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Kiski Area must prepare for McKeesport's unique offense

| Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005

It's tough enough preparing your defense to face the No. 8 team in Class AAAA. But the preparation becomes even more difficult when that team has what can be called the most unique offense in the WPIAL.

That's the situation confronting Kiski Area as the Cavaliers get set for Friday night's vistit by the McKeesport Tigers to Davis Field. McKeesport runs the triple-option flexbone offense, where the quarterback has to make a quick decision among three choices each play - keep the ball, pitch out to a back, or pass.

"Nobody else runs it in the WPIAL like we do," said veteran McKeesport coach George Smith. "It's very similar to what Air Force and Navy run. You have to have the right quarterback to teach it to."

"That offense wouldn't be difficult to prepare for if you saw it more than one time," said Cavaliers coach Chris Heater. ""Each week they get better, but our kids are excited about the opportunity to play McKeesport, especially at home."

And the Tigers have the right quarterback in senior Dan Kopolovich. The 6-foot-2, 178-pounder had over 1,000 yards rushing last season as the Tigers went 8-3.

"He's doing very well, but there's always room for improvement," Smith says of Kopolovich.

It would be difficult for the Tigers to improve on last week's 63-0 romp over Plum. Kopolovich scored twice in the first period and threw a touchdown pass in the second quarter to Robert Doiley before Smith cleared the bench. McKeesport also features other weapons like fullback/linebacker Anthony Leonard, who already has committed to West Virginia University and Travis McBride, who ran for 138 yards vs. Plum.

McBride is being recruited by West Virginia, Penn State and Louisville. Ohio State representatives stopped by the school Monday to express interest in Tigers senior.

In two Quad Southwest Conference games this season, McKeesport has outscored the opposition, 111-7.

While Kiski Area hasn't put up scoring numbers quite like the Tigers, the Cavaliers have won two of their three conference games and have averaged 400 yards of offense in the Quad Southwest. That includes last Friday's 23-22 thriller against Trinity, where quarterback Mychal Skinner scored on a four-yard run with 9:05 left in the game. Chris Dunlay's extra point provided the eventual margin of victory. Matt Riddle's fumble recovery with 36 seconds left in the game preserved the victory.

Kiski Area also played well against No. 2-ranked Gateway, a game that has Smith concerned, especially with the fact that his players are looking forward to the regular season-ending showdown against Gateway. "I'll show them that game against Gateway, " Smith said. "Kiski was on the 20 when the game ended. They have some weapons like Skinner, he's a heck of an athlete."

McKeesport holds a 10-3 lead in the all-time series.

Additional Information:

Tale of the Tape

Kiski Area will play host McKeesport Friday. The Cavaliers are one-half game behind the Tigers in the Quad Southwest Conference standings. Here's how they match up:

McKeesport - Kiski Area

2005 record 2-0, 3-1 2-1, 2-3

Home record 2-0 0-1

Points scored 157 120

Rushing TDs X 7

Passing TDs X 8

O-Line Average 231 255

Trib Ranking 8th NR

2004 Record 8-3 4-6

2004 score 54 7

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