VND high school notebook: Kittanning coach Frank Fabian enjoys press box view
Whether it's high atop the field or the standings, Frank Fabian likes the view from up here.
One of the few head football coaches in the state — OK, anywhere — who likes to coach from the press box, Fabian has his Kittanning Wildcats tied for first place in the Class AA Allegheny Conference at 5-0.
Kittanning hasn't started this well since 1997 when it won seven straight before its first loss. Fabian used to be the offensive coordinator at Redbank Valley and found a comfortable seat in the box, so comfortable that he decided to stay there when he took the reins at Kittanning last season.
“People ask me about it all the time,” Fabian said. “It's something that works for us. I'm the playcaller. We go no-huddle. Being up there allows me to make audibles. I don't have to entrust (play calls) to a kid who watches cartoons on Saturday morning.
“For me, it's easier to call the game from (the box). The tapes we watch on other teams are from the press box view.”
Fabian relies on his assistants, Brad Bowers and Jamie Paul, for on-field issues. Paul is in charge of timeouts.
He said if he needs to talk to his quarterback, he'll have him put on a headset.
“I am pretty emotional, and I think some guys get caught up on the sidelines,” Fabian said.
Seneca Valley coach Don Holl also has coached games in the press box. Fabian played for Holl in college at Gannon.
As for the surprising unbeaten start, Fabian is aware of the accomplishment, but isn't satisfied.
“I think all head coaches live in a state of paranoia,” he said. “We're all glass-half-empty guys. By no means do I think we've made it. But if you told me back in the summer that we'd be 5-0, I don't know if I'd have believed it.”
Evening the odds?
Ford City plays host to rival Kittanning on Friday and there's a long-time milestone at stake for the Sabers. Ford City leads the all-time series, 37-35-1, and the schools will merge to form Armstrong in two years. That means one of two things: 1.) A Ford City win seals the series; or 2.) Kittanning wins the last two meetings to even the series, possibly forever.
Valley senior running back Demetrius Houser will be a game-time decision Friday when the Vikings play host to Yough. Houser was suspended last week and did not play against East Allegheny for violating team rules. Coach Chad Walsh made the decision to sit Houser.
The Penn Hills-Plum game on Oct. 11 has been chosen to be part of the Great American Rivalry Series, a decade-long event connected with the U.S. Army that travels the country looking for the top rivalry games. The game will be previewed and featured on GreatAmerican Rivalry.com.
Plum and Penn Hills began playing each other in 1980. Penn Hills has won 13 in a row against the Mustangs, and 22 of 26 overall.
Highlands turned to some unusual suspects for defense in last week's 21-14 win at Indiana. Three players who normally only play offense — Robert Love, Elijah Jackson and Blake Leri — moved to the other side of the ball and combined for 19 tackles, including eight apiece by Jackson and Leri.
For the fifth year, many WPIAL teams will wear pink this month to support breast cancer awareness. The “Pink Out” event, sponsored by the Young Women's Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation, was first organized in 2009 by Mt. Lebanon student Ellese Meyer. This year's date is Oct. 25.
“I don't know how we're doing this. Our quarterback isn't even tall enough to ride the Jack Rabbit.” — Kittanning football coach Frank Fabian.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com. Chris Harlan contributed.