No. 8 Kittanning pulls away from Valley
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Kittanning's big-play offense keeps coming through at the right time.
Junior quarterback Braydon Toy scored on a 75-yard punt return and an 82-yard run that broke open a tie game to give the Class AA No. 8 Wildcats a 36-21 win over Valley.
The win secures a home playoff game for the Wildcats (8-0, 7-0), who will face fellow unbeaten Shady Side Academy next week for the Allegheny Conference title.
“It feels great, especially getting our seniors another home game on senior night,” Toy said. “It was an emotional night, and knowing they get another home game is awesome.”
Host Kittanning led 14-7 after a defensive first half, but both teams turned up the offense after the break.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 21-7 on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Toy to star junior receiver Nick Bowers, who beat single coverage on an underthrown ball. The catch was the third touchdown pass by Toy and the second to Bowers, who finished with five catches and 110 of Toy's 159 passing yards.
That was when Valley (5-3, 4-3) made its comeback push, which began with a 60-yard scoring run by senior running back Demetrius Houser. Houser had 159 yards rushing and two scores as he elevated his play with Vikings quarterback Ty Matthews out with a shoulder injury.
An interception by Tyson Hill put Valley back on offense, and Devin Houser finished the drive with a 5-yard run. Demetrius Houser scored the 2-point conversion, and the game was tied 21-21.
“(Demetrius) is a strong runner, and the line was opening the holes up for him. When he finds a seam, he can hit it,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “We're blessed with three good running backs in him, Devin and Jordan King. Our guys played hard, and we'll bounce back from this.”
Kittanning regained the momentum when Valley punted on its next possession. Logan Slagle fielded the kick at the 25, but he handed the ball to Toy, who got behind a wall of blockers down the left sideline for the score.
“We have the mentality that once the ball hits the kicker's foot, we're on offense,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said.
“We knew that whoever caught the ball, they would key on, so when we reversed it, they were all still flying to him,” Toy said.
Kittanning's defense forced a punt from Valley, and on the fourth play of its next drive, Toy found a seam on an option play and went 82 yards for the score for a 15-point lead.
Valley advanced inside the Kittanning 10 on each of its final two possessions. But the Wildcats' defense, which has struggled this season on third and fourth down, turned them away both times to seal the win.
“Bend but don't break is our mentality,” Fabian said. “We held them when we needed to, and that's the most important thing.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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