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Potent offenses lead youth football title chase

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Greater 28 Youth Football Championships

Saturday at Bushman Field, Harrison Township

115-pound final — Kiski Valley vs. Lower Burrell, 3 p.m.

130-pound final — Ford City vs Kiski Valley, 5 p.m.

148-pound final — Highlands vs Lower Burell, 7 p.m.

By D.j. Vasil
Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, 12:51 a.m.

Offensive formations such as the pistol, wishbone and wildcat aren't typically used at the youth football level. But they have become the norm for the Kiski Valley Lancers' 9-under team.

And the Lancers know how to run them.

Their proficiency has produced a 10-0 record and the No. 3 ranking in the state by the National Prep Youth Football Association.

Two other local teams, the 13-under Highland Hornets and 11-under Ford City Eagles, both 10-0, also have garnered spots in the state rankings. The Hornets are No. 2 in their age group/weight class and Ford City is No. 3.

The state rankings began in 2009. Several criteria go into the rankings, including points scored, points allowed and league reputation.

“It's an honor,” Kiski Valley coach Kyle Harris said. “The boys are excited. We are all excited. I tell the boys that the ranking doesn't matter if we don't win our (championship).”

Kiski Valley, ranked behind Harrisburg and Scotland, will take on Lower Burrell at 3 p.m. Saturday in one of the three Greater 28 League championship games at Bushman Field.

The Lancers have scored 264 points. As a complement, they also sport the 115-pound division's best defense, allowing 26 points all season.

“These boys are 8 and 9 years old, and I got them running the pistol and the wishbone,” Harris said. “We are almost unstoppable in the wildcat.”

The Hornets will play Lower Burrell in the top age-group division final and Ford City takes on Kiski Valley.

Highlands, ranked behind Harrisburg in the state poll, has scored 284 points while allowing 81.

“We are a power running offense,” Highlands coach Don Bushman said. “We are 2 to 3 yards in a cloud of dust.”

The Delaware wing-t and the veer have powered Ford City to 400 points.

“The offensive line gets a lot of credit because they are the ones opening up the holes,” Ford City head coach Ken Markilinski said. “They've blocked well all year.”

North Hills is No. 1 and Chambersburg No. 2 in the 130-pound rankings.

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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