Knoch, Highlands rivalry continues to grow in Greater Allegheny
By Bill Beckner Jr.
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
Knoch and Highlands have their traditional rivals.
For Knoch, it's Mars. For Highlands, it's usually Valley, but with the Vikings dropping to Class AA, the “Battle for the Bridge” game has been, well, suspended.
But what about their own, personal head-to-head showdown?
When it comes to the A-K's best rivalry games, Knoch-Highlands seems to get stuck backstage. Yet it keeps tugging at the curtain.
Friday night will be the teams' 30th meeting since they first smacked helmets in 1984. Knoch has 15 wins, Highlands 14.
Maybe the game is simply a friendly rivalry.
“We know they're a dangerous team,” Knoch quarterback Dakota Bruggeman said. “I think, deep down, we know it's a rivalry. It's just that no one really says it.”
Knoch has won four straight against Highlands, including 24-6 last season. Highlands won, 35-18, in 2008, a year after Knoch downed the Rams in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
Class AAA No. 9 Knoch (6-2, 5-2) clinched a playoff berth last week and hopes to use Friday's Greater Allegheny Conference finale in Harrison Township as a first-round tune-up.
Highlands (4-4, 3-4), needs an upset — and some help — to get into the playoffs. The Golden Rams have gotten used to winning lately. The team started 0-4 but has sprinted to four straight wins, with an inexperienced-turned-upstart offense finally finding continuity.
It needs a win and a Hollidaysburg loss to Indiana to clinch. If both teams lose, the WPIAL tiebreaker system will be used to break a three-way tie between Highlands, Hollidaysburg and Indiana, who would all be 3-5 in conference.
“There's always a lot at stake when we play (Knoch); that's the nature of it,” said Highlands coach Sam Albert, whose son, Adam, sees substantial playing time at receiver and defensive back for Knoch. “The kids know each other, in this case more than usual.”
Knoch knows Highlands is improving each week.
“You know, the thing about Sammy's teams is that they always — always — get better,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “That's as big a compliment as I can give them. They just hang in there.”
Knoch had to hold off a non-playoff team last week. Knoch trailed Indiana, 7-6, at halftime before rallying for a 20-14 win.
Indiana went to the pass, throwing 30 times against the Knights.
Knoch running back Ben Tackett went over 1,000 yards for the season, rushing for 156 yards and two scores, while throwing for another from the team's “Ben-cat,” against the Indians.
Knoch's defense, though, had to keep the end zone protected late, and it did.
“We had to adjust and I thought our defense did a great job adjusting,” Knoch senior nose tackle Jonathan Whalen said.”The thing about our guys is that we go 100 percent until the last whistle.”
Highlands' defense is led by linebacker Allan Cratsenberg. The standout junior has 35 tackles and seven sacks the last two games.
“The whole team sees Knoch as a rival, and we are gonna come ready this week,” Cratsenberg said. “Playing them for playoffs is going to be a challenge, but we are going to be ready.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Latrobe woman texts searchers in Linn Run State Park to tell them she’s OK
- Alvarez struggles as Pirates fall short against Brewers
- Rossi: Pens sticking to power-play plan
- RiverQuest short of money, looks for a partner
- Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
- Former Mystic Inn burns in Republic, Fayette County
- Police say Latrobe woman bought gun for boyfriend, who shot neighbor
- Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional