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Football

Plum ready to renew rivalry with neighboring Kiski Area

Michael Love
| Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Senior linebacker Nathan Turchick recorded 13 tackles, including one sack, in Plum’s 23-14 victory over previously undefeated Norwin on Sept. 19, 2014.
Theresa Martin | For Trib Total Media
Senior linebacker Nathan Turchick recorded 13 tackles, including one sack, in Plum’s 23-14 victory over previously undefeated Norwin on Sept. 19, 2014.

Plum head football coach Matt Morgan said one of the philosophies for the season is breaking the nine regular-season games into thirds.

The first third of the season saw the Mustangs go 2-1 overall and 1-1 in Quad East play.

The concentration now, he said, is on the second third which began Friday with a come-from-behind 23-14 victory over previously undefeated Norwin.

The win, Morgan said, put Plum at 1-0 in the second third of the season.

Morgan and the rest of the Mustangs hope to keep things rolling at home Friday as rival Kiski comes to town for a league contest.

Kickoff at Mustangs Stadium is set for 7 p.m.�

“Games between Plum and Kiski are always hard-hitting games,” Morgan said.

“That was the way it was when I was playing. These kids know each other well. They live so close to each other. Bragging rights are on the line.”

For Plum, a spot in the upper half of the section race also is on the line.

Penn-Trafford is 4-0 overall and in conference, and the Warriors have outscored their opponents 157-35 over the four games.

McKeesport, which upended Latrobe last week, is 3-1 in conference.

Plum and Norwin now are in a tie for third at 2-1, with Connellsville at 2-2.

The Mustangs travel to Connellsville next week.

Kiski Area is winless in conference at 0-3 and is 0-4 overall.

The Cavaliers have been outscored 209-54 in their four games, including a 62-0 nonconference loss to Pine-Richland last Friday.

Kiski gave up 55 to Hempfield two weeks ago, 50 to Latrobe in a wild 50-27 loss Sept. 5 and 42 in a 42-7 setback to Penn-Trafford in its season opener.

Despite the Cavaliers' early-season struggles, Morgan said Kiski is a team that shouldn't be taken lightly.

“They always have good skill guys,” Morgan said.

“They've had some tough breaks this season. We have to take them seriously. They are a lot better than what their record shows. They will want to come in here and ruin homecoming for us.”

Morgan knows his players will be focused on Kiski Area and won't get caught up in all the homecoming festivities.

“They know what they need to do,” Morgan said.

“It will be business as usual in practice and in game preparation. They can worry about homecoming stuff after the game. They will have a bigger smile on their faces at the homecoming dance on Saturday if they can come away with a win Friday.”

Plum and Kiski Area played every year from 1987 to 2011 before being separated into different conferences for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The Cavaliers downed the Mustangs, 20-0, in the most recent meeting in 2011.

Against North Hills in Week 2, Plum fell behind 17-0 in the first half and couldn't fully recover in a 17-14 loss.

On Friday at Norwin, the Mustangs trailed the Knights, 14-0, in the first quarter before taking a 16-14 lead at halftime. Plum added on in the third quarter en route to the nine-point win.

“It was great to see them overcome the adversity quickly,” Morgan said. “We told the guys to remain calm, play their game and things would be fine. They did that after a tough start.”

Strong defense helped set up three second-quarter scoring plays — a 36-yard field goal from junior Jake Chapla, a 30-yard run from sophomore Kevin Brown and an 8-yard run by sophomore Nick Coxon.

The Plum defense sacked Norwin quarterbacks eight times and held the Knights' running game to only 12 yards rushing and 141 yards overall.

Senior Andrew Soxman's 62-yard TD run in the third quarter capped the scoring.

Soxman carried the ball eight times for a team-best 112 yards, as the Plum running game produced 242 yards overall.

“(Offensive coordinator) Loren Cooley has done a good job of spreading the ball around,” Morgan said.

“We've talked about getting the ball to Andrew more. To be successful, we have to get him more involved. He did a great job running hard on Friday.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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