Kittanning blanks Summit Academy
Kittanning took advantage of a number of Summit Academy mistakes Saturday afternoon and rolled to a 28-0 Allegheny Conference road victory.
Summit Academy miscues set up all four Wildcats touchdowns, while the Kittanning defense limited the Knights to 60 total yards.
Summit Academy didn't pick up a first down until 7:14 remained in the game and entered Kittanning territory just two times.
“I told our guys in two out of three phases, I was happy,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “Our special teams hadn't played well, our kick coverage was a nightmare and our defense was lights out.”
The Wildcats (2-2, 2-1) are one-half game behind second-place Freeport and Shady Side Academy in the conference standings.
Kittanning senior Mitchell Pirhalla intercepted a pass, threw two key blocks (including one on a touchdown run), caught a touchdown pass, recorded a sack and recovered a punt bobbled by Summit Academy at the Knights' 17 less than three minutes into the game.
On the next play after the muffed punt, Pirhalla caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Barnes, who threw for 144 yards, to get the scoring under way.
With eight minutes left in the half, Pirhalla's interception at the Kittanning 45 set up a six-play scoring drive. Pirhalla blasted a Knights defender to clear the way for a 19-yard touchdown run by Barnes.
“I felt like we played our best game so far,” Pirhalla said. “Everyone's blocking like they need to and our defense stepped up big time. We studied film a lot this week and we knew what was coming.”
After receiving the second-half kickoff, Summit Academy (1-3, 0-3) went three-and-out, and the errant punt rolled out of bounds at its 25.On the following play, Kol Lazaroff broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and raced to the end zone.
Later, after the ball was snapped over the Summit Academy punter's head, Chris Harp came out of the end zone and was tackled at the 24, turning the ball over to the Wildcats on downs.
On the next play, sophomore Logan Slagle caught a Barnes pass for the final touchdown of the day.
The Wildcats are learning a new offense this year under Fabian and had some mistakes lining up and moving the ball at times.
“Sometimes, we just don't execute and we have to work on that over the next week,” said tight end Vince Mead.
“Our offense is definitely a lot different than in the past. But we're winning and it's working and I'm fine with it.”
“We've got a couple of things offensively that we've got to clean up,” Fabian said. “Spacing in this offense is so key and, at times, our spacing wasn't very good.”
Kittanning returns home to play first-place Burrell at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Fabian feels one day less preparation won't have an effect on the Wildcats.
“I don't think it matters after you get a win,” Fabian said. “Our operation all year has been giving them the weekends off. I saw Burrell (Friday) night and I'll be losing sleep after watching that game.”
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.