Freeport prepares to slow Burrell running game
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Freeport senior defensive lineman Brian Welsh knows the best way — sometimes the only way — to bring down a towering power running back like Burrell senior Cole Bush is to start at the bottom.
Some defenders have tried to stop Bush by meeting him face to face, and that's a mistake, Welsh says.
“Cole is a great player,” Welsh said. “You have to stay low and wrap him up. It's like looking at a tree. You can't chop a tree down from the top. You have to go at the base, especially if you're coming up from defensive back at 150 or 160 pounds. The physics isn't in their favor.”
There's no doubt that Bush, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior tailback/outside linebacker, has been the topic of much conversation and game-planning at Freeport this week.
Bush figures to play a major role when Freeport (4-1, 4-1), ranked No. 10 by Trib Total Media, visits No. 6 Burrell (5-0, 4-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a crucial Class AA Allegheny Conference game.
This contest will go a long way toward deciding if Burrell runs away with the conference crown or the title is split at least two ways. After this matchup, neither team faces another opponent that currently owns a winning record. If Freeport wins and the rivals tie for first place, they would be considered co-champions.
“The kids are looking right at Freeport,” Burrell coach Kevin Horwatt said. “They understand the implications. It's a very important game. It should be heated, intense and emotional.”
This season, Bush has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns, including a school-record six scores in a 56-35 win over Kittanning.
Freeport coach John Gaillot said Bush compares favorably with the best power backs in WPIAL history.
“You don't see too many people like that, with his speed and size and the way he runs,” Gaillot said.
Horwatt thinks Burrell's offensive line has gone unsung. All are smaller than Bush.
“They've done an excellent job opening holes and pass blocking,” Horwatt said.
Freeport will have the overall size advantage. Welsh, a 6-2, 240-pound two-way lineman, could be a difference-maker. Welsh was named the Allegheny Conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season and is being recruit by St. Francis (Pa.) and Penn. He's also considering attending the Naval Academy.
Freeport can throw a number of other big bodies at Burrell's linemen, including senior Shane McKillop (6-6, 295), another Division I prospect, and junior Nathan Rummel (6-3, 295).
Freeport relies mainly on senior quarterback Brendan Lynch, who has passed for 343 yards and four TDs and rushed for 485 yards and four scores; and senior running back Damon Smith, who has 403 yards and four touchdowns.
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.
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.
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg
- 2014 Valley News Dispatch football all-stars
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger