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West Mifflin QB Fulmore thrives when it matters most

| Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011

West Mifflin quarterback Derrick Fulmore played his typical game against Thomas Jefferson last week.

He didn't throw for many yards, nor did he gain many on the ground. In fact, by just looking at the game summary, it would have been easy to discount what he did against the Jaguars.

Then again, if it wasn't for the Daily News Athlete of the Week, Thomas Jefferson would have likely extended its conference winning streak to 38 games, and the Titans would have had to settle for a second-place home game this week.

Instead, West Mifflin upset Thomas Jefferson, 27-14, and that gave the Titans a share of the Big Eight Conference title for the first time since 2005, which was also the last time they -- or any other team for that matter -- had defeated Thomas Jefferson in conference play.

"He is the key to their whole offense," Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. "He makes them go and we had no answer for him."

Fulmore was 5 of 5 passing for 72 yards and two scores in the game against Thomas Jefferson, and he ran for 47 yards and a third touchdown. But it wasn't so much the bulk of his work, rather that the timeliness of it that makes his 119 yards of offense impressive.

All five of Fulmore's completions came on either third or fourth down and resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. That kind of clutch play can easily take the heart out of a team and it certainly did against the Jaguars.

"He just kept everything going for us," West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo said. "I'm sure TJ respected what he did for us and how he hurt them."

Fulmore has thrown for 663 yards and seven touchdowns, and has run for 411. His play has been overshadowed by senior running back Shamar Greene, who has gained 1,300 yards this season, and fullback Kevin Clark, who has averaged around 10.0 yards per carry for much of the year.

Even though Fulmore may have been relegated to the backdrop throughout the season, both he and his teammates appreciate his value to the squad.

"I think he knows he's the leader as a quarterback and knows what he means to the team," Braszo said. "There weren't too many games where he wasn't scoring. And this is a great bunch of kids that I never heard complaining about publicity or anything."

How teams will defense that weapon in the playoffs remains a mystery, as West Mifflin attempts to win its first postseason game since beating Ambridge in the 2005 WPIAL Class AAA semifinals.

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