Kiski Area looking for consistency as North Hills pays visit

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 | 6:45 PM

The first two weeks of the season have been a roller coaster for the Kiski Area Cavaliers.

During their Week Zero game against defending City League champion Allderdice, sophomore quarterback Tommy Burke hit Jason Baker with a winning 6-yard touchdown pass that had the Cavaliers riding high.

Maybe just a little too high.

Shaler took advantage of Kiski Area last week, jumping out to a 23-0 lead by the end of the third quarter and never looking back. The Cavaliers scored only six points, which came on Luke Lander’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“As a team, we won one game and I think our heads got too big,” Lander said. “Then Shaler came out and punched us in the mouth and brought us back down. It put us back in our place because we thought we were better than what we were.”

With a Class 5A Northern Conference matchup against undefeated North Hills awaiting them on Friday, the Cavaliers (1-1, 0-1) are in the perfect position to right the ship.

“It would put us right back to where we need to be,” Lander said.

The Indians (2-0, 1-0) present a tough challenge. After two weeks, they lead Class 5A in scoring with 81 points and have allowed only 49 points. When the conference opponents faced off last year, the Indians ran the ball 54 times and had two runners produce more than 100 yards as they battled to a 35-28 win.

North Hills was in the same position last year, too, undefeated after beating Butler and Fox Chapel. But each year is different in high school sports, which is why Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said he can’t necessarily take too much from last year’s matchup, other than the fact that North Hills comes ready to play.

“They are a well established program. Pat (Carey) has been there for years and they are tough kids,” Albert said. “They are well coached and organized.”

North Hills comes into Friday looking to keep its undefeated season alive after squeaking out a 35-28 victory over Fox Chapel. Although his team came away on top, Carey said he is looking to see growth in several key ways.

“We know that we need to make some improvements,” Carey said.

“We weren’t pleased with the results last week. Obviously, we were resilient and got a win, but we want to play better than what we did. So we’ve challenged our kids this week and they’ve responded.”

While Carey said his team needs to fix things on defense, Albert is looking for his team to duplicate its performance from Week Zero. He said they attacked ball carriers and followed through on tackles consistently, which he believes could lead to a win on Friday.

“If we tackle, we can play with anybody because our kids are aggressive and they go after people,” Albert said. “But once you get there if you don’t make the tackle, that’s what happens.”

Although they finished on opposite ends of the spectrum in Week 1, both teams are looking for more in Week 2. They will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Kiski Area looking to improve their ranking in the Class 5A Northern Conference.

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

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