The Altoona Mountain Lions' struggles continue.
Winless in their last nine starts over a two-year period, the Lions were hammered by Kiski Area, 41-21, in a WPIAL Big East Conference matchup Friday night at Mansion Park.
The Lions are now 0-4 on the season and 0-2 in the Big East. Kiski won for the first time in four starts.
Altoona coach Tom Palfey discusses his team's winless start
"I don't have any answers," disappointed Altoona coach Tom Palfey said. "It's the same things [mistakes] over and over."
Things looked bright at the outset for the Mountain Lions, who took the opening kickoff and moved 73 yards in nine plays for a quick score. Quarterback Tyler Palfey and wideout DeRon Lee, who connected three times in the drive, teamed up for the TD from 14 yards out. Mike Savino added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
But, it was all downhill from there.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Danny Moyer runs against Kiski Area on Friday night at Mansion Park.
"We marched down for that quick score," Tom Palfey said, "but, after that, it was back to the same things we've been doing."
Those same things are interceptions, fumbles, penalties and missed tackles. Kiski took advantage to score three times in the first quarter and never looked back.
"It's really nice to get the first win," Kiski Area coach Troy Wilson said. "I'm so proud of the kids.
"We've got a young group of kids and they needed this."
Leonard Graham's 3-yard run tied the score at 7, and James Bertovich, the Cavs' huge defensive tackle (6-3, 325), put Kiski ahead when he intercepted a pass and rambled 28 yards for a touchdown.
"He's been asking all year to carry the ball," Wilson said of Bertovich. "I told him 'if you take it away, you can carry it,' and he did."
Altoona pulled to within 21-14 on an 11-yard TD run by Danny Moyer, but any hopes of a second-half comeback were dashed quickly when Kiski's Aaron Frye broke a 79-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter.
"You can't come out at halftime and let them do that," Tom Palfey said. "It takes the wind out of your sails."
Chris Zaccagnini and Bill Emerick added 1-yard TD blasts in the third as the Cavs built their advantage to 41-14.
Altoona's Dion Brown set the final count when he scored on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left.
"I don't have any magical answers," Tom Palfey said. "If I had the answers, we'd be winning. We'll just have to go back and keep working.
"Last week [16-10 loss to Fox Chapel], I was encouraged," Tom Palfey said. "This week I was very discouraged."
And, it doesn't get any easier. The Lions travel to Woodland Hills next Friday.
Game notes: Jim Restauri, class of 1974, was the Lions' honorary captain. Winner of the Cohen Blanket Award as the team MVP in 1973, Restauri later played football at Penn State and was a three-time national champion boxer. ... Temple University's band performed during halftime and following the game. Temple is the sixth college band to perform at Mansion in recent years. Others were Notre Dame,Ohio State, Illinois, Penn State and IUP.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Kiski Area21 0 20 0 - 41
Altoona7 7 0 7 - 21
A-Lee 14 pass from Palfey (Savino kick), 8:42.
K-Graham 3 run (Mitcheson kick), 4:16.
K-Bertovich 28 interception return (Mitcheson kick), 3:18.
K-Brungo 41 pass from Zaccagnini (Mitcheson kick), :11.
A-Moyer 11 run (Savino kick), 7:50.
K-Frye 79 run (kick failed), 11:40.
K-Zaccagnini 1 run (Mitcheson kick), 4:06.
K-Emerick 1 run (Mitcheson kick), 1:04.
A-Brown 8 run (Savino kick), :36.
RUSHING: Kiski Area-Frye 13-148, Graham 7-41, Copney 3-30, Wiskerman 2-14, Johnson 1-12, Emerick 4-11, Anderson 4-11, Beck 3-5, Zaccagnini 4-4, Linnert 1-(-4), Consentino 1-(-10). Altoona-Moyer 20-92, Brown 4-33, Koch 5-23, Gehret 2-12, Lee 3-11, Tornatore 2-9, Palfey 5-6, Wilt 1-2.
PASSING: Kiski Area-Zaccagnini 4-6-0-87. Altoona-Palfey 6-19-2-86, Bettwy 1-6-0-11.
RECEIVING: Kiski Area-Brungo 2-77, Kuhn 1-6, Frye 1-4. Altoona-Lee 7-97.
INTERCEPTIONS: Kiski Area-Bertovich, Emerick.