Bread-and-butter plays stand test of time
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The playbook for the most prolific passing offense in WPIAL history was designed on paper cocktail napkins at a Beechview sports bar aptly named The Huddle.
Seton-La Salle coach Greg Perry diagrammed plays, then asked Rebels offensive line coach Ed Feeney whether he could create blocking schemes for them.
“We'd sit down and draw up plays,” Perry said, “and if he'd say, ‘We can block it,' then we'd incorporate it. If not, we didn't run it. You've got to have a good offensive line coach because if you can't block it, it won't work. You've got to keep your quarterback off the ground.”
Perry estimates that 90 percent of Seton-La Salle's playbook was diagrammed at The Huddle. If the concept is as simple as a white cocktail napkin, its results have been anything but.
The Rebels have rewritten the WPIAL record books with a pass-oriented offense that has featured four all-state quarterbacks in an eight-year span and state-record-setting receivers.
Bruce Gradkowski passed for 2,978 yards in 10 games as a senior in 2000, broke 19 school records at Toledo and is a backup quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Anthony Doria led the Rebels to the 2002 WPIAL Class AA title, and found Joey DelSardo for a PIAA finals-record nine catches in the state title game.
Bill Stull became the first WPIAL passer to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark in 2004. His favorite target, Carmen Connolly, set state single-season and career records for receptions, with 116 for 1,545 yards in ‘04 and 221 catches for 3,019 yards from ‘02-04.
Doria went on to play at St. Francis (Pa.), Stull at Pitt and his successor, Matt Rodgers, at Akron. The Rebels have another Division I prospect in senior Luke Brumbaugh, whose favorite target is 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior tight end Scott Orndoff, a Pitt recruit.
The Rebels' passing game is predicated on quick, timing patterns with multiple options. Perry calls his bread-and-butter pass play, Lightning 30 Slant, at least a dozen times a game.
“When you do a three-step passing game, you get a lot of people involved,” Perry said. “The kids enjoy it and buy into it. The quarterback has freedom to check out of any call on first and second downs. On third down, they're not allowed.”
That's when Perry reserves the right to run the huddle, calling plays he and Feeney diagrammed at The Huddle. It's become their rite of passage every fall, best friends from Dormont drawing up passing plays on paper napkins.
“Isn't that the way it should be?” Perry said. “You can't make this game more complicated than it already is. You need to have fun with it. That's when you do your best work, with friends and coaches.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clairton among greatest WPIAL dynasties; Aliquippa, South Fayette close
- Karns City tops Bedford in state football playoffs
- WPIAL Class AAAA final preview: Penn-Trafford looking to reverse trend of playoff losses to Central Catholic
- WPIAL Class A final preview: Jeannette proved it was up to challenge of facing Clairton during Eastern Conference matchup
- WPIAL Class AAA final preview: Big-play passing attack paying off for defending WPIAL champion Central Valley
- WPIAL Class AA final preview: Rivals South Fayette, Aliquippa to play for title for record 3rd straight season
- WPIAL history full of football dynasties
- Strong run game lifts Thomas Jefferson into WPIAL AAA title game
- High school notebook: New classes put football finalists on the move next season