Keller leads Greensburg CC past Kittanning
Greensburg Central Catholic presented Kittanning with a challenge during Friday night's nonconference game: Catch Chase.
The Wildcats (1-2) failed to contain junior quarterback Chase Keller, who fueled the Centurions' offense during a 21-16 win. He finished with 13 rushes for 95 yards and completed 10 of 16 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
“I'm a little beat up, but we got it done,” the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Keller said. “It's nice (to be a dual-threat), because you have the option to either run or pass, and that puts the defense in a bind.”
A pair of Keller touchdown passes gave Greensburg Central Catholic (1-2) a 14-3 first-half lead.
Keller connected with P.J. Biros on third-and-goal from the 17-yard line to put the Centurions on the board with 38 seconds left in the first quarter. His final throw of the second quarter found Tyler Balla on a fade for a 16-yard score. Keller completed 7 of 11 attempts for 73 yards in the first half.
“Last week, he was a runner, so we put a lot of emphasis on the run game,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “He still ripped a couple on us. Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap.”
Said Greensburg Central Catholic coach Matt Federico: “Chase is a special kid. He's definitely a weapon for us.”
Kittanning, meanwhile, gained all but 5 of its 108 first-half yards on the ground. Quarterback Kevin Barnes kept the ball 13 times and gained 69 yards. Fullback Zac Croyle carried 13 times for 39 yards.
Despite the run game's productivity, Kittanning failed to reach Greensburg Central Catholic's red zone. Its best effort, a six-play, 38-yard drive, ended with a 38-yard field goal by Blake Davis that gave the Wildcats a brief 3-0 lead with 2:38 to play in the first quarter.
Greensburg Central Catholic stuck with its score-just-before-the-quarter theme, as Nate Stone scored from 3 yards with 37 seconds left in the third. A 22-yard interception return by Corey Marshall gave the Centurions the ball at Kittanning's 48-yard line. Keller ran for 36 yards on the first play, and Stone scored two snaps later.
Nick Bowers had a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown receptions for Kittanning. He took a screen 40 yards down the left sideline. On the next drive, he scored on a 44-yard fly to make it 21-16 with 4:53 to play. But the Centurions held to win their first game of the season.
“It was a great game to watch,” Federico said. “We probably let it go longer than we should've. We started to get up a couple touchdowns, and we let our guard down a bit. Kittanning is definitely a good team. They ran it well on us.”
Keller's dual-threat abilities were matched by Barnes, who finished with 109 yards passing and 126 rushing.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303, Ext. 1321.