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High School Sports

Knoch's Wood brings big leg to football field

| Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009

Knoch's Kevin Wood is a standout soccer player, but he's showing he's among the top kickers in the area. Wood hit a 35-yard field goal in Knoch's 37-14 victory against Indiana last week. Seven days earlier, he was true from 31 in a more difficult situation, breaking a tie with 4:10 left in a 10-7 victory against Hampton. Thanks to Wood's toe and Knoch's resurgence, the Knights (2-5, 2-1) are part of a four-way tie for first place in the Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference.

• It's tough to question Freeport quarterback Alex Isenberg's toughness. He is only 5-foot-9 and weighs 155 pounds. Yet, somehow, he manages to evade rush linebackers every week. Isenberg said his big-play ability comes from his younger days.

"I'd be out playing with my brother (Adam) and his friends in the backyard," Isenberg said. "They'd beat up on me and I'd come in crying to my dad. He'd say, 'If you want to play with them, you have to get tough.' "

• Freeport could get win No. 500 tonight at home against Deer Lakes. But more is at stake the final two weeks. A first- or second-place finish in the conference will secure a home game for the Yellowjackets in the first round of the playoffs. A playoff game hasn't been played at James Swartz Memorial Field since 2003.

• Something must give Oct. 31 when Wilkinsburg plays Leechburg in the Class A Eastern Conference. Assuming Wilkinsburg (0-7, 0-5) loses to No. 7 Springdale on Friday, Wilkinsburg will be one victory shy of 500. Meanwhile, Leechburg (0-7, 0-5) could extend its losing streak to 20. Wilkinsburg was 1-8 last year, with its only victory coming against Leechburg (0-9).

• Uniontown running back Fred Johnson scored four touchdowns in a 49-13 victory against Yough, but he did it the hard way. He scored on two punt returns (61 and 40 yards) for Uniontown's first two scores and an 85-yard kickoff return for the last touchdown of the game last Friday night. What is most unusual about Johnson's feat is that he is the backup to starter Arnold Walker, who rushed for 141 yards.

• Speaking of backups, Ryan Short replaced injured Matt Adams as the lead tailback for Greensburg Salem and rushed for 126 yards and two scores to lead a 44-0 victory against Southmoreland.

• Valley is in an unfamiliar position, at least in regards to recent history. The Vikings (3-4, 3-4) haven't missed the WPIAL Class AA playoffs since Troy Hill has been their coach. But after consecutive home defeats, Valley has been eliminated from playoff contention in the Allegheny Conference for the first time since 2004.

"This has been a rebuilding year for us," Hill said. "We're playing a lot of young kids. But despite all of that, the kids always give 100 percent. And I'm proud of them for that."

Hill is 31-17 in five seasons as coach.

DIGITS

218 — The passing yardage total achieved by Hempfield quarterback Dante Nania in a 41-7 victory against Connellsville.

991 — Games Jeannette has played in the history of the program. Jeannette can reach the 1,000-game milestone this season, but only if the Jayhawks advance to the PIAA Class AA championship game in December. McKeesport will play its 1,000th game Friday at Hempfield.

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