Kittanning defeats East Allegheny 56-39
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Nick Bowers did it all for Kittanning on Friday night.
The junior finished with five touchdowns — two rushing, two receiving and one on a game-sealing 96-yard interception return — to lead Kittanning to a 56-39 Allegheny Conference victory over East Allegheny Friday night.
Bowers' big plays helped his junior quarterback, Braydon Toy, post a second straight big game for Kittanning (2-0, 2-0). Toy finished 10 of 14 passing for 170 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 163 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Those numbers offset a huge night for East Allegheny (0-2, 0-2) senior quarterback Kyle Whipple, who was 17 of 29 passing for 322 yards and two scores.
East Allegheny trailed, 49-32, with less than six minutes to play, but Whipple marched his team down to the Kittanning 6-yard line with a pair of completions and a 20-yard run by Taizjon Brown.
But on second-and-goal, Bowers jumped an underneath route to intercept Whipple's pass and go the length of the field for his fifth score.
“We have three or four core guys that we expect to make plays, and Nick's one of them,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “It just seemed like every time tonight we needed one, he reached down and got us what we needed.”
“If you take (Bowers) off that field, we probably win that game,” East Allegheny coach Dom Pecora said. “If there's a better player in our conference, I'd like to know who he is. Sometimes, when you have two teams that are even, a kid like that is what separates them. (Bowers) is that good.”
East Allegheny led at halftime, 17-14, and Kittanning lost starting running back Zane Dudek to an injury on the final play of the half.
The second half was all Kittanning, however, as Toy connected for a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown with Max Mechling and an 8-yard scoring toss to Brady Crissman to give his team a 28-17 lead.
“We liked where we were on offense in the first half, but we had a pass interference call against us and a fumble that hurt us,” Fabian said. “Defensively, I just tip my cap to their quarterback.”
The Wildcats answered with a 74-yard pass from Whipple to Praise Gainer, but Bowers responded to that with a 49-yard score on a screen pass that he took from the right sideline back across the field while breaking at least three tackles.
“We just didn't tackle today, and it's unfortunate because I think we could have won that game if we did,” Pecora said.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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