WPIAL Class AA semifinal matchup: South Fayette vs. Washington
Class AA semifinal: (2) South Fayette (11-0) vs. (3) Washington (11-0), 7:30 p.m., Friday at Chartiers Valley, Collier
Not only does the South Fayette-Washington matchup feature two undefeated conference champions, but it matches the WPIAL's leading rusher against its top passer.
Neither is used to facing such a formidable attack.
“That's the most intriguing thing: You've got the best back in the WPIAL against the most potent passing attack,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “It's a Big Ten versus Pac-10 type of game.”
South Fayette must stop Shai McKenzie, who has rushed for 2,362 yards and 38 touchdowns and benefits from the blocking of 225-pound fullback Jaylin Kelly.
“It comes down to matchups,” Rossi said. “For us, it's going to be getting helmets to the football. McKenzie doesn't get tackled one on one. He's either gone out of bounds or scored. He's the best back I've ever coached against — not having gone against Rushel Shell.”
Washington High faces a Brumbaugh brother for the second consecutive week, so it got a glimpse of what to expect.
The Little Prexies defeated Seton-La Salle, 33-17, in the quarterfinals despite a 220-yard, two-touchdown passing performance by senior Luke Brumbaugh. His younger brother, South Fayette sophomore Brett, has passed for a WPIAL-best 2,583 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Stopping Brumbaugh and receivers Zach Challingsworth, Justin Watson, Conner Beck and Mike Fetchet will provide a true test for cornerbacks Mijerean Witcher and Darius Spinks and safety Josh Wise.
“South Fayette has such a potent passing game,” Wash High coach Mike Bosnic said. “The younger Brumbaugh is an excellent quarterback. He has a few tall receivers who can really catch the ball and run. Last week was kind of a wake-up call for us.
“Playing in the Interstate, it's a very good conference, a very tough, hard-nosed conference. Teams play a different style. It's not much of a wide-open passing game. When you don't see it every week, it's hard to replicate. We'll definitely be working on it all week.”