Kiski ral­lies, downs Hill School

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Stover js­tover@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­curyXS­tover on Twit­ter

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.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

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.

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