ressler completed 5 of 7 passes for 49 yards.

“Two great programs. Both teams played so hard,” Bailey said. ” We were lucky. I think we won the line of scrimmage and in most football games that’s who wins the games.

“We were able to get the yards when we needed them and get the stoppages when we needed them.”

Bedford took the opening kickoff and rushed for 71 yards in eight plays to lead 7-0 after Weber’s 3-yard touchdown and Owen Horne’s extra run at 8:10.

Richland followed with 12 plays and moved to the Bisons 29-yard line. McCracken’s 29-yard touchdown run was nullified by a holding penalty and Joey Huxta intercepted a halfback pass and his return to the Rams 25-yard line set up another Bedford touchdown.

Ressler hit Weber for 20 yards to make it 14-0 at 1:50.

The tables turned in the second quarter as Richland scored two touchdowns and held Bedford off the scoreboard.

Penna hit McCracken on a screen and the fast running back ran 42 yards for a touchdown at 10:29. Noah Ritko’s kick put the Rams down to 14-7 at 10:29.

“We’ve been successful with this screen all year,” Penna said. “Our line is well configured. Evan runs a 4.3 so it’s hard to stop him. It was a team game. »

After a Bedford three-and-out, Richland had a 12-play walk capped by Penna’s 2-yard touchdown guard at 3:12. The conversion failed.

Richland opened the second half on a 14-game, 80-yard run that used nearly 7 minutes of the game clock. Penna scored on a 2-yard run. The conversion pass failed, giving Richland a 19-14 lead.

Bedford responded with a 16-game possession extended by a punter roughing penalty. Ressler went 16 yards for a touchdown at 8:35 a.m. and Horne scored 21-19.

“He’s doing a good job leading our offense,” Steele said of Ressler. “A freshman starter (at quarterback) but he’s very athletic and very smart. He reads well and does a good job for us.

Richland needed a game to regain the lead. Penna passed the screen again to McCracken, who sprinted 65 yards for a touchdown. The conversion pass failed again, giving the Rams a 25-21 advantage with 8:16 remaining.

Bedford followed with a 13-play walk, reaching the Rams’ 21-yard line. An illegal shift penalty thwarted the drive, and Richland forced a turnover on downs after an incomplete fourth down in the end zone with 1:01 to go.

“It stings. They’re great kids and they work really hard, so nobody likes the outcome,” Steele said. “But it happens. We’ll keep working hard. They’re a resilient group.

“We will go back on Monday and watch the film. We will be better.

Jack C. Nugent