Talent, temperament promising for Kiski Area
As far as senior two-way starter Joe Brungo can tell, there's no reason for Kiski Area to regress this fall.
No new playbook to learn — the big challenge faced by the Cavaliers last season, he said.
No mass exodus of key contributors — the fate that dooms so many teams after breakthrough years.
Kiski Area, which reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006 a season ago, is poised to enjoy further progress. A collection of Division I prospects leads the senior class, and several underclassmen are ready to shine after strong debuts.
“I think overall last year, we took a big step forward, just coming together and putting in the work,” said Brungo, who started at wide receiver and safety. “We definitely believe in ourselves this year. We think we're even better than last year. We're more confident in ourselves because we made the playoffs after a lot of years of missing them.”
Brungo, who had 23 receptions for 296 yards and also made 44 tackles, is one of the Cavaliers' big college hopefuls. Lafayette and Dartmouth showed considerable interest in him during the offseason.
Senior tight end/linebacker Shane Kuhn received an offer from Youngstown State and also had interest from Pitt, West Virginia, Temple and others this summer.
And senior kicker/punter Adam Mitcheson's booming leg grabbed the attention of Marshall, Old Dominion, Syracuse and Temple.
The responsibility of getting the ball to Brungo and Kuhn might ultimately fall on Kuhn's brother, Chad, a sophomore who has battled senior Bill Johnson for the quarterback position.
Chad Kuhn stepped in to take snaps as a freshman after Ricardo Carter left the team midseason.
If the passing game starts slowly, the Cavaliers can at least lean on a strong backfield. Chad Kuhn, mobile in his own right, likely will hand the ball off to sophomore Lincoln Clayton, freshman Justice Evans and senior Patrick Turner, Evans' older brother.
Clayton rushed for 579 yards on 120 carries last season, and Turner gained 306 on 55 rushes. Turner will move into more of a blocking role this year to make room for Evans, another speedster.
Turner, who also made 25 tackles as a cornerback, hopes his willingness to sacrifice for the good of the team sets the tone for fellow Cavaliers.
“We're trying to change it around, start a new tradition,” he said. “I'm trying my best to make this team perfect. … You have to think like a winner to be a winner.”