Kittanning runs Greensburg Salem into ground
But Kittanning, using a punishing, Wing-T ground attack that piled up 415 yards, got two Brad Shepard touchdown runs in the final stanza to claim its third consecutive victory, 30-16, in a Class AAA, nonconference game.
Greensburg Salem backup quarterback Chris Marsh hit Charles Dawson with a 9-yard scoring toss and the pair combined on the two-point conversion to tie the game with 43 seconds left in the third quarter to set up what appeared to be another last quarter nailbiter.
Kittanning, which ran the ball 65 times, responded with a 13-play, 70-yard drive capped by Shepard's 19-yard sweep down the left sideline on a 4th-and-seven play to take the lead, 23-16, with 6:51 to play.
Three plays later Golden Lions speedy tailback Akeem Vance, who had 153 yards rushing in the first half, fumbled the ball on his only carry of the second half and Ken Roudybush recovered at the Kittanning 49-yard line. The Wildcats needed just six plays to seal the victory as Shepard, who had 158 yards on 17 carries, swept left from 16 yards out and Randy Troup added his fourth PAT of the night to make the score 30-16 with just 2:50 to play.
'They killed us with that sweep,' Greensburg Salem coach George Kemerer said of Shepard, who got most of his yardage sweeping left from his right wingback position.
'It's one of their base plays, and they know what they're doing,' he added.
'Shepard is getting his chance now and making the best of it,' Kittanning coach Harry Beckwith said of the junior. 'Greensburg Salem is a good team. You have to be careful and watch their speed.'
Behind the running of Roudybush and wingback Adam Brochetti, the Wildcats drove inside the Golden Lions 10, but Dawson stripped the ball from Brochetti and Ben Smith recovered on the 1-yard-line.
Two plays later, Karl Walker tackled Greensburg Salem quarterback Matthew Lenart in the end zone to give Kittanning a 2-0 lead with 4:08 to play in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats let another scoring opportunity slip away when Vance tackled Shepard for a 3-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal play from the two. Three plays later, Vance sprinted 88 yards for a TD and Dawson ran in the two-point conversion to give the Golden Lions an 8-2 lead with 4:33 to play in the half.
Kittanning responded with a eight play, 80-yard drive capped by a five-yard run by Shepard to make it 9-8 Wildcats with 2:08 to play in the half.
Kittanning took the second half kickoff and marched 71 yards on 13 plays with Roudybush getting the final yard. Troup's extra point made it 16-8.
The Golden Lions tied the game on their next possession. But Kittanning's ground game was too much for Greensburg Salem in the final 12 minutes.