Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year: Kiski Area’s Brayden Dunmire

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Saturday, December 25, 2021 | 9:25 PM


Alle-Kiski Valley Defensive Player of the Year

Brayden Dunmire

DE/LB, Senior, 6-2, 230 pounds, Kiski Area

When recalling positive moments from his 2021 football season, Kiski Area senior defensive stalwart Brayden Dunmire’s thoughts were drawn to a Sept. 3 nonconference matchup against rival Franklin Regional.

The Cavaliers came into the game 1-0, and the defensive end/linebacker wanted to help keep the early-season momentum going.

He did just that with 13 tackles, a sack and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 24-14 victory.

“The environment and everything leading up to the game was amazing,” Dunmire said.

“It’s a great rivalry. The student sections were going back and forth all week before the game. I had a really good game, which helped that. The seniors really took control and helped everyone get focused on winning the game.”

Dunmire continued his strong defensive play throughout the season as Kiski Area engaged in a number of close games in and out of the rugged Class 5A Northeast Conference.

He finished the 10-game campaign with a team-best 113 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Dunmire recorded 10 or more tackles seven times and added nine in the season finale against Penn Hills. His season high in defensive stops (15)came in the Cavaliers’ 7-0 victory over West Allegheny.

It was the Indians’ first loss of the season after a 3-0 start.

“I felt I was flying to the ball more and making plays, and it was a big jump from my sophomore and junior years,” he said. “I was a lot more confident in my abilities knowing that my teammates were counting on me to step up.”

With the combination of his run-stopping and pass-defending skills on display, Dunmire was selected the Valley News Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year, edging a number of area standouts, including Freeport’s Andrew Sullivan and Fox Chapel’s Zidane Thomas, for the honor.

“Brayden made an impact for us in every way possible,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said.

“When he was a freshman, he made a one-handed interception in practice and took it back for a touchdown. We knew he was going to be something special. We put him at defensive end and then at inside linebacker, and he consistently made plays. He is so versatile. Whatever college gets him, they will be able to play him at a number of places.”

Of Kiski Area’s four conference losses which conspired to knock it from the WPIAL-playoff mix, the Cavaliers were within one score of the lead in the fourth quarter in three of them. Dunmire pointed to setbacks at playoff-bound North Hills (14-10) and Pine-Richland (33-27) as especially frustrating. At the same time, he lauded his team’s overall effort in those contests.

“The thing about those games was we regrouped as a team and went on and tried to get better for the next game,” Dunmire said. “We worked hard on what we needed to do to get another win. We never stopped working.”

In addition to his defensive exploits, Dunmire contributed on offense with five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.

As the calendar turns to January, Dunmire will ramp up his attention to a landing spot at the next level. Visits are upcoming at Division II Edinboro, IUP and Cal (Pa.).

He has received an offer from Edinboro.

Dunmire’s football decision is coupled with the goal of a strong academic center as he plans to focus on an exercise science/physical therapy course of study.

“With the visits and the opportunities in front of me, it’s pretty exciting to see what will happen with the next step of my life,” he said.

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

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