Kittanning receiver Nick Bowers pulls down a pass against Shadyside Academy Doc Szlachetka (13) and Tyrel Hill in the first half Friday at Shadyside Academy.
By Brad Everett / Tri-State Sports & News Service
Just a few months ago, Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said he would have never believed his team would have the season it has had.
Friday, the Wildcats added their biggest accomplishment yet.
Kittanning captured the Class AA Allegheny Conference title and finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1976 after edging host Shady Side Academy, 28-27, in a showdown of unbeaten teams.
Kittanning 28, Shady Side Academy 27
Kittanning knocked off Shady Side Academy in high school football action. (Video by Lake Fong; 10/25/2013)
Kittanning (9-0, 8-0), which last week clinched its first home playoff game in 12 years, went just 4-5 last season.
"I would have never have thought this would be the end result," said Fabian.
Shady Side Academy (8-1, 7-1) will enter the playoffs as the second-place team from the conference.
After the game, Fabian was doused with water and his players celebrated.
But there was no penalty assessed for this celebration.
The back-and-forth game included a questionable excessive celebration penalty on Shady Side Academy after it scored a touchdown to make it 28-27 with 3:59 left in the game.
After Jarred Brevard scored on a 7-yard run, he was flagged for the penalty. That made the extra-point a 35-yard attempt, and kicker Dan Marous pushed the kick wide left.
"I just think if we would have made a couple of more plays, it wouldn't have come down to an extraordinarily questionable call," Shady Side Academy coach Dave Havern said.
"It was a shame that two teams fought that closely for that long, and the outcome wasn't decided by a player."
After the missed extra point, Kittanning took possession and eventually ran out the clock with two big pass plays on third-and-long.
Quarterback Braydon Toy found Brady Crissman for 29 yards on a third-and-13 and then Nick Bowers for 12 yards on a third-and-10.
"They've been making plays all year. We wanted to put the ball in their hands," Fabian said.
Added Toy: "We just knew we had to make a couple of first downs."
With the score tied, 21-21, with just less than 10 minutes left, Shady Side Academy's Dennis Briggs fumbled near midfield. Kittanning recovered, and four plays later scored the winning touchdown when Toy lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone that was hauled in by Logan Slagle for a 26-yard score.
Tyler Fries kicked the extra point to make it 28-21.
Toy, Kittanning's 5-foot-5 quarterback, was exceptional throughout. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 98 yards on 19 carries.
Bowers had 10 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown and also passed for a touchdown.
The game was close throughout, with both teams scoring one touchdown in each quarter.
In the first half, the teams went about scoring their touchdowns in different ways.
Shady Side Academy used quick drives to get on the board. Brevard ended a five-play drive by scoring on a 26-yard run. Later, Briggs capped another five-play drive with a 14-yard scoring run.
Meanwhile, Kittanning was busy eating up the time of possession.
The Wildcats scored their first touchdown on a drive that lasted 12 plays and ended when Zane Dudek scored on a 9-yard run. The Wildcats scored again when Toy found Bowers for a 5-yard touchdown on a drive that lasted nine plays.
Kittanning ran 41 plays in the first half, while Shady Side Academy ran 18.
After the score was tied, 14-14, at the half, Shady Side Academy's Tucker Gilman threw an 8-yard touchdown to Matt O'Connor to put the Indians in front, 21-14, a little more than two minutes into the second half.
Kittanning fired right back when Bowers lined up behind center in the wildcat and found Alek Schaffer for a 10-yard touchdown.
"This feels great," Toy said of the win. "It's really something special."
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