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Conference rival hands SSA first loss

Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Shady Side Academy's Lewis Berry gets pushed out of bounds by Burrell's Ryan Sowol during the third period of the football game at Burrell High School on Friday September 21, 2012.

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Last year, Shady Side Academy had it's way in a 35-7 Allegheny Conference win over Burrell.

The Buccaneers returned the favor last week with a 26-7 win at home.

The big difference was Burrell's Cole Bush.

Last year, SSA kept him under wraps. This time around, he rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns and also turned in a highlight-reel defensive play.

It didn't help the Indians' cause that their own star running back, Jarred Brevard, tried to return after missing last week's game but lasted only one play. Backfield mate Dennis Briggs, also a casualty last week, returned to rush for 61 yards on five carries, including a 54-yard touchdown run.

“Neither one was near fully recovered,” SSA coach Dave Havern said. “Jarred's a tough kid and for him to ask to come out in a big game after one carry tells you that he was hurting.”

The Indians trailed 27-6 at the half and were on the verge of scoring as quarterback Matt Granato appeared to be on his way to a 60-yard touchdown run when Bush caught him from behind and stripped him of the ball.

“We knew going in that Bush was a great athlete and a playmaker,” Havern said. “He didn't disappoint. He makes big plays on both sides of the ball.”

This week, SSA will face a Freeport team that was stunned by Valley, 9-8, last week. It was Freeport's first loss of the season.

“That's just the way this conference is,” Havern said. “It's a different dogfight every week and it seems that you can always pencil every team in for one conference loss every year.

“We're hoping to be back at full strength in the backfield because Freeport will be a tough team, coming off a loss like that. They're a well-coached team and they'll be ready to play.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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