Wolves look for revenge in St. Marys tonight

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The Kane Wolves went through a spirited final practice Thursday in preparation for tonight’s huge game with the Dutch in St. Marys (7 p.m.). It’s a must win for the blue-red-and-white if they are to have any chance at a District 9 Class AA playoff berth. It is also a rematch of a Sept. 25 contest which saw the 3-0 Dutch win a closely played contest 23-7 at Paul R. Miller Stadium. The Wolves led 7-3 at the half.

“St. Marys is a good football team that is very well coached. We had our opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on last time and we have to do it this week in order to come out with a win,” said Kane head coach Jim Hillman whose team is 1-2.

Unfortunately to stay in the hunt the Wolves will need help from overwhelming, underdog, winless Bradford who will need to beat 2-1 Ridgway tonight in Johnsonburg. An Elkers win and they secure the playoff spot which perhaps unfairly includes only one team from the IU9 Bubble.

“Our whole approach to this is we have to win out and Ridgway would have to lose out in order for us to have a chance. Regardless of what happens we have to win [Friday],” said Hillman. The Elkers hold the tie breaker if the teams both end the five-game IU9 season with identical records virtue of their 17-14 opening night win in Ridgway on Sept. 18. Right, WRONG, or indifferent three teams will be represented in the playoffs from the southern part of District 9 which most likely will be Brookville, Clarion Central, and Karns City. The playoffs will start Oct. 23 - the night the Wolves were to host the Elkers. That’s a story for another day.

Tonight’s focus is St. Marys who is the number 10 ranked Class AAA team in the state. Kane would like nothing more than to bring the Dutch back to earth after their 34-7, win over Ridgway at home last week. It’s also a revenge game. Rarely do teams play the same team twice. The Wolves did so last year against Brookville.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity. It’s not every year that you get to play somebody twice. I mentioned in our meeting Monday about Brookville just a year ago. They beat us the first go around and we came back and beat them (in the playoffs) so anything can happen. It’s tough to beat someone twice. We know it firsthand. We intend to make it a tough night on them (St. Marys),” Hillman said.
The Kane coach who is in his third year at the helm knows it is a bit upsetting that his team may lose out on the playoffs but he is determined to put the Wolves in a position to take care of the business they can control - beating the Dutch.

“We need to let this thing simmer. I know the kids are excited to play them again. It’s a great opportunity for us and these kids recognize that. They don’t back down from anyone nor should they. We gave ourselves an opportunity to still be in the playoff hunt and that’s how we’re treating it. It’s a playoff game for us. We can’t worry about Ridgway,” Hillman said.

Last week the Wolves dominated Bradford in every aspect rolling to a 51-7 Homecoming win. They’ll need a better than similar performance which saw them rush for 400 yards while recovering four fumbles and intercepting three passes.

“It’s going to have to be a step up from that,” Hillman said while looking back on the win over the Owls and what’s ahead tonight. “They’re big up front and we have to do the things we did last week plus be even better. We know it’s going to be a dog fight but if we do those things we’re going to be right in the football game. We need to give ourselves an opportunity to win it. These kids have been working hard all week knowing full well we have to be fundamentally sound and play fast and physical.” he added.

Hillman also took time to extend his sympathy to the family and friends of Patricia “Pat” Horton who passed Thursday. She was the Kane cheerleading advisor for over 30 years and left an impact on many. “She was a wonderful, wonderful person. The time she put into the cheerleading and all the sports programs was second to none. She was a blessing and a very special person that touched so many. We’re going to miss her,” the coach said.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on WXZY, 101.7 FM, and WDDH, 97.5 FM and once again the Kane Family Drive-In will show the game on the big screen. Donations to watch will benefit the Kane Quarterback Club. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m.