Tornado open with 26-0 shutout of Kiski Area
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
VANDERGRIFT — Talk about your bend, but don't break defense.
Kiski Area quarterback Josh Vick threw for 241 yards Friday night, but he suffered four interceptions, including three by Cory Haley, as
All three of Haley's interceptions occurred in the end zone, thwarting Kiski scoring threats.
"I've never had three interceptions in a game before. ... I've never had more than four in a season in my life,"Haley said. "We had to do everything we could to keep them from scoring.
"We were talking shutout during pregame warm-ups. We were talking shutout on the bus ride down here."
The shutout was the Golden Tornado's first in 28 games, dating back to a 37-0 win over Albert Gallatin in Week 2 of the 2003 season. Butler surrendered an average of 27.4 points per game last year.
"This feels pretty good, but it's only the start of things for us,"Butler coach Garry Cathell said. "I know we can play a lot better."
Butler drove inside Kiski's 20-yard line on its first possession, but a fumble resulted in an 8-yard loss and Chris Haley's 42-yard field goal attempt was short.
Quarterback Nick Monteleone overthrew a receiver and was intercepted by Kiski's James O'Quinn at the Tornado 36-yard line on Butler's second possession.
After that, things settled down and Butler settled into scoring points.
Monteleone's 33-yard pass to Jordan Roycroft set up the quarterback for a 1-yard plunge early in the second quarter. The snap on the PATwas bobbled and kicker Chris Haley wound up throwing an incompletion as he was hit.
A 1-yard dive by Butler's Dan D'Amore's capped a 74-yard drive late in the quarter as the Tornado took a 14-0 lead into halftime. Alex Tatangelo caught a conversion pass.
"They're an experienced team with 19 of 22 starters back — and they played like it,"Kiski coach Chris Heater said.
The Cavaliers drove into Butler territory with their first possession of the second half, but Butler's Adam Zaccari intercepted a Vick pass and returned it 20 yards to near midfield.
Haley's 33-yard field goal extended the lead to 17-0.
"We drove the ball downfield at times, but you have to finish,"Heater said. "Three interceptions in the end zone, we dropped some passes. ... A lot of that is a lack of maturity."
Lee Stalker made a pair of special teams plays to account for Butler's remaining points. He recovered a punter's fumble at the Kiski 30-yard line, setting up a 28-yard pass to Roycroft and subsequent Mike Bresnahan 2-yard scoring run with 10:09 left in the game.
After a Mike Horseman sack forced a Cavalier punt four plays later, Stalker blocked the kick out of the end zone for a safety.
Monteleone threw for 155 yards and rushed for 70. The Tornado had 206 yards rushing on the night.
"We're working on being productive in all phases of the game,"Cathell said. "We don't want to be known as a team that just throws the ball."
Roycroft had eight catches for 115 yards to lead the Tornado receiving corps.
"We were well prepared for this game,"Roycroft said. "Our coaches did a great job scouting and getting us ready. We knew what they would try to do defensively and we knew what would work for us."
The Cavaliers blitzed linebackers repeatedly, enabling Butler's offensive line to create openings for the running game.
"Our tailbacks ran hard and ran well,"Cathell said. "Nick did a good job reading things and he'll continue to do that."
Vick threw 34 passes as Kiski's running game netted only 57 yards.
"That was disappointing," Heater said of his running game. "I thought we could get something done in that area, but our run just wasn't there tonight."
The game was played in steady rain on a wet field, but Butler moved the ball consistently most of the night.
"Our last two games last year were played in downpours,"Cathell said. "I reminded our kids of that coming down here. The weather was no problem."