Kittanning's strong 2nd half beats Ford City
There's usually some strange occurrences at Kittanning-Ford City football games, and Friday night was no exception.
Kittanning scored 10 points in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter without running a play from scrimmage as the Wildcats rolled to a 35-21 Allegheny Conference victory over the Sabers at Red Ullom Field.
Ford City took the second-half kickoff with Kittanning ahead, 10-7. After three penalties put the ball at the Ford City 4-yard line, Kittanning's Zac Croyle tackled August Mantini in the end zone for a safety. Kittanning's Sterling Henry then took the ensuing free kick and raced 72 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion gave the Wildcats a 20-7 lead with 11:30 to go in the third quarter.
The victory puts Kittanning (3-3, 3-2) one game out of first place in the conference, while Ford City slipped to 2-4, 1-4.
“We talked about coming out to start a half strong, but I don't know if we had that in mind,” Wildcats coach Frank Fabian said. “We kind of got them backed up, and the ball bounced our way there. It was a nice job by our front line guys. We got out and got our hats on some guys.”
Ford City pulled within 20-14 on a hook-and-lateral play. David Lattanzio passed to Justin Retzer, who tossed the ball to Devan Willyard, who took the ball the final 29 yards for a touchdown with 6:53 left in the third quarter.
Kittanning quarterback Kevin Barnes ran for 145 yards and passed for 110 more.
“We made a lot of mistakes mentally that really hurt us tonight,” Ford City coach John Bartolovic said. “We had a couple people dinged up, and it resulted in a lot of penalties were not accustomed to.”
Henry put Kittanning in scoring position twice in the fourth quarter.
On the opening play of the quarter, Henry intercepted a Lattanzio pass at the 47 and returned it to the Ford City 20.
Barnes scored on a keeper four plays later to make it 28-14 in favor of the Wildcats.
Henry returned a punt 45 yards to set up a Barnes touchdown pass to Mitchell Pirhalla for a 35-14 lead.
“We feel excited,” Fabian said. “This community, I couldn't be happier for. When you drop nine out the last 10 to a school that's only three miles away, you hear it constantly.”
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.