McDonough leads North Hills past Kiski Area in hard-hitting matchup

Friday, September 6, 2019 | 10:26 PM

Heading into Friday night’s WPIAL Class 5A Northern Conference matchup between Kiski Area and North Hills, coaches Sam Albert and Pat Carey were expecting a battle, which was exactly what they got.

While the Cavaliers won a few of those battles in front of a packed house at Richard J. Dilts field, the Indians eventually won the war.

North Hills running back Tom McDonough ran for 213 yards on eight carries, scored all three of his touchdowns in the second half and led the Indians to their third straight victory, 34-7, to keep their undefeated season alive.

“We were able to establish the perimeter game in the second half, and once we got Tommy to the outside, he can really go. He’s one of the fastest kids in the state,” Carey said. “It just took us a little while to get going, but the defense had some key turnovers that I thought were the difference in the game.”

The Indians (3-0, 2-0) controlled the ball throughout the game. Their first drive took more than six minutes off the clock in the first quarter, but they couldn’t convert a 25-yard field-goal attempt. But the defense responded by recovering a botched Kiski Area snap.

Six plays later, quarterback Dylan Pawling scored from the 1-yard line to give the Indians a 7-0 lead.

Things started to get interesting after that.

The Cavaliers (1-2, 0-2) debuted a wildcat offense, and Kenny Blake emerged as the standout. The 6-foot-2 junior wide receiver, who also has played running back, ran for 104 yards on 15 carries and scored Kiski Area’s only touchdown. After converting a third-and-7 with a 10-yard run, Blake worked his way through the line and broke multiple tackles on his way to a 30-yard touchdown that evened the score.

“I think he showed what he was about tonight,” Albert said. “I think at one point it was Kenny Blake against them (North Hills).”

Blake picked off a pass on the next defensive series, but the Indians never wavered. North Hills’ defense forced another fumble one play later, then Christian Foskey broke off a 32-yard touchdown run to give his team a seven-point lead going into the half.

The game took a big turn early in the second half when Indians defensive back Luke Hulbert picked off Kiski Area’s Thomas Burke around the North Hills 30-yard line.

“It changed the whole game,” McDonough said. “We got the ball back, and it was our biggest momentum changer.”

McDonough took over from there. He ran for touchdowns on all three of his carries in the second half — runs of 30, 67 and 91 yards — to put the game out of reach.

“I thought I was just slow in the first half,” McDonough said. “So I knew when we went in at halftime, I needed to regroup, and then I just brought it.”

Kiski Area will look to bounce back next week when it travels to Fox Chapel. North Hills will look to keep its undefeated season intact when it hosts Hampton next Friday.

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

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