Hempfield outlasts Kiski Area in shootout
Suddenly relevant Hempfield won for the third time in four games Friday despite the absence of star running back Joey DeFloria for much of the night because of an injury.
Quarterback Ty George scored four touchdowns, and DeFloria added two before exiting with a separated shoulder early in the second quarter for Hempfield, which managed to shrug off its first loss of the season last week by beating visiting Kiski Area, 42-21, in a Quad East game.
“We came in with the idea of redeeming ourselves,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said.
Hempfield, which hasn't produced a winning record in 14 seasons, was coming off a 14-10 loss at Connellsville after opening with a pair of victories in Bowen's first season as coach.
George scored on runs of 42, 1, 45 and 2 yards for the Spartans (3-1, 3-1), who were 1-8 last season. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound junior exceeded 100 yards rushing and passing for the game.
“Ty George had a great first half,” Bowen said. “He really ran and threw the ball so well. In the second half, we had to hold on for dear life.”
Behind the duo of George and DeFloria, Hempfield stayed a step ahead of Kiski Area (2-2, 2-2) during a first-half shootout and led at halftime, 35-21.
George's 42-yard keeper for a touchdown gave Hempfield a 7-0 lead before Ricardo Carter found Joe Brungo on a 32-yard scoring pass for Kiski Area to knot the score, 7-7.
Hempfield took the lead for good on DeFloria's 3-yard run, and he made the score 21-7 on a 12-yard run at the end of the first half and shortly before exiting with the injury.
Hempfield also lost backup runner Skyler Carkuff to a leg injury in the fourth.
“We had a ton of injuries and illnesses all week,” Bowen said. “This just added to it.”
Carter connected on scoring passes of 27 yards to Shane Kuhn and 37 yards to Donivel Evans in the second quarter, sandwiched around a 1-yard touchdown run by Hempfield's George, as the Spartans clung to a 28-21 lead.
But George's 45-yard run for his third touchdown gave Hempfield the 14-point halftime cushion.
The second half was a near-scoreless struggle. If not for two key interceptions of Carter passes in the fourth quarter by Hempfield's Billy Thomas and D.J. Gearhart, Kiski Area might have been in better shape.
“Our defense came up big in the second half,” Bowen said.
Kiski Area coach Dave Heavner credited Hempfield's aggressive play but felt the Cavaliers wasted opportunities.
“The lesson learned tonight,” he said, “is when you get into the red zone, you've got to score. We certainly didn't do that.”
Hempfield capped the victory in the final two minutes on George's final touchdown run, a 2-yard plunge.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.