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Perfect no more: Red Lion blanks undefeated Dallastown

For once in a heated rivalry that Dallastown has had the upper-hand in recently, it was the Red Lion sideline celebrating as time expired Friday night.

The Lions student section danced, threw chalk in the air, and eventually stormed Dallastown's field to celebrate with their victorious Lions. Head coach Jesse Shay, who had never beaten Dallastown, was showered with a celebratory water bucket. Senior Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie, who scored twice in the second half, marched around the field holding the trophy given to the winner of this matchup each season high above his head.

"Oh baby, that was fun," a smiling Boyd-Gillespie said afterward with the trophy still in his arms. "Seeing that student section over there throwing that powder up is when I knew it was it. I knew I was going to have fun with my friends and celebrate the win."

In a series where four of the last seven games have been decided by six points or less, it was a rare 26-0 blowout win for Red Lion.

"It's so far and away the most gratifying win," Shay said. "I feel so good for our seniors. I said before the game that this was a special group to me. They were freshmen when I was hired, and the program was in some turmoil, but they completely bought in."

Playing without senior quarterback Cade Gold, who missed the game with a leg injury, Dallastown's offense struggled to move the ball. The Wildcats had 84 total yards at the half all on the ground and finished with 203 yards. But it was turnovers that doomed Dallastown early.

The Wildcats, who came into the game with the fewest turnovers in the league, turned it over twice in critical first-half moments. Dallastown was set up nicely after Boyd-Gillespie fumbled a punt return inside the Lions' 10, but two plays later, Boyd-Gillespie picked off Wildcats quarterback Michael Sparks at the goal line.

The Wildcats, who still won Division I outright because South Western lost to Spring Grove, caught a break when Red Lion kicker Sam Emig missed a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but the Lions took the momentum back moments later when they recovered a Dallastown fumble. On the next play, Dalton Grove hit James Jackson down the seam for a 30-yard touchdown, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead heading into the half.

Red Lion started to build confidence in the third quarter. Cole Snyder caught a fourth-down play touchdown pass that was almost identical to the Jackson score.

"It probably was (the most complete game of the year)," Shay said. "Especially if you consider the opponent ... This was an undefeated, and undefeated for a reason, Dallastown team."

Then it was time for Boyd-Gillespie to take over. The senior caught a third-down pass near the sideline, broke two tackles, made a juke move and outran the defense 56 yards for a touchdown. He added a 21-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth, sealing the 26-0 win and sending the Red Lion faithful into a frenzy.

"The only thing on my mind was beating them," Boyd-Gillespie said. "If I had to put the team on my back and push them, then that's what I have to do. And just keep pushing myself and win because that's all I want to do."

Red Lion 0 6 13 7—26Dallastown 0 0 0 0—0

Second Quarter

RL — James Jackson 30 pass from Dalton Grove (kick blocked), 8:28.

Third Quarter

RL — Cole Snyder 30 pass from Grove (pass failed), 6:23.

RL — Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie 56 pass from Grove (Sam Emig kick), 1:38.

Fourth Quarter

RL — Boyd-Gillespie 21 run (Emig kick), 5:29.

RL DT First downs15 10Rushes-Yards40-18235-193 Passing7-114-10-1 Passing Yards1549 Total Yards336202 Punts3-357-43 Fumbles-Lost1-11-1 Penalties-Yards2-108-74
Individual leaders

Rushing — RL, Alex Keough 17-84, Dylan Gurreri 3-8, Dalton Grove 8-11, Patrick Daugherty 4-34, James Jackson 3-9, Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie 2-26, Rodney Scott 3-12 . DT, Michael Sparks 8-31, Dillon Callahan 5-22, Jack Marks 3-32, Zion DeVance 4-60, Edgar Centeno 14-58, Jake Jansen 1-(-10).

Passing — RL, Grove 7-11-154. DT, Sparks 4-10-1-9

Receiving — RL, Boyd-Gillespie 3-70-, James Jackson 1-30, Keough1-18, Dillon Hildebrand 1-6, Cole Snyder 1-30. DT, Jansen 1-(-1), Connor Moore 2-11, Nate Downey 1-(-1).