Pitt Defense Has Cavalier Attitude

Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, Pa. has had its share of good athletes over the years, but those Cavaliers of old would be hard-pressed to duplicate the feat by a recent team that now has three starters on defense for the Pitt football team.

With fifth-year senior Chris McKillop at defensive end and redshirt juniors Adam Gunn and Scott McKillop at linebacker, Kiski is well-represented.

"It's real special, because we've grown up together, and we're all good friends,'' Gunn said. "We've been playing football together since we were 11 years old, so this is something that's great to happen for Kiski. And we're all real excited about it.''

That Kiski team didn't do as well as the trio would have hoped in their final years there, but they hope to make amends this season at Pittsburgh.

"I think that's awesome, and it's great for Kiski,'' Chris McKillop said. "It's especially great for me, having my younger brother starting with me on defense, but when you have Adam, we played with him since midget football, was really a cool thing, too. So, I think Kiski will represent itself pretty well opening day, and I think it's pretty cool.''

Chris has started many more games than his brother, Scott, but the elder McKillop believed that first-time starter Scott was ready to take his game up a notch as the team's defensive leader. In fact, both brothers told a story about a confrontation between the two, not the first and likely not the last between them at Pitt, where seniority didn't win out.

"That was in spring ball, during the spring game,'' Chris McKillop said. "We were arguing out there. Being the leader of the defense as the Mike (middle) linebacker, he was yelling things at me, but I'm the older brother.

"And I didn't want to take that from him, but I had to. So, I started yelling at him, and he was yelling back at me. He said if I didn't shut up he was going to tell Coach Rhoads. I couldn't believe it. So, I shut up quick.

"At first, I didn't want him to boss me around, but my mindset quickly went into football mode,'' Chris McKillop added. "You realize he's the quarterback of our defense, and you have to listen to what he's saying. So, you're humble about it and you shut up and let him do what he has to do.''

Scott McKillop noted that the brotherly competition goes way back to their youth, and Chris didn't get the upper hand as often as he might believe. But that doesn't matter when the two are on the football field.

"Sure, we've had our differences over the years, but he realizes that I have a job to do on this defense,'' Scott McKillop said. "And that's more important than anything else. That's how we have to get it done on defense.''

And with Kiski Area players like Gunn and the McKillops, Pitt's defense is in good hands.

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