Cavaliers topple Falcons in season opener
When the Kiski Area and Connellsville football teams played each other in the season opener last year at Kiski Area, the game was decided by one score in the Cavaliers' favor. With that in mind, many people thought this season's rematch in the opener at Connellsville would be another tight affair.
After falling behind 6-3 in the first quarter, the Cavaliers rolled off 35 straight points and used big plays in all three phases of the game to post a convincing 53-20 victory over the Falcons.
“We have a lot of special players and we want to maximize the talent we have,” Kiski Area coach Dave Heavner said. “I think that's exactly what happened. We did a nice job of running and passing. Our kicker (Adam Mitcheson) made some big plays and we had some plays from our defense. All three phases worked for us.”
Kiski Area's biggest weapons were quarterback Chad Kuhn and linebacker Shane Kuhn. Chad Kuhn completed 13 of 14 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns to guide the offense. Meanwhile, Shane Kuhn seemed to be everywhere on defense and turned the game completely in the Cavaliers' favor with a 20-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the second quarter to make it 17-6.
“Their athletes made the plays and it snowballed,” Connellsville coach Dave McDonald said.
Connellsville started strong. After falling behind, 3-0, on the opening drive of the game, the Falcons took the lead when Jade Maher found Darrell Ross on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
But then Chad Kuhn scored on a 9-yard run before Shane Kuhn delivered the big score on defense. A 58-yard touchdown run by Justice Evans was followed by a 24-yard scoring strike from Chad Kuhn to Tanner George. Joe Brungo then caught an 8-yard score from Chad Kuhn, and just like that, the Cavaliers (1-0, 1-0) were in control in the third quarter, 38-6.
“It was one of those things,” McDonald said. “Fundamentally, you don't expect things to go wrong and two of our mistakes led to 14 points. This hurts. It starts with me and it will end with me. I'm still proud of these kids and Monday, we'll show up and work. We made some huge mistakes, but they are correctable mistakes.”
Trailing by 32, the Falcons (0-1, 0-1) closed the gap a bit when Caleb Pittsment hauled in a 37-yard pass from Maher.
In the fourth, Brungo caught a 12-yard pass from Chad Kuhn before Jesse Noble returned a fumble eight yards for Kiski's second defensive touchdown of the game.
“We came out trying to build momentum and build belief,” Heavner said. “Connellsville had two really good scrimmages and I was concerned. But one thing we tried to do offensively is spread it out and I thought we were able to do that.”
Connellsville closed the scoring when Steven White scored on a 20-yard run in the fourth quarter.
In Week 2, Kiski hosts Altoona and Connellsville travels to Gateway.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.