Share This Page

Falcons hope for fast start against Cavaliers

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Darrell Ross and the Falcons face Kiski Area in a critical season-opening game on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, at Connellsville Stadium.

There will be no easing into the season for the Connellsville and Kiski Area football teams on Friday night. In the Quad East, every game is important, particularly for those clubs vying for one of five playoff positions. The Falcons and Cavaliers certainly fall into that category.

“It's a huge game,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said. “When you look at both programs, we kind of fall into the same pot. Both teams will be fighting for one of those playoff spots, and you have to start fast.”

When the teams met last year, it was the Cavaliers who picked up an important 22-14 victory. Not coincidentally, it was the Cavaliers that snuck into the WPIAL playoffs, not the Falcons.

“Last year, we got off to a bad start,” Connellsville senior quarterback Jade Maher said. “We talk about that a little bit and we know how important a fast start is going to be. Hopefully, we can get off to a good start, and it will steamroll from there.”

When the season begins, Connellsville's initial challenge will be trying to slow down a strong Kiski passing game. The Cavaliers can move the ball through the air with sophomore quarterback Chad Kuhn. Senior tight end Shane Kuhn and senior receiver Joey Brungo are top targets.

“Kiski has very good skilled players,” McDonald said.

The job of slowing down Kiski's attack could fall on Connellsville's secondary, which will feature starters Evan Onusko, Dylan Knopsnider, Steven White and Derek Brubacher.

“Our secondary has to step up,” McDonald said.

Kiski's secondary likely will be tested as well. Maher will be starting his third season under center, and Connellsville will feature experienced wideouts Nate Norton and Darrell Ross, plus tight ends Caleb Pittsment and Jimmy DeMarco. Knopsnider, White, Michael Parlak, Josh Cree, Chris Russell and Anthony DeMarco will be coming out of the backfield.

Connellsville comes into the game high on confidence, particularly after a strong camp that featured scrimmages against Fox Chapel and Laurel Highlands.

“I think we had a great camp,” McDonald said. “We came out healthy. We found some depth, and I was pleased with our two scrimmages. I am a little concerned though because the level of competition in the scrimmages wasn't great and the level of competition we'll see on Friday will be drastically different.”

With the season at hand, the Falcons won't spend too much time dwelling on last year's season-opening loss to the Cavaliers. But, according to McDonald, it is something they can learn from as they push into the new season.

“We were right there, but they made the plays at critical times,” McDonald said. “That was the difference between a win and a loss. It was a game we had the ability to win.”

For Maher, what has happened in the past can't be changed. Instead, he and his teammates are focusing on the task at hand.

“I feel like we prepared very well, and we had a good camp,” Maher said. “We did the things we needed to do and we're ready. We just want to go out and play.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.