WILLIAMSPORT – Usually, it's not often a wide receiver starts a play backed up against his own goal line and winds up racing into the other end zone.
Kota Kishel is making a habit of it.
Once again, Crestwood dialed number 1 – Kishel's jersey number – for long distance Friday and the senior receiver made it pay off with a 97-yard touchdown catch, sparking the Comets to a critical 36-17 victory over Williamsport in a Wyoming Valley Conference interdivisional game.
Quite honestly, I think that's his second or third one over 90 (yards), Crestwood coach Greg Myers, whose team remained alive in the District 2 Class 3A playoff hunt at 7-2, said of his receiving star. We have a pretty good receiver in Kota and Jay (quarterback Popson) does a nice job throwing the deep ball.
Nobody could have expected it would sink Williamsport so quickly.
The luckless Millionaires (0-9) had just pulled within 8-3 on Austin Robinson's 20-yard field goal and appeared right in the game when they backed Crestwood into a third-and-9 situation at the Comets' 3-yard line.
But Kishel broke free down the left sideline, Popson drilled him with a 40-yard pass and Kishel outran a couple of hard-charging Williamsport defenders all the way to the end zone.
It's pretty amazing, Kishel said. I didn't know if I was out of bounds, I didn't know if I was going to get caught. It's always in the back of your mind, ‘Gotta put on the jets.'
After Kishel's exhilarating touchdown catch, running back Frank Aigeldinger snagged Popson's conversion toss, then began the second half by churning out all but 6 yards on a 65-yard touchdown drive. Aigeldinger finished the march with a 1-yard touchdown burst and Crestwood had control 22-3.
Kishel wasn't quite finished.
He pulled in a 59-yard bomb that set up his own 12-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, and added a 19-yard grab that fueled Brandon Ruckle's 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as the Comets took a 36-10 lead.
I want Jay to throw it up for me, Kishel said. And I know I'm going to go get it.
Now, the Comets have a chance to get a district playoff berth, and match last year's superb 8-2 season with a victory in next weekend's season finale against visiting Coughlin.
Crestwood 36, Williamsport 17
CRE – Frank Aigeldinger 4 run (Kota Kishel conversion pass from Jat Popson), 5:23
WILL – Austin Robinson 20 field goal, 11:56
CRE – Kishel 97 pass from Popson (Aigeldinger conversion pass from Popson), 7:00
CRE – Aigeldinger 1 run (run failed), 6:37
WILL – Sadiq Burkholder 24 pass from Jerah Reeves (Robinson kick), 5:42
CRE – Kishel 12 pass from Popson (Aigeldinger conversion pass from Popson), 2:51
CRE – Brandon Ruckle 1 run (kick failed), 9:33
WILL – Devin Miller 64 run (Robinson kick), 0:03
RUSHING –CRE, Frank Aigeldinger 23-142, Brandon Cole 11-43, Jacob Zbenger 4-23, Brandon Ruckle 6-14, Kota Kishel 2-3, Jay Popson 5-(-7); WILL, Sadiq Burkholder 7-78, Devin Miller 10-71, Caleb Belle 1-(-1), Jerah Reeves 2-(-10)
PASSING – CRE, Popson 5-9-0-190; WILL, Burkholder 0-8-0-0, Reeves 1-2-0-24
RECEIVING – CRE, Kishel 4-187, Cole 1-3; WILL, Burkholder 1-24
INTS – None