Defense, running video game set to lead Kiski Area|Trib HSSN|Trib HSSN
Teams are always looking for their identity, and it took the Kiski Location Cavaliers a bit longer than expected to discover theirs in 2019.
However as the Cavaliers prepare for the 2020 season, they have a much better idea of what that identity is going to be, and they are thrilled to be able to take benefit of it this season.
” We felt that after our 3rd year here, the kids were beginning to purchase into the program so we are hoping that continues to grow,” Kiski Location coach Sam Albert stated.
At the beginning of in 2015, Kenny Blake was lining up at pass receiver however, after three games, Albert moved Blake into the backfield. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound running back went on to bring the ball 168 times for 980 backyards and 11 touchdowns in 7 video games.
Throughout the second half of the season, Blake was the cog that made the Cavaliers’ offense go. He assisted them capture back-to-back wins over Mars and Armstrong at the end of the season to protect an area in the WPIAL playoffs. In those two video games, he brought the ball 70 times for 407 yards and four goals.
Now, the gifted two-way elder who has Division I uses from Albany and Army is all set to capitalize on a full season in the backfield.
” It’s cool, since if I would’ve started back there from the start, we most likely would’ve started 3-0 or 2-1,” Blake stated. “So, it will be excellent to begin with a set offense this year, and I think it will assist us out a lot throughout the season.”
The Cavaliers likewise will include a strong defense that returns 2 of its top 3 tacklers and a solid secondary. Senior defensive end Jack Dilts, who has numerous Division I provides, is among those returning along the line after tallying 2 sacks and 43 takes on last season. He believes the defense is going to be a foundation for the group.
” Our whole defense is solid,” Dilts said. “Our protective line, our linebackers, our secondary, I believe we’re truly strong there.”
Last season, Kiski Location showed pledge with a team that included only a couple of senior citizens in essential positions throughout the field.
The Cavaliers started a freshman at quarterback and had 5 underclassmen in the receiving corps. They also had several underclassmen on the protective side.
With that young roster, the Cavaliers went on to lose to safeguarding PIAA Class 5A champion Penn Hills by 3 points and likewise beat a strong Mars team in order to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Blake stated getting that experience in 2015 will be a big piece of this season’s success.
” Last year, we were young, so there wasn’t that experience really, so we were kind of exploring,” Blake said. “Today, given that we have that experience, we’ll know what to do when the lights come on, so we’ll be excellent.”
The Cavaliers will have a new challenger this year. Through PIAA realignment, Pine-Richland fell a class and into the Class 5A Northeast Conference. The Cavaliers are looking forward to the difficulty of taking on the 2018 WPIAL Class 6A champions.
” Whenever you get to play a group like Pine-Richland, it’s a win-win.” Albert said. “If they win, you say, ‘OK, we were expected to lose.’ However if you win, that sets the tone for you.”
As the Cavaliers head into their fourth season under Albert, they are prepared to take the turn. The long time coach said his team is starting to look like a Class 5A football team, and he said he’s excited for what is to come this season.
* The Cavaliers have made the playoffs for the past 2 years.
* In Blake’s very first start at running back against North Hills in Week 2, he ran for 104 lawns and a touchdown. He went on to run for more than 150 lawns 4 times and scored three goals in 3 of those 4 video games.
* Kiski Location will have a quarterback fight heading into this season in between sophomore Lebryn Smith and Logan Johnson. Smith was Kiski Location’s leading passer last year with 230 yards but didn’t throw any goal passes.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review personnel writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter.