Kiski Area improves to 2-0 with win at Altoona
ALTOONA — Kiski Area student fans were chanting “We want Gateway, we want Gateway,” after the Cavaliers knocked off Altoona, 7-0, in a WPIAL Quad East game Friday at Mansion Park.
The start of the game was delayed 45 minutes due to severe thunderstorms, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of Kiski coach Dave Heavner, whose Cavaliers are off to a 2-0 start.
Kiski Area, which went 1-8 last year, defeated Connellsville in the opener.
“We earned both these wins, especially tonight,” Heavner said. “We really had to earn this game. I'm very pleased.”
Quarterback Ricardo Carter, a Gateway transfer, scored the only touchdown on a 1-yard run at the 8:31 mark of the second quarter.
Carter rolled in from the right side to cap a seven-play, 65-yard drive after freshman running back Lincoln Clayton rambled 35 yards to the 1.
“In the game of football, sometimes you have to depend on one side of the ball more than the other, and that was tonight,” Heavner said.
“There were two MVPs of this football game. First, and foremost, our defense. Secondly, our special teams, specifically our punter, Adam Mitcheson, who kept backing them up when we needed to.”
Mitcheson punted six times for a 46-yard average, but his big boots of 59 in the first half and 69 late in the third quarter put Altoona's offense in a hole.
“When you're playing a tough, hard-nosed football team like Altoona, it's always nice when they have to go 70 or 80 yards,” Heavner said.
“There's a saying in football — when you go away, pack your defense and your special teams, and we did that tonight.”
The Mountain Lions (1-1) didn't cross midfield in the first half but missed a scoring opportunity early in the fourth quarter when they advanced to the Kiski 10. However, a penalty for an ineligible receiver thwarted that chance.
“I thought our defense played well,” Altoona coach John Franco said. “But offensively, they thumped us. We couldn't get the ball in the end zone. When we had our best chance, we lined up on the wrong side of the formation and ... it's just frustrating.
“Give them credit. They won the battle of the line of scrimmage, and I didn't think they could do that.”
Jim Lane is a freelance writer.