Kiski School trying to develop stronger, deeper roster
Jim Perry begins his second season as football coach at Kiski School with a simple goal: “Win more games than we did last year.”
Kiski School, a prep school near Saltsburg in Westmoreland County, finished 2-6 a year ago.
While the results weren't what Perry had envisioned during his first season, the Pittsburgh native saw what needed to be done to become competitive.
“We need to develop more depth and get stronger,” he said. “We were in almost all our games until halftime, but the larger schools' depth wore us down because we were forced to play a lot of freshmen and sophomores.
“We have to build a football culture here. I want to reduce the reliance of post-graduates.”
Perry gets to see how much the team has improved Friday in a scrimmage against Niagara (Canada) Academy.
The season opener is Sept. 7 at the Columbus Crusaders.
Perry will be counting on all-around player Augie Luptak (Sewickley), quarterback Darrik Martin (Bakersfield, Calif.) and middle linebacker Blanford Paul (Texas) to lead the team. All three are seniors.
Luptak, whose sophomore brother, Artie, started at weakside linebacker last year, plays free safety, quarterback and wide receiver. He also punts.
“Augie is a three-sport athlete and is being recruited by Ivy League schools,” Perry said. “He's been very productive for us.”
Martin is more of a thrower, completing 56-of-130 passes for 1,556 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. Luptak completed only 8 for 20 for 120 yards and four touchdowns.
One of the team's biggest losses was running back/wide receiver Malcolm Hill (Pittsburgh), who is playing at Morgan State. Hill rushed for 550 yards and caught 20 passes for 517 yards. He scored 12 touchdowns.
“Malcolm is a big loss,” Perry said. “But we have players ready to step in. I wouldn't be surprised if we run the ball more.”
Augie Luptak caught 14 passes for 208 yards, and Dan Swank had nine catches for 241 yards.
James Burke (Penn Hills), who started at linebacker as a freshman, junior Raekwon Grant (Canada) and sophomore Joe Carter (Murrysville) are the top candidates at running back.
Some of the other defensive players returning include linebacker Shawn Kissell (Latrobe), defensive end Connor Grady, nose tackle Jason Wright and defensive back Tristan Colaire.
The Kiski roster consists of three players from New York, two from Canada and one each from California, Texas, Delaware and Ohio. The remaining 27 are from Pennsylvania.
“We have quality, but we struggle with our depth,” Perry said. “We should be more experienced.”
Kiski School has only two home games scheduled this season.
Perry said there are two reasons: they want more home games next season to celebrate the 125th year of the school, and they want to dedicate a new stadium turf surface and track, which will be installed after the season.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-836-5095.