With new coach in place, Kiski Area trying to find its identity
Dave Heavner vowed not to break down game video from last year's Kiski Area football team.
“I haven't watched any film on Kiski,” Heavner said. “I don't want to evaluate these guys in someone else's scheme.”
The first-year coach wants to appraise the Cavaliers' talents in his system. And that system still is evolving.
Heavner also promised not to force new schemes. Heading to camp, he had an array of ideas to try, with Xs and Os scattered about.
The coach believes, with time and repetition, the right sets will stick.
“We have a lot of different fronts and coverages,” said Heavner, Kiski's fifth head coach since 2004. “We have to find out what we're good at.
“We will have an identity. There will be a different brand of football at Kiski Area, I can promise you that. We'll be aggressive, and it'll be a brand that uses schemes to take advantage of our talents.”
The basis offensively will be a pro style with one- and two-back looks.
“We'll have two ‘H' backs and they'll be hybrid/slot-types,” Heavner said. “We'll use some shotgun and work on zone concepts.
“I tell them all the time, we're stretching them more mentally than physically. I am introducing everything all at once.”
Senior Ricky Carter (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) is set to lead the offense. The transfer from Gateway has the potential to be a dual-threat quarterback.
“He is a very good athlete,” Heavner said. “We call him RC3. He has good legs.”
Twin seniors Jake and Josh Wiskeman should be important two-way players. Jake is a 6-foot, 210-pound tailback and outside linebacker. Josh (6-2, 240) is a halfback and defensive end.
“They have been very dedicated and loyal to Kiski Area football,” Heavner said. “They lead by example and have gone above and beyond.”
Another player in that mold is senior tackle/linebacker Nick Sharek.
Juniors Joe Brungo (6-2, 185) and Shane Kuhn (6-3, 220) also bring plenty of playmaking ability to the table. Brungo was one of the area's top receivers last season, with 23 receptions for 441 yards.
Kuhn is a tight end and inside “Mike” linebacker.
“Shane has good body control; hopefully, he'll be a force to be reckoned with,” Heavner said. “And that's on pass plays, too.”
A key lineman will be offensive guard/defensive tackle Andrew Yohe (6-3, 265), a junior.
“Our strength is going to be senior leadership,” said Heavner, a former head coach at Burrell and assistant at Valley, Franklin Regional and Highlands. “We have 18 seniors. They have bought into the program. They have been working extremely hard and are taking to the changes we have put in place.”
Kiski Area may have the best kicker in the A-K Valley in junior Adam Mitcheson, a first-team all-conference pick as a sophomore. Heavner said Mitcheson is getting Division I attention.
Kiski Area finished 1-8 last year but ended the season with a 20-0 win over Plum. Like many teams, it faces a revamped conference.
Kiski Area will line up against eight other teams in the Quad East Conference. Gateway and McKeesport are among its opponents.