Panchik finally gets first win
MOUNT PLEASANT – All Kittanning needed was a little dose of Brad Shepard to cure its early season woes.
Shepard rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns on only 14 carries to lead the Wildcats to a 34-6 victory over Mount Pleasant to give head coach Sam Panchik his first win as a head coach.
“It’s great,” Panchik said. “I kept waiting for something to go wrong but nothing did. We finally started running the ball and we played good defense. We needed a win. This will give us some confidence.”
Kittanning needed it.
After losing three straight and being outscored 99-20, the Wildcats ran roughshod over the Vikings defense and shut down their offense. Kittanning rushed for 341 yards on 42 carries and outgained Mount Pleasant 373-167.
“This game was won on the line of scrimmage,” said Mount Pleasant head coach Mark Lyons, whose team fell to 0-4. “It all starts up front. They just knocked us off the ball. Kittanning did some things that really impressed me.”
The story of the game was clearly Shepard, who scored on runs of 59, 22, 19 and 30 yards. He had nine runs of 10 yards or more.
“The offensive line did so good,” Shepard said. “We wanted to run the ball and we did. It felt so good to finally get it going. I was proud of our offense.”
Shepard ran 12 yards on the first play from scrimmage and broke off a 59 yarder on the second play.
“Our offensive line finally came together,” Panchik said. “A lot of credit has to go to my coaching staff. The line did a good job and Brad did the rest. He’s capable of having games like this. It was a great individual effort.”
The first half was a laugher, as Kittanning held Mount Pleasant to only 29 total yards and two first downs.
Kittanning defensive end Matt Porterfield provided the defensive highlight and gave the Wildcats a 28-0 lead late in the first half when he picked off Jeff Marker’s pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Tyler Toy blitzed from the corner and hit Marker as he threw the ball, which fluttered right to Porterfield.
Kittanning was without the services of linebacker Joe Acerni, who sat out with a back injury, but Ryan Rhodes picked up the slack. Rhodes, who missed last week’s game against Hopewell with an injury, had nine tackles in the first half alone.
Kittanning will travel to Knoch for its first conference game of the season next Friday.