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Kiski Valley rugby looks to continue its strong postseason

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Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Nick Kastelic (10) breaks through Kiski Valley's Zach McClarnon during a rugby match Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at Burrell.
Top high school sports
By D.j. Vasil
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

The feeling of winning the first playoff match in team history was surreal for the Kiski Valley Rugby Club. Now, the focus is back to bone-crushing tackles and bulldozing defenders as the upstart Titans seek the second victory.

The Titans move into the Pennsylvania Division II Club semifinals. A rematch with West Allegheny, the team that handed Kiski Valley its only league loss, awaits at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.

West Allegheny, a first-year team, topped the second-year Titans, 31-22.

“They're a very physical team,” Kiski Valley coach Seth Erwin said. “They definitely don't back down. They like to fire up and force you to make mistakes. We are going to hope that with their aggression that we can capitalize on some of their aggressive mistakes.”

Kiski Valley will have a different starting 15 than in the previous meeting, something Erwin hopes to use to his advantage. Leading the way for Kiski Valley is sophomore newcomer Tyler Worthing, a wrestling standout who leads the team with 16 tries.

“I'm really excited,” Worthing said. “Nothing other than coming out with a win. There's no other way. We've got this far. We just have to get the guys hyped up and tell them it's time to put it on the line and get the state title.”

That could come Sunday if Kiski Valley wins. Saturday's winner meets the winner between Northeast and Narberth. Those teams play on the upper field at Cumberland Valley at the same time.

Starting time for the D2 final is 1 p.m. at the same field.

Minimizing mistakes and playing within its means are they keys for Kiski Valley. Out of all the matchups, the one that is perhaps most important is how Zach McClarnon handles himself at the scrum half position. Erwin said McClarnon played well in the 29-10 quarterfinal win over Warwick.

It's been a roller coaster season for the Titans. At the beginning of the year, they lost their two senior captains to injuries.

“If you would've told me before the season that we would've had this many injuries to key players and we would be sitting in this situation heading into the state semis, I would've told you you're crazy,” Erwin said.

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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