A-K Valley football Q&A with Kiski Area’s Troy Kuhn
When the coaches from top-seeded Gateway pop in the tape to prepare for Friday’s WPIAL Class 5A first-round matchup with No. 16 Kiski Area, there’s one player that stands out on both sides of the ball -- senior Troy Kuhn.
“He’s a guy that we’re definitely aware of,” Gateway coach Don Holl said. “He’s productive on offense and can make plays on defense.”
Kuhn’s second-quarter strip sack of Armstrong quarterback Jalen Price set up the Cavaliers’ first touchdown and gave Kiski Area (3-7, 2-5) the early lead in last week’s regular-season finale against the River Hawks.
“He’s a mismatch for everybody,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said. “Friday night, he was a beast.”
Kuhn, who has Division I offers from Robert Morris and Duquesne, ranks second on the team in tackles (49) and quarterback sacks (4) from his defensive end spot.
With his size, speed and ability to drop back into coverage, Robert Morris likes the 6-foot-6 Kuhn as a defensive end, but Duquesne sees athleticism and good hands to make him a tight end. What both schools also will get is a 220-pound wrestler. Kuhn is also a standout on the Cavaliers wrestling team.
“I’m not at all surprised (he’s getting DI offers), he has all the immeasurables,” Holl said. “I think those kind of ‘tweener’ bodies, or whatever they call it, those kind of bodies are good to have in their programs and are versatile. I’ve always been impartial to wrestlers too, they’re tough.”
Kuhn also ranks second on the team in receiving (538 yards) and second in touchdown receptions (3).
“How many 6-6 kids like him can run and are athletic like him?” Albert said “That’s why I can’t figure out why other schools haven’t offered. You put 30 pounds on him, and with athleticism and his body, you have a great defensive end.”
How good does it feel to get back into the postseason?
It’s exciting. It the first time in four years for Kiski. It’s my first and last time to play in the postseason for Kiski.
At what point during last Friday’s game did you find out that the Cavaliers clinched a spot in the Class 5A playoffs?
We didn’t know at all. All of our seniors thought we were out. We didn’t find out until we got on the bus.
What do you know about No. 1 seed Gateway?
I know that they’re a very good team. They have a lot of athletes, and they know what winning is about and they want to keep doing it.
What are the keys to victory for Kiski Area this week?
Play smart. If we get down, we got to keep fighting. Discipline in general, we have to be disciplined, that’s the word for everything
What do you tell all the people who aren’t giving Kiski Area a shot against the defending WPIAL champion Gators?
Just watch, it’s going to be a good game.
Are you more of a defensive end or tight end?
I’m kind of both and whatever I need to be. I play a little bit inside linebacker too.
How important has wrestling been to your success on the football field?
Wrestling is a crazy sport, nothing like it. It really makes you figure who you are out there. Wrestling has some bad dudes.
What was on the menu at Coach Albert’s WPIAL football bracket watch party?
We had some Fox’s Pizza. One of our teammates’ dad owns it.
Duquesne or Robert Morris, which way are you leaning?
I’m not leaning either way right now. I’m not worried about that process. I’m just worried about the team.
Why do you wear the No. 24?
Freshman year I wore No. 23, that was Joey Brungo’s old number and I really didn’t like it, so I went up one more to No. 24. I wanted to make my own name.
What is your favorite pre-game meal?
Chicken strips. I like them a lot.
Who is your favorite tight end?
I like Rob Gronkowski and Zack Ertz.
How did you earn the nickname “Munchie?”
My mom’s been calling me that since I was a year old. It started as “little munchkin” then it rolled over to that.
Who has the best nickname on the team?
“Overcast,” our junior varsity kicker, Cody Dykes. (Albert) calls him that because our kicker last year (Evan Long) was called “Sunshine.”