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Kittanning keeps playoff hopes alive

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 11:58 p.m.
Kehley Shank, contributing photographer
Deer Lakes' Ryan McGrath attempts to tackle Kittanning's Zac Croyle on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Deer Lakes' Lancer Field in West Deer. Kehley Shank | For the Valley News Dispatch

Kittanning's up-tempo offense continued to move the football, and the Wildcats remained in the playoff chase in the Allegheny Conference with a 56-14 win over Deer Lakes on Friday night at Lancer Stadium.

Kittanning (4-3, 4-2) dominated Deer Lakes (3-4, 2-4) up front, as the Wildcats churned out 282 yards rushing — 237 of which came in the first half.

“We felt good about our offensive line and how they are progressing,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “They were young early in the year and with each game they get under their belt they seem to get better. We found some creases and got some holes and got some guys some yardage.”

Kittanning jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game. A Deer Lakes fumble led to the second touchdown, an 8-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kol Lazaroff, who finished with 65 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

“The 14-0 (deficit) at that point didn't concern me,” Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett said. “We have battled back the past three weeks almost in the same situation, so there was no panic at that point. The kids kept battling and, unfortunately, we came up on the wrong end tonight.”

Kittanning took a 28-7 lead into halftime, and things never got any better for Deer Lakes. The opening drive of the second half ended with quarterback John Nogan getting intercepted by defensive back Logan Slagle. Nogan was filling in for starter Josh Plocki, who suffered a head injury at the end of the first half and did not return.

The ensuing Kittanning drive lasted just one play, with quarterback Kevin Barnes finding receiver Mitchell Pirhalla for a 58-yard touchdown to make the score, 35-7.

Defensively, Kittanning held Deer Lakes to 194 yards of offense and recorded three turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The first touchdown came after the Barnes touchdown pass, as Shawn Shaner stole the Deer Lakes handoff and raced 32 yards for a touchdown.

The second came by way of an interception by linebacker Vince Mead, who returned a Nogan pass 37 yards.

“Anytime you get a short field, your percentages go up in scoring,” Fabian said. Our defense did a nice job getting us the ball tonight. We got two touchdowns off turnovers. The defense played very well tonight.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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