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Burrell's Bush shines in shootout vs. Kittanning

Ruediger | Leader Times
Burrell's Cole Bush drives for extra yardage as Kittaninng's Sterling Henry makes the tackle in the first half at Kittanning High School on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. Louis B.

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 12:08 a.m.
 

For one quarter on Friday night, Kittanning kept Burrell star running back Cole Bush to a modest 1 yard on three carries.

Then Bush, one of the WPIAL's top ball carriers, broke tackles, spirits and records.

The two highest-scoring teams in the Allegheny Conference did not disappoint at David “Red” Ullom Field as Burrell won, 56-35, over host Kittanning. Bush finished with 29 carries for 307 yards and a team-record six touchdowns.

“I'm amazed,” said Bush, who entered the game with 739 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns this season. “I didn't think it was that much. ... It just seemed like a normal game. I didn't have any big runs, really. It was 10 there, 8 there. It didn't feel like that many.”

Burrell (5-0, 4-0), ranked No. 6 in Class AA by Trib Total Media, had 505 yards of total offense. Quarterback James Liput completed 10 of 23 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown.

“A big word is ‘Wow,' ” Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt said. “It was an exciting, exciting game. Just two good football teams battling back and forth.”

Kittanning's 312 yards of offense belong almost entirely to quarterback Kevin Barnes. He completed 17 of 36 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 67 yards and two scores for the Wildcats (2-3, 2-2).

“That took me back to my KSAC days,” said Kittanning coach Frank Fabian, referring to the past two years he spent coaching Redbank Valley in District 9's Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference. “That's (the kind of scoring) I was used to seeing.”

The game actually opened with a defensive highlight. On the second play from scrimmage, Barnes' pass sailed a bit high for Vince Mead, who tipped the ball into the air. Burrell defensive back Nick Pattock grabbed the ball as it floated toward the ground and ran 29 yards for a touchdown.

Burrell's lead climbed to 35-14 by halftime on Bush touchdown runs of 1, 38, 4 and 50 yards.

Barnes had both touchdowns in the first half for Kittanning and had almost as many rushing yards (74) as passing yards (85).

Bush also scored on runs of 56 and 10 yards in the second half. The 10-yarder secured the team record for Bush, who also led the team with four catches for 90 yards.

“We just did not have an answer up front,” Fabian said.

Wide receiver Sterling Henry allowed the Wildcats to answer several times in the third quarter. Just after a Liput touchdown pass to Cody Wolfe, Henry returned a kick 90 yards for a score.

Henry also scored on a 64-yard touchdown pass in which he won a jump ball around the 30-yard line and won a foot race to the end zone.

Alas, Kittanning did not cut its deficit to fewer than 14 points in the second half.

“It was a great thing to see,” Horwatt said. “Everyone took it upon themselves to step it up for four quarters. I can't explain it, but these kids took the intensity to another level tonight. I'm excited to see more of it.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wwest@tribweb.com or 724-543-1303.

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