Kiski Area football deals with ‘weird’ times in prep for Monday night game

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Sunday, September 20, 2020 | 11:21 AM


The Kiski Area football team is in an interesting position.

The Cavaliers didn’t play their second game of the season Friday, as many teams did. Actually, they haven’t even played their first.

Because of a coronavirus exposure, the Cavaliers shut down in-person football practices Sept. 1. They postponed their first two games and canceled their scrimmage. Now, the Cavaliers are forced to play catch-up with even more pressure on their backs.

Their next two to three weeks won’t be like most other teams in Western Pennsylvania. The Cavaliers will play their first game of the season Monday at Connellsville, a game originally scheduled for this past Friday.

Then, because PIAA rules require a 120-hour time period between games, the Cavaliers canceled their Week 3 nonconference game against West Allegheny. They then moved their original home opener against Penn Hills to this Saturday.

So the Cavaliers will go through the first four weeks of the season without playing a game on a Friday night.

“It’s just a weird year. We are going to go out there and play on a Monday, so it just doesn’t really feel like a game week,” Albert said. “(Thursday) was like our Monday. We went just helmets, and we tried to install stuff so it’s weird that way, so I feel for the kids.”

The Cavaliers are staying true to preparing themselves for each game, even if it means having to tweak their schedule.

They got their first opportunity to play under the lights Saturday night, then the Cavaliers had to go through an off-day Sunday, which is strange the day before a game. But, no matter the circumstances, they were determined to stay ready.

“It’s weird, and it’s different,” senior running back Kenny Blake said. “But we’ll be sure to keep our body right Sunday and make sure to prepare mentally for the game on Monday.”

Being mentally strong is something the Cavaliers have had to get used to since the beginning of September. Rather than being on the practice field with teammates, they were quarantined at home. They had to revert to Zoom calls and Google Meet practices, during which Albert ran kids through individual workouts and did everything electronically.

In 2020, Zoom calls and online practices have become the new norm for schools all around the country, but nothing replaces the feeling of being on the field with teammates. So when they returned Sept. 10, the Cavaliers were ready to go.

“We had so much energy that day because we were dying to get back together,” Blake said. “But we had a really good practice that first day back together. We picked up right where we left off.”

The Cavaliers are still behind. Because of their setback, they were forced to cancel their scrimmage with Franklin Regional. Their only live action has been against each other, which could cause some mistakes Monday night.

“We have to answer a lot of things that you would’ve answered in the scrimmage,” Albert said. “We have a lot of young kids who have never played that are going to play, and that’s what the scrimmage is for. It’s controlled. You can correct the mistakes, and now it falls in the quarterback in the huddle and things like that and that’s a lot to ask.”

After playing Connellsville on Monday, the Cavaliers will play a tough Penn Hills team Saturday. Normally, Albert said he doesn’t like to look ahead — he is superstitious like that — but strange times call for strange measures.

“I was up real early, and I’m all ready for Connellsville in what we want to do. So I thought, well, I better at least look at Penn Hills a little,” Albert said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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