After sluggish 1st half, McKeesport rolls past Kiski Area
McKeesport and Kiski Area's matchup Friday night became the tale of two halves.
Kiski Area kept pace with No. 5 McKeesport in the first half, but the Tigers (8-1, 7-1) left the Cavaliers behind in the second half for a 48-7 victory in Quad East play at Davis Field.
“Our tanks were filled with high energy and execution (in the first half),” Kiski coach Dave Heavner said. “We're young, and we ran out of that fuel quickly. We had some kids get banged up. We just didn't have that energy level that we had in the first half.”
The teams played to a 7-7 draw in the first half, with neither taking control.
McKeesport looked like it may be that team early on, taking its first possession 77 yards, capped off by a Khaleke Hudson score from 4 yards out. But McKeesport wouldn't score for the rest of the half.
“The first half was very, very sluggish (for us),” McKeesport coach George Smith said.
Kiski Area (0-9, 0-8) responded in the second quarter on a broken play that resulted in points.
Junior quarterback Chad Kuhn shook off a would-be tackler, rolled to his right and found a wide-open Justice Evans. Evans won a foot race to complete the 65-yard play, evening the score at 7 apiece.
“When you go up against a team like McKeesport, you have to have all engines going,” Heavner said.
McKeesport started a drive at its own 33, taking the ball down to the Kiski Area 20-yard line.
Senior quarterback TyWann Smith called his own number but was stripped of the ball by Evans as he crossed the 5-yard line.
Kiski Area recovered the ball, ending the threat and preserving a 7-7 tie going into halftime.
The second half was a polar opposite of the first.
McKeesport again started with a touchdown and did not relent this time.
The Tigers scored on all six of their possessions in the second half by getting back to the things that helped them secure a playoff berth.
Hudson added three more second-half touchdowns to his scoring total, finishing with 258 yards on 17 carries.
“We just ran our basic offense,” Smith said. “We got very simple. (Kiski Area) was lining up in all different places, but we kept it simple. It worked.”
McKeesport, which finished second in the Quad East, will find out its WPIAL playoff opponent Monday night.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.