Kiski rallies, downs Hill School
POTTSTOWN » It’s been adept at winning quarters of the games it’s played this season.
Winning a whole game, however, has been a different story for The Hill School football team.
Saturday, the Blues had the edge for the first half of their nonleague game with Kiski School. But they couldn’t keep pace with the Cougars’ second-half surge, and they ended up losing to their guests from the western part of the state, 33-26.
“Same as last week,” Hill head coach Jeff Hollway said. “We came in well-prepared and played hard, but we didn’t finish. We have to win every quarter.”
The Hill (0-2) rode a 14-6 lead into the third quarter, only to see it erased by a pair of Kiski scores
within a 62-second span. It rebounded for a 26-19 edge with help from a Darnell Gruber touchdown pass, but the Cougars (2-0) called on their own passing game to pull even, then ahead, inside the game’s final five minutes.
The Blues made one last drive, getting as close as Kiski’s 25-yard line. A pass incompletion on fourth down with 29 seconds left, however, finished the locals’ comeback bid.
“Words aren’t enough to show how proud we are of these kids,” Kiski head coach James Perry said. “They do what we ask — whether it’s running another 300 (yards), staying late for practice, or coming in at 6 a.m. for film sessions. It’s a total team effort.”
The Hill’s multi-faceted offensive backfield got its early scores on the ground. Gernard Finney completed the Blues’ opening possession by going three yards around the end on a doublereverse a little more than a minute into the game, and Sharif Jones capped the next series with a threeyard run around his right end at the 6:24 mark and a 14-6 Hill lead following Goyo Mendez’ second conversion kick.
Daniel Adeboboye had a game-high 89 yards on 23 carries. A total of eight Hill players got touches with all but two of them racking up positive double-digit yardage.
“He’s special,” Hollway said of Adeboboye, who covered 26 yards on the opening play before going another eight to set up Jones’ game-opening score. “We try to rotate to keep our players at maximum strength. The kids are resilient.”
The Hill’s passing game, good for a pair of completions in the first half, became more prominent in the second. Gruber had 146 yards in the air on 9-for-13 efficiency, hooking up with Darnell Fleury for a 16-yard score seven seconds into the fourth after their 38yard collaboration put the Hill at Kiski’s 10.
Finney emerged as Gruber’s favorite target, catching five passes for 64 yards. Ian Lawrence was the recipient of a 26-yard pass late in the second quarter.
Defensively, the Blues limited Cougar quarterback John Leighty to 9-for26 passing efficiency, with one interception. But his completions were good for all but 22 of the visitors’ 249 aerial yards, with connections of 63 and 38 yards to Clayton Halmi (four catches, 123 yards).
“He’s battling injuries he’s playing through,” Perry said of Halmi, whose 22yard pass on a fake fourthdown punting situation got Kiski to the Hill 23.
The Hill “D” was also boosted by Christian Chirieleison’s interception of a Leighty pass, which set the stage for the Blues’ goahead touchdown run by Fleury. The post-grad, lining up in the quarterback spot when Gruber was out for one play due to injury, muscled up the middle with 8:11 left in the game.
“We definitely didn’t make as many mental errors,” Hollway said. “But we have to tighten up the defensive secondary.”
Kiski’s running game was all Cato Legaspi, who had 87 yards on 22 carries and touchdown runs of 29 and three yards. He collected much of the yardage on hard running up the middle, a 29-yard tote the exception.
“It was like a chess match out there,” Perry said. “The Hill players are much bigger than ours, but we played four quarters of hard football.” NOTES » The Blues fumbled three times and fumbled it away once . ... Leighty threw for a pair of touchdowns to Halmi (37 and 11 yards) and one to Avery Jones (23). ... Kiski had a slight (3-2) edge in conversion kicks with Nick Vasadze making them on his team’s last three touchdowns.
Hill School’s Daniel Adeboboye stiff arms his way into the end zone during a game last season. Adeboboye had a gamehigh 89 yards on 23 carries in the Blues’ 33-26 loss against Kiski School on Saturday afternoon.