Kittanning's offense opens up against East Allegheny
By Stephen Catanese
Published: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, 12:26 a.m.
If Kittanning's Week 1 performance against Freeport typified the team's trouble adapting to first-year coach Frank Fabian's no-huddle spread offense, its Week 2 performance at East Allegheny could be looked at as a breakthrough.
The visiting Kittanning Wildcats broke a fourth-quarter tie via a 21-point outburst and defeated the East Allegheny Wildcats, 34-13, in a Class AA Allegheny Conference matchup at East Allegheny on Friday night. It was Fabian's first victory as head coach of Kittanning.
“The spread, I like it so much better,” Kittanning senior quarterback Kevin Barnes said. “It's so much quicker, so much faster. I feel like it's my type of offense.”
The result could have been different. In past years, perhaps, it would have.
With Kittanning (1-1, 1-1) holding a 13-7 lead and driving just after the midway point of the third quarter, dynamic East Allegheny (1-1, 1-1) senior wide receiver/defensive back Shawn Adair picked off his second pass of the game and returned it 70 yards for his second touchdown, leveling the score at 13-13.
“A kid with skills like his obviously can bring something to the table,” East Allegheny coach Jason Ruscitto said. “He can run, he can catch. We just gotta find ways to shake him free to have him be able to make more plays.”
The ensuing extra point attempt failed, but momentum had shifted.
“We felt, on the sideline, that it was a turning point,” Ruscitto said. “We felt that we were going to take a step forward and take control of the game.
Across the field, it seemed more like déjà vu.
“Last week adversity struck us; we didn't handle it well,” Fabian said. “This week, adversity struck, doubt could've crept in and what not. But we were able to come back and make a couple plays.”
But Kittanning answered immediately when senior running back Zac Croyle scored from 5 yards out to put Kittanning back in front, 20-13. Croyle finished with 134 yards rushing on 22 carries and three touchdowns. After a key stop on the next East Allegheny possession, Kittanning's offense took over.
Key to Kittanning's second-half performance was the emergence of sophomore wide receiver Nick Bowers. After finishing the first half without a catch, he exploded in the latter two quarters, reeling in four passes for 152 yards.
“We feel like we have four guys that can make plays on any given night,” Fabian said. “Tonight, his was the matchup we liked out there and we kept going to it.”
With Bowers effective, the running game opened up for Barnes and Croyle. Barnes, a former receiver who converted to quarterback, was productive despite two interceptions. He threw for 195 yards, ran for 68 and scored a touchdown on the ground.
“It feels good. I mean, winning two games in the last two seasons, it's really exciting,” Barnes said. “We worked hard to win. They're a good team, but we came out and played better than them, I guess.”
Stephen Catanese is a freelance writer.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.