Kittanning playing for program's 2nd-ever playoff victory
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For the first time since 2001, playoff football will be played in Kittanning.
Fresh off winning the Allegheny Conference title and clinching its first undefeated regular season in 37 years, the Wildcats were handed the No. 3 seed in Class AA and a first-round matchup Friday with 14th-seeded Yough, the third-place team out of the Interstate Conference.
Kittanning (9-0) has only one playoff win in its school's history — a 1975 semifinal victory over Union in what was then a four-team Class AA playoff. If the Wildcats are to get the second this season, it will have to do it by beating a Yough (5-4) team that, in many ways, mirrors Kittanning.
“We're very similar. They have a scary offense and a great quarterback, probably one of the better ones we've seen all year,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “They have a good running back and receivers on the edge who can make plays, so they're similar to us in that way.”
Even the coaches' comments were similar in assessing what both expect to be a fairly even matchup.
“Offensively, they're a handful,” Yough coach Mark Crovak said. “They have a number of kids that can handle the ball well, and (Nick) Bowers is a very special athlete that they ask to do a lot of things for them. Even though we play an odd defensive front and they play an even front, our philosophies are the same on defense, too.”
Yough quarterback Tyler Donahue has thrown for 1,259 yards and run for 553 yards, while his favorite target is also his team's top rusher, Clayton Waldron.
Waldron has 736 yards rushing, but he also has 47 receptions for 522 yards and 16 total touchdowns.
Likewise, Kittanning continues to get excellent play from quarterback Braydon Toy, who has 1,515 yards passing and another 795 rushing.
Bowers is Toy's favorite target with 782 yards on 44 catches, but his rushing contribution is third behind Toy and Zane Dudek, who has 611 yards rushing on just 60 carries this season.
For all the impressive numbers on offense, it's in other areas both coaches hope to find an advantage.
“We've spent a lot of time prepping defensively, because it could be the team that gets some stops and creates a turnover or two that will win,” Fabian said. “Both offenses have been at a high level all year, and Yough certainly has our attention.”
The Cougars hope they will be able to create some problems up front for a Kittanning line that has been exceptional, especially on offense.
“The strength of our team starts up front,” Crovak said. “Our center, Shaun Phillips, has done a tremendous for us, and we have a number of seniors on our offensive line. On defense, Tom Sever has been a handful for teams up front, and (the line) has led our defense.”
One small edge Kittanning hopes will pay off is the home-field advantage it earned this season.
“The one thing we've done all year is treat every game the same,” Fabian said. “The edge of being at home is that you get to do your pregame meal, you get to do your walkthrough, and it's the same as you always do. Our stadium is unique, but I think it's that normalcy that will help us be comfortable.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Don’t miss matchups for Week 1 of WPIAL football season
- Hydration, nutrition are key factors in avoiding early-season cramps
- Technology goes to Birdie’s head
- Burrell-Valley rivalry matchup built on respect
- Montour seeks early Parkway edge against Central Valley
- TJ to clash with Ringgold in tough season opener
- Connellsville football team prepares for difficult stretch to start season
- Game of firsts approaches for Armstrong football
- Family affair for Charleroi HOF inductions
- Gateway to offer early test for Greensburg Salem
- Versatile Stover thrilled to be strictly quarterback for West Shamokin this season