Playoffs next for Kiski Area after beating Latrobe
Kiski Area coach Dave Heavner didn't want to look ahead to the playoffs before playing Quad East Conference rival Latrobe on Friday night.
But after a season-ending, 27-16 victory over the Wildcats at Davis Field, the Cavaliers can focus on the postseason.
“I was just worried about Latrobe tonight,” Heavner said. “I was worried about the game plan we put in and executing.”
The Cavaliers (5-4, 5-3) have made the playoffs in Heavner's two seasons at the helm.
Kiski Area was 10 years removed from its last winning season, as well as its last back-to-back postseason berths.
“It's a great victory for Kiski Area football,” Heavner said. “It's an exciting time, and the football players created this and made it happen, so I give them all the credit for that.”
Kiski Area established itself early, taking the opening kickoff and embarking on a methodical 16-play drive.
The march stalled when sophomore running back Lincoln Clayton fumbled. Latrobe recovered at its 6-yard line.
The Kiski Area defense forced Latrobe to back up 2 yards, forcing a three-and-out.
Clayton made up for his early miscue, getting a hand on the punt and deflecting the ball straight up. It was plucked out of the air by senior Shane Kuhn, who was tackled at the 1.
Kuhn's brother, Chad, scored on the next play and gave Kiski Area a 7-0 lead.
The Cavaliers' defense came up big again when it recovered a fumbled snap at the Kiski Area 27. Chad Kuhn factored in another touchdown, hitting Shane Kuhn with an 86-yard strike for a 13-0 lead.
Shane Kuhn had three catches for 103 yards. Chad Kuhn went 9 of 12 for 148 yards.
Kiski Area senior kicker Adam Mitcheson, who committed to Buffalo on Friday, kicked a 22-yard field goal to close the first-half scoring.
By the time Latrobe (2-7, 1-7) found its bearings, it was down 16-0 — but refused to buckle.
“We're proud of the way the kids came to play,” Latrobe coach Ray Reitz said. “The could have quit three weeks ago. These guys, they hung in there, and it's a credit to them.”
Senior defensive back Jacob Puleo's 32-yard interception return and the Wildcats' 2-point conversion trimmed Kiski Area's lead to 16-8.
But Mitcheson's 42-yard field goal and Joe Brungo's interception return for a score iced the game for the Cavaliers.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.