Kiski Area runs away from Fox Chapel in Northern Conference clash

Friday, September 13, 2019 | 11:47 PM

Kiski Area came into Friday’s Northern Conference clash with Fox Chapel averaging 177 yards rushing a game.

The Cavaliers topped that total against the Foxes, and it helped propel them to a victory.

Kenny Blake rushed 21 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns, and Luke Lander added 68 yards on seven carries in the second half as Kiski Area totaled 245 as a team in a 36-17 triumph.

The Cavaliers (2-2, 1-2) got back into the win column after losses to Shaler and North Hills the past two weeks.

“In this conference, everybody is going to beat everybody else, and you have to work really hard to get a win each week,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said. “Week to week, when you win a conference game, it moves you that much closer to the playoffs.”

Blake and Lander were the workhorses on two long second-half drives that turned a 12-point halftime lead into a 26-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers used a wildcat formation to churn out yardage.

“Our line was blocking really good the whole entire game, especially in the second half, and I just hit the holes and did my thing,” said Blake, who finished with touchdown runs of 56, 3 and 4 yards.

Kiski Area took the opening kickoff of the second half and went 68 yards in 13 plays, taking 8 minutes, 23 seconds off the clock.

Blake scored from 4 yards, and a Cody Dykes point-after kick made it 29-10.

A Frankie Dininno interception of Fox Chapel quarterback Shane Susnak set up the Cavaliers at their own 28 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.

This time, it took 10 rushes to cover 72 yards, and Lander finished the drive with a 7-yard run with 6:25 left.

“We just kept pounding it down their throats, and they couldn’t stop us,” Lander said.

Peyton McCann finished with five carries for 16 yards for the Cavaliers.

“We came out in empty to start the game, and we hadn’t shown that,” Albert said. “(Freshman quarterback Lebryn Smith) has good instincts and speed, and we hoped to get him running a little bit. We went into halftime and were thinking they’re probably are in there planning how to stop what we were doing, so let’s go back to our regular offense — the wildcat — and just try to control the ball.”

Fox Chapel (0-4, 0-3) jumped out to a 3-0 lead with 4:53 left in the first quarter on a 23-yard field goal from Zakaria Essaouab. Susnak and Lorenzo Jenkins connected on a 13-yard TD pass with 2:43 left in the first half, but Kiski tallied three touchdowns between the Fox Chapel scores to open its lead.

A bad snap on a Fox Chapel punt attempt sailed into the end zone. Essaouab tried to kick the ball in the face of an oncoming Cavaliers rush, but the ball hit the turf. Justin Hessom jumped on the ball for the Cavaliers’ first points. A Smith conversion run made it 8-3 at the 7:17 mark of the second quarter.

Blake’s scoring runs of 56 and 3 yards were 19 seconds apart. The short-yardage scamper came on the heels of a Mason Bennett fumble recovery and return inside the Fox Chapel 5.

The Foxes hoped to put three more points on the board in the waning seconds of the first half, but a 30-yard attempt from Essaouab was no good.

“We moved the ball well enough in the first half to score more points than we did, but we just stopped ourselves,” Fox Chapel coach Tom Loughran said. “There were other times we did things like the bad snap on the punt where we gave them life and gave them juice. We make our own problems. I know the other team is playing, but we often contribute to their effort more than we need to.”

Susnak finished 15 of 27 for 195 yards, and Jenkins ended with six receptions for 110 yards.

Alex Wecht added seven catches for 61 yards, and he capped the scoring with 4:40 left in the game on a 26-yard strip fumble recovery and return.

“I am proud of our kids,” Albert said. “We had two games where we turned the ball over way too many times, and you can’t beat teams like that. Tonight, we did a good job of holding onto the ball, and we capitalized on their mistakes.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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