South Fayette rolls over South Allegheny
South Allegheny had high hopes entering its Century Conference finale against South Fayette.
The Gladiators had won seven consecutive games, clinched a berth in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs for the first time in 26 years and, with a victory, could have earned a share of their first conference title since 1986.
South Fayette would have none of it.
Instead, the Lions (9-0, 8-0) made their final case for the top seed in the playoffs. Sophomore quarterback Brett Brumbaugh completed 15 of 18 for 180 yards and scored three touchdowns — including one rushing — while Grant Fetchet chipped in 118 yards and one touchdown, as South Fayette rolled over South Allegheny, 42-0. It was the first loss for the Gladiators (7-2, 6-2) since a 35-0 defeat to Seton-La Salle in their season opener.
“This South Fayette is a very polished operation and a very polished team,” South Allegheny coach Pat Monroe said. “We make a plan, and sometimes the plan works and sometimes the plan doesn't work. Obviously this time it didn't work. We tried some things defensively. They countered them, and their kids executed.”
South Allegheny played without starting quarterback Dustin Anderson, taking away a large part of the team's offense, not to mention their second-leading rusher (206 yards, three TDs).
Anderson sat out with an undisclosed injury. Ty Cook started in his place and struggled, completing 2 of 9 for 15 yards. He was sacked five times.
“He's had some packages that we've put him into, but certainly your opening game as a starter against that team is a challenge,” Monroe said. “He's a very good athlete. He's competitive, and we felt he was up to the challenge, but it was a challenge to have a first start against a very good team like this.”
Without Anderson, it took a while for South Allegheny to get an offensive push, and against a team like South Fayette, any lag time is too long. The Gladiators could not move the ball on their first drive and turned the ball over at their 17-yard line after a bad snap on a punt.
On the next play, Jared Walker scored the first of his two first-half touchdowns to give South Fayette a 7-0 lead 2:32 into the game.
Brumbaugh then took over, completing 13 of 16 for 160 yards and two touchdowns to Pitt recruit Zach Challingsworth in the first half alone. In addition, with a 20-yard completion to Challingsworth with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the WPIAL's passing leader eclipsed 2,000 yards on the season.
“Those are tremendous sophomore stats,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “But we'd put all those stats away and trade them all for a WPIAL championship, and we start on that next week.”
In the meantime, South Allegheny could not move the ball against a South Fayette defense that has four consecutive shutouts and six in nine games. On their first three possessions, the Gladiators gained only 11 yards and did not have a first down. By the end of the first quarter, they had a 9:51-2:09 advantage in time of possession but trailed 21-0.
“The amount of drives we've had under a minute offensively is just amazing,” Rossi said. “The no-huddle and the other things we do allow us to be able to take advantage of our athletes.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.