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WPIAL Class AA semifinal matchup: South Fayette vs. Washington

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Washington running back Shai McKenzie gains yardage agianst Jeannette during their WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference game at Washington High School on September 28, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review </em></div>Washington running back Shai McKenzie gains yardage agianst Jeannette during their WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference game at Washington High School on September 28, 2012.
Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item - Brett Brumbaugh.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item</em></div>Brett Brumbaugh.

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PLAYER TO WATCH

SHAI M c kenzie

Washington,

RB, Jr.

5-foot-11, 205 pounds

The WPIAL rushing leader has recorded back-to-back 200-yard games in the playoffs and has eight this season. McKenzie is averaging 15 yards per carry and has scored 38 touchdowns this season, including a 56-yarder against Seton-La Salle last week. McKenzie, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2014. already has scholarship offers from the likes of Pitt, Duke and Maryland.

how they got here

SF: Beat No. 15 Freedom, 49-13, in the first round; beat No. 10 Beaver Falls, 35-21, in the quarterfinals.

W: Beat No. 14 Shady Side Academy, 47-12, in the first round; beat No. 6 Seton-La Salle, 33-17, in the quarterfinals.

statistical leaders

SF: Passing: Brett Brumbaugh, 143-218-2,583, 36 TDs; Rushing: Grant Fetchet, 122-914, 10 TDs; Receiving: Zach Challingsworth, 54-1,087, 14 TDs.

W: Passing: Josh Wise, 33-55-528, 5 TDs; Rushing: Shai McKenzie, 173-2,363, 37 TDs; Receiving: Darius Spinks 10-281, 4 TDs.

by the numbers

SF: All-time: 406-366-39 Playoff appearances: 4 Last title: 2010

W: All-time: 633-358-56 Playoff appearances: 25 Last title: 2001

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:48 p.m.
 

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.”

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