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Kiski Area suiting up for a milestone season

| Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011

Although the new football season is just starting Friday, one school will reach a milestone right away. Kiski Area will play its 500th game when the Cavaliers face Bethel Park at Davis Field.

The school came on the scene in 1962 as a merger of Vandergrift and Bell-Avon high schools. Washington Township joined the fold in 1966. Kiski Area's all-time record is 274-218-7.

Some items you may or may not know about Kiski Area football:

» Hall of Fame coach Dick Dilts, who guided the program for its first 32 seasons, wasn't the school's first choice. Kiski Area wanted Ray Fiorini, the coach of reigning WPIAL champion Avella, but Avella elevated Fiorini to principal. Kiski then pursued Tyrone's Ron Corrigan, whose salary was increased by that school. Frank Morea, a holdover assistant from Vandergrift, recommended Dilts — and the rest was history. He won 214 games.

» Kiski Area played in the WPIAL's first sub-championship division round in 1971, defeating Penn Hills. Before that, only the two undefeated teams with the most Gardner Points got to play in the WPIAL title game.

» Kiski Area played in the first overtime game in WPIAL history, losing to North Allegheny at Valley Memorial Stadium in 1975.

» Kiski Area has played WPIAL title games at three venues that no longer exist: Forbes Field, Pitt Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium.

» Thirty-one Cavaliers have been named to Associated Press and United Press International first, second and third all-state teams.

» Kiski Area once won 45 straight Foothills Conference games from 1967-73, a WPIAL record that stood for nearly 25 years.

» Despite some great teams through the years, Kiski Area is only 6-15 in WPIAL playoff games.

» In 1971, Kiski Area beat Thomas Jefferson for the WPIAL championship and was ranked No. 1 in the state. There were no PIAA playoffs at the time. The team was ranked fifth in the nation in the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press poll. The No. 3 team in that poll was T.C. Williams of Alexandria, Va. — the team depicted in "Remember the Titans."

On the air

This high school football season will feature plenty of coverage for those who can't get to the games.

On TV, Mike Choma and Mike Pavlik — the A-K Valley's version of Mike & Mike — will carry all Highlands games on Comcast Channel 13. Replays are every Saturday at noon.

Bob Tatrn, a 52-year broadcast veteran, will announce selected games involving Burrell, Valley and Springdale on Saturday mornings at 10, following Channel 13's Sportslive Trivia show. Tatrn also will record Riverview's Saturday afternoon games for telecast at 10 a.m Sunday.

On radio, Scott Briggs and Dave Bacon will carry all Knoch games live on WISR-AM (680). Mike Rizzo will broadcast Kittanning, Ford City and West Shamokin games on WTYM-AM (1380).

Msasports.net will cover a considerable number of local teams on its combination of online and small-town radio stations. Also online, TribLive Radio will host a preview show each Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. The show will feature Tribune-Review News Service reporters, including those from the Valley News Dispatch.

In fact, I'll be on Friday at around 5:35 talking about Springdale-North Catholic. Just log on to sportstalk.triblive.com .

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