South Fayette wins PIAA Class AA State Title
Written by: Billy Splain on Sunday, December 15th, 2013
I’d like to say that today, “David” beat “Goliath”. I really would, except I think from the start we had it all backwards. South Fayette came out as the tiny, under rated and not a prayer could save them “David” in the eyes of, well, most everyone you’d have asked. But by halftime they had shown the entire state we had it all wrong. The Panthers of Imhotep Charter were down 35-0 in a game they and many believed was theirs to win. The mighty Goliath was nothing but David in disguise. South Fayette, led by Brett Brumbaugh’s 18-25 passing for 299 yards and 3 touchdown passes throttled the Panthers of Imhotep 41-0 to take home the Class AA title.
The Lions first drive started off with a 9 yard completion. Tyrone Barge got his first of 4 tackles for loss on the game as he sacked Brumbaugh on the second play of the game. The Jr. signal caller never blinked. He stood tall on the next play and completed a 9 yard dart to Conner Beck for a first down to the South Fayette 48. Four offside penalties by Imhotep later Brumbaugh hit Justin Watson in the corner for a 6 yard td. Brian Coyne converted the p.a.t. and the Lions took an early and surprising lead 7-0 with 7:34 remaining in the first period.
The next surprise came on Imhotep’s first offensive series. The Panthers, who were averaging 47 points and over 300 yards per game were held to 3 plays and a punt. It was a sign of things to come as the Lions held the Panthers to a season low 148 yards with a suffocating defense. It proved to be an early shot across the bow.
Tight end Logan Sharp burst through the middle of Imhotep’s massive defensive line, right past the linebackers and Brumbaugh hit the wide open receiver in stride for a 53 yard scoring strike. The Coyne kick was good and with 5:15 to go in the first quarter the Lions were in the beginnings of a totally dominant performance leading 14-0. “We preached total team, total defense all year. Our line played great and the linebackers filled the gaps very well” said Lions head coach Joe Rossi.
Imhotep looked as though they may get something going on their second drive, but on 1st and 10 at the Lion 44, Panther qb was tackled in the backfield for a 3 yard loss. Two plays later JJ Walker and Ben Berkovitz dragged the signal caller down again for a huge loss forcing the Panthers to punt again.
South Fayette receiver Justin Watson took a pass from Brumbaugh down the right side on third and 3 at the 31 and streaked into the end zone. The 64 yard scoring strike was one of six catches for 126 yards 2 scores for the wide receiver. “I was like Brett, I’ma be open. He covers me too close so let’s throw deep on the next pass play”. “I saw him (Watson) flying down the sidelines and I got SO excited. It was almost like I was scared to throw the ball cause he was so open. You know, sometimes when they’re that open you over or under throw them but this time it was right on” said Brumbaugh of the throw and catch for 6. Coyne made the kick and with 11:45 still remaining in the half the Lions began their mauling of the Panthers.
Both teams traded possessions and with 7:47 to go it looked as though the Lions were about to put another claw in the Panther attack as South Fayette drove 53 yards in 8 plays to the Imhotep 11 but a fourth down pass fell incomplete in the end zone and the Panthers made their first defensive stand of the game. “Momentum there would have been huge but we just failed to execute and capitalize on the things we did good. Credit to South Fayette for not folding in adverse conditions” said Imhotep head coach Al Crosby.
But the momentum never happened for the Panthers. It was all Lions. Brumbaugh picked apart the Panther defense with precision passing on the next drive. JJ Walker finished the 5 play 47 yard drive with a 4 yard run. Coynes kick made it 28-0 with just 56 seconds to play in the half. The final claw in the Panthers season ending loss came on the very next play as Conner Beck stepped in front of a Andre Dreuitt-Parks pass and returned it 46 yards, diving to the pylon to invoke the mercy rule on the mighty Imhotep Charter Panthers. Grant Fetchet closed out the scoring on a 10 yard run.
South Fayette finishes the season 16-0.
Brett Brumbaugh finished the season as the WPIAL passing record breaker with 3,917 yards passing in the season.
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