WPIAL's top quarterbacks share similar traits for success
Sto-Rox coach Dan Bradley has worked with a group of standout WPIAL quarterbacks that includes all-time leading passer Christian Brumbaugh.
Through those experiences, he's found three traits separate the best from everyone else.
“One is their intelligence with the position. Two, they have great command of the huddle and offense. And three, teammates know that they're a leader,” Bradley said.
He sees those characteristics in Lenny Williams, his quarterback who could challenge Brumbaugh's passing mark. And his coaching peers identify similar qualities in signal-callers who hope to distinguish themselves.
For Bradley's part, he still thinks Williams has room to improve. The coach would like to see his quarterback use his athleticism in the running game a bit more, for example.
But in the big picture, Bradley said Williams — who is receiving college interest from Rutgers and Temple, among others — has all the things he could want in a quarterback. From leading his teammates with a good work ethic to having knowledge of the Vikings' complex offense, Williams meets his coach's criteria for top-tier WPIAL status.
Central Catholic's J.J. Cosentino has been blessed with impressive physical characteristics. Coach Terry Totten said his quarterback's 6-foot-4, 216-pound frame was important in catching the eye of recruiters at ACC-power Florida State, where Cosentino will head upon graduation. The difference between interest and a scholarship offer, however, were elements of his game that pass Bradley's test.
“Then, they start looking at intangibles: the work ethic, the leadership, the decision making,” Totten said. “He fit all of those things to their liking, and that's what I believe they based their decision on.”
At South Fayette, Brett Brumbaugh comes from a bloodline of greatness behind center, having watched his brother throw for more yards than anyone else. And like Cosentino, he's imposing physically at 6-4.
Lions coach Joe Rossi believes a lot of his success is a result of knowing how to run a complex offense.
“For him to be able to manage a no-huddle offense, manage protections and call out all our hot reads — just his mind, that's the thing that separates him,” said Rossi, adding Brumbaugh has completed 90 percent of his passes in preseason scrimmages.
He's also been a starter for three years, just like Blackhawk's Akron-bound passer, Chandler Kincade. Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton said that experience has given Kincade a great “athletic sense” of the position, checking an important box on Bradley's list.
Most important to Hamilton, though, is the way his quarterback carries himself and sets an example for his teammates.
“You wouldn't find a nicer young man anywhere. He treats everybody the same,” Hamilton said. “He's just looked up to so much by everybody at our school.”
It's one thing for coaches to value those things. It's another for the players to do so.
“I think it all starts with leadership,” Brumbaugh said. “You've got to be able to bounce back from any adversity that's brought your way and be able to ensure that your team knows that when things go wrong, you'll make a play and that they can count on you.”
Adam Bittner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.