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CoGo's High School Football Feature Matchup: Kiski at Penn Trafford

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The Penn-Trafford Warriors kick off their 2015 season at home Foothills Conference rival Kiski Area Friday night at 7:30.

The Warriors were perfect throughout the regular season last year and muscled through two playoff games before eventually falling in the Quad-A semifinal game. There is a lot of optimism with this team for head coach John Ruane, as Penn-Trafford is bringing back half a dozen three-year starters.

Quarterback Brett Laffoon, a 6-1 senior, enters the year fresh off of a 2,000 yard season where he passed for 28 touchdowns and just two picks. Ruane expects more good things from Laffoon this fall.

“He’s fine-tuned a lot of things,” Ruane said. “He’s probably a little quicker to make his read, make his decision and make his throw.”

Laffoon’s favorite receiving target, Tim Vecchio, is also back. Vecchio racked up 1,022 yards and 15 scores on 43 receptions in his junior year. Ruane is also hopeful that the rest of the receiving core can produce enough to make Vecchio less “in demand.”

The Warriors’ biggest loss was running back Devin Austin, who rushed for over 1,400 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Last year’s second-leading rusher, Jonah Lisbon—also the Warriors starting strong safety—returns to take control of the running game. Ruane wants to make sure he does not exhaust his safety by taxing him on both sides of the ball, so he’s anticipating that reserves will come in for 10-12 carries and help in pass protection.

Kiski Area is coming off of a tough 0-9 campaign in 2014, but the Cavaliers return quarterback Chad Kuhn, running back Lincoln Clayton and wide receiver DeShawon Bracy, all seniors. Their experience should help boost an offense that was held to seven or fewer points on six occasions laCoGo's Feature Matchupst year. The defense is going to also need to improve dramatically for the Cavaliers to compete, as they held opponents to under 37 points just one time in 2014.

This is the second straight season the Warriors and Cavaliers have opened the schedule against one another, with Penn-Trafford spoiling Kiski Area’s home-opener last year with a 42-7 thrashing. It was just two years ago, however, that Kiski Area played as the underdogs at home and pulled off a 34-14 upset. Kuhn was the star in the game, completing all 13 of his passes for 156 yards, plus 92 yards on the ground.

Ruane believes his team is ready for the challenge ahead.

“This is what they worked nine months for,” Ruane said. “If you’re not excited to play this opening game, something’s wrong with you.”

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