Upper St. Clair runs past Kiski Area, into 2nd round
Top-seeded Upper St. Clair (10-0) hit the ground running Friday and raced to a 44-13 victory over Kiski Area (5-5) in a Quad-A playoff game at Panther Stadium.
Upper St. Clair advances to play defending WPIAL and PIAA champion North Allegheny at a site to be determined.
Trevor Morrow led the way for the Panthers with five first-half touchdowns and 158 yards on 11 carries as USC sprinted to a 44-6 halftime lead. Morrow and quarterback Joe Repischak did not play in the second half.
“They are undefeated for a reason,” Kiski Area coach Dave Heavner said. “It's not only Morrow. It's all of those guys. They executed and are very well coached.”
Upper St. Clair had 400 yards for the game to Kiski Area's 197. The Panthers rolled up 350 yards rushing.
“This is a tournament, and if you want to be around to play at the end, you have to take care of business at the beginning,” Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render said. “If you are looking for an easy way to the finals, you are in the wrong tournament.”
Pat Turner featured one of the lone bright spots for the Cavaliers with a 79-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. Upper St. Clair answered with touchdowns on its next three possessions.
Turner finished with 108 yards on 10 carries. Chad Kuhn completed 6 of 11 passes for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Repischak attempted just three passes and completed two for 50 yards.
Joey Brungo scored Kiski's other touchdown on a 25-yard reception just before the end of the third quarter. That was the only score in the second half, a half played with a running clock because of Upper St. Clair's lead of more than 35 points.
Last season, Upper St. Clair defeated Kiski Area, 49-0, in the first round of the playoffs. Although the outcome was the same, Heavner saw things he liked.
“They are a superior team compared to us,” Heavner said. “I can say that. But what I saw was us scoring on a 79- or 80-yard run when we were already down 21-0. Up front they controlled the line of scrimmage, on offense and defense, but we never took a step back. These kids kept fighting, and I will take that.”
Morrow scored touchdowns on the first four possessions for Upper St. Clair on runs of 21, 6, 3 and 1-yard.
Mike Krenn scored on Upper St. Clair's next possession on a 39-yard run on a reverse. Morrow followed with a 61-yard run with 4:38 to play in the half.
Sandwiched in between those last two scores was a safety after an errant snap on a punt. The snap went over the head of Kiski Area punter Adam Mitcheson and out of the end zone.
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.