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Central-BG has a non-critical cousin connection.news, sports, jobs

Central’s Hunter Smith (left) and Bishop Guilfoyle’s Carson Keyswetter are the first cousins ​​to face each other at Mansion Park on Saturday night when the Red Dragons and Marauders kick off their high school football season.

John Hartsock

jhartsock@altoonmirror.com

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Central High School enjoyed a long and intense rivalry on the football field that was interrupted following the 2005 season after the Scarlet Dragons entered the Mountain League.

Central left the Mountain League for the Laurel Highlands Conference last year, reigniting the rivalry.

Considered to be one of the top teams in the state this season in the PIAA Class 2A and Class 3A divisions respectively, the Marauders and Scarlet Dragons will meet on Saturday for the first time in 17 years in the two teams’ 2022 season opener. mansion park.Kickoff is 7pm

“Both programs are exciting.” Before BG was promoted to Class 2A this season, said BG coach Justin Wheeler, who led the Marauders to the PIAA Class 1A State Championship last December. It was before we came, but we’ve heard talk about the rivalry, and I think everyone is excited to revive the series.

It’s the opening weekend of the season. I think the stadium at Mansion Park will be packed. Especially given that both teams were at the top of the rankings last year.” Wheeler added. “I think it will get a lot of interest. ”

What’s intriguing is the fact that two of the best athletes on the field Saturday night, Bishop Guilfoyle senior quarterback/defensive back Carson Kiesewetter and central junior fullback/linebacker Hunter Smith, are cousins.

The family ties between the two players, and the central BG connection run very deep. Smith’s mother, Kim, graduated from her BG in 1989, Lady She has been an outstanding basketball player with the Marauders and Springs Cove She is a middle school guidance counselor for the Area School District.

She is married to former Central High Sports standout Monte Smith and is the brother of Culson’s father, former BG athlete Craig Kiesewetter.

Kim Kiesewetter was the high school basketball teammate of Craig’s wife and Culson’s mother, Gina (Riley) Kiesewetter.

Craig Kiesewetter said his late father Karl, the grandfather of Carson and Hunter Smith, died before he saw the two grandchildren together on the football field, but wanted to attend Saturday’s game. Told.

“It’s a shame because he would have been more excited,” said Kraig, who graduated from BG in 1991. “They’re two great kids, both really good athletes and they’re doing their best to compete with each other. It’s a shame one team has to lose in this match.”

Karson Kiesewetter and Hunter Smith are good friends off the field, enjoying holiday dinners with their families and playing soccer in the backyard. But they play Saturday with a bit of bragging rights.

“Obviously, we grew up together and are really good friends,” Carson said after throwing for 1,942 yards and 13 touchdowns and scoring 1,133 yards and 22 points in the 2021 Pennsylvania Football News Class. Named 1A Football Player of the Year.

“We’re going to be talking to each other on the field on Saturday and maybe we’ll have a little crap,” Carson said with a laugh. “But it’s all fun. He’s a really talented athlete. And it’s great to face him in the big game in week one of the season opener.

A standout player in all three sports at Central, Hunter Smith last year had 551 yards and three touchdowns, and caught 38 passes for 386 yards and 12 points. At 6-foot-2 and weighing 207 pounds, Smith is a formidable linebacker for the Dragons alongside Scarlett, who made it to the PIAA Class 3A semifinals last year.

Hunter Smith is thrilled to be playing at BG on Saturday. He’s also thrilled to line up opposite his first cousin on both sides of the ball.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting,” said Hunter-Smith. “I’m definitely excited. It’s going to be fun.”

Hunter Smith and Carson Kiesewetter sported together in the Altoona Parish League in their youth before Smith transferred to Spring Cove School District.

Hunter Smith said of Carson Kiesewetter’s athleticism: “He can play the best of them and he believes in himself. He definitely dominates the game and has the mentality that he can dominate the game.

Wheeler also believes the family connection between Karson Kiesewetter and Hunter Smith adds an interesting touch to what should already be a very exciting game.

“They’re definitely two great kids,” Wheeler said. “You’re looking at two of the best athletes in the game, who also happen to be cousins. It is

Kim Kiesewetter Smith agrees.

“I think it’s going to be a great match. It’s going to be fun and exciting to watch,” said Kim. “Of course (Central) would like to win, but to be honest, I want to make sure no one gets hurt and we all have fun and play a good match.”

Monte Smith said there is a lot of mutual respect behind the frank family quarrel.

“Kimi’s brother Craig and I give each other rhubarb, I’m from Central and he’s from BG.” Monte Smith said. “Although it’s a rivalry, players from both schools have always respected each other. Hunter and Karson are very close to each other, as are all the players from the Central team and his BG team. It should be an interesting game. .

Veteran Central Coach Dave Baker said BG will be a good season-opening challenge for his team.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Baker said. “It’s going to be a good measure for us at the beginning of the season to see how good we are as a team. They’re good – they’re the defending state champions. We’re looking forward to this game.” increase.

A big factor in Saturday’s game will be how well the Marauders defend central senior quarterback Jeff Hohenstein. Pennsylvania High School scored his 57 touchdowns this season.

But Hunter Smith and Karson Kiesewetter should also have a big impact on the outcome of the game.

“We have a lot of players coming back from last year and a lot of players coming back,” said Carson Kiesewetter. “It should be a really interesting matchup.”

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