Jenkins leads Fox Chapel past Kiski Area

Friday, October 9, 2020 | 10:46 PM

Contrasting styles clashed between Fox Chapel and Kiski Area, and the result was each team’s standout turn in a huge performance.

Lorenzo Jenkins pulled in a 66-yard, go-ahead touchdown reception — his third of the game — with 7 minutes, 3 seconds remaining for the Foxes, who held on for a 28-24 win Friday at home in a Class 5A Northeast Conference game.

Jenkins also had first-half scores of 17 and 16 yards among his seven catches for a career-best 166 yards for the Foxes (2-3, 2-1). Junior quarterback Collin Dietz, making his first career start for injured senior Justin Rice, was just 11 of 36 passing but amassed 267 yards and four scores with just one interception.

“Our plan was to throw the ball against them, and that’s what we were going to do. He’s the next guy up, and I thought he played well when we needed him to make a play,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “The strength of our team is our receivers, and they made plays.”

On the flip side, Kiski Area (1-3, 0-3) wanted the game to be determined up front, and they were carried by the legs — and occasionally the arm — of junior Brock Wilkins.

Wilkins scored all three touchdowns on short runs and finished with 194 yards on 35 carries for the Cavaliers. He also had an interception on defense and completed both his passing attempts, including one on fourth down that went for 26 yards to Brayden Dunmire and set up a 7-yard scoring run that put Kiski ahead 24-21 in the fourth quarter.

“He’s just a tremendous football player on both sides of the ball. We call him ‘Manster’ — half man, half monster — and he deserves the nickname,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said.

Neither team led by more than a score in the back-and-forth contest, as the Foxes went against the grain and came out running the ball. Zidane Thomas finished with 82 yards on eight carries for the Foxes, but Loughran said that was dictated by matchups, as Thomas did all of his damage on his team’s first two drives.

“That’s Kiski’s m.o. That’s the way they operate, they line up and blitz you, and they play man-to-man in the secondary. Our plan was tailored to that, but they came out with five under and two deep, so when they did that, we ran the ball,” Loughran said.

The contrasting styles were reflected in the time of possession, as Kiski Area held the ball for 35:36, nearly three full quarters of the game. But the Cavaliers’ reliance on the run hurt them on their final drive, which began at their own 27.

Kiski Area moved the ball methodically, as Wilkins battled cramps and moved in and out of the game between plays. The Cavaliers made it all the way to the Fox Chapel 17 with :49 left, but they would go no further.

A sack by Caleb Kulikowski on first down backed the Cavaliers up, and while the next play ended with Calvin Heinle making a catch in the end zone, there was no celebration, as a flag for a blindside block was thrown in the backfield before the pass.

Forced back to the 46, the Cavaliers tried for the Hail Mary, but Dorian Gomez made a game-clinching interception for the Foxes.

“We made stops when we needed to. Their plan was to come out and muscle us, and a lot of times, they did that,” Loughran said. “But we got a stop on the goal line, we got a stop down there (on the interception), and I told the guys, just because bad things happen, it doesn’t mean the game has to turn on that play.”

“If we could still run the ball, they couldn’t stop us, but we ran out of time and had to go to a different offense,” Albert said. “But the clock ran down on us, and we had the penalty, and it’s tough playing (the officials), too.”

Albert was vocal about his displeasure with the officials, and both teams were victimized by flags during the contest. Each team finished with matching totals of 11 penalties for 136 yards.

Matt Grubba is a contributing writer.

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