No. 2 South Fayette Lions roar in rout of McGuffey
South Fayette and gunslinging quarterback Brett Brumbaugh picked up where they left off last season, crushing McGuffey, 41-14, in the first game of the Lions' final year in WPIAL Class AA.
Brumbaugh completed 19 of 22 passes for 218 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in only two-and-a-half quarters, further cementing his spot among the WPIAL's top passers.
“Another year better. Another year stronger,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “His reads (are better). He's got athletes all over the place.”
The No. 2 Lions (1-0, 1-0) went 80 yards in just over four minutes after receiving the opening kickoff and continued to roll, leaving the No. 10 Highlanders stunned.
From the first snap, Brumbaugh guided the Lions' hurry-up offense efficiently, completing 7-of-8 passes for 42 yards on that first drive before handing off to fellow junior Jared Walker, who took it 13 yards for the score.
“I felt good. We played well. A couple mistakes out there, but we just need to pick it up,” Brumbaugh said of his season debut.
Freshman quarterback Marcus Czulewicz assumed the starting role in McGuffey's triple-option attack after starter Nate Whipkey suffered a knee injury in the first scrimmage of the summer, but couldn't gain any momentum against South Fayette's first-team defense. The Highlanders scored only after the mercy rule was in effect.
“Overall, my impression is way different from last year. This year I thought we made them work a little bit,” Highlanders' coach Ed Dalton said. “We were limited at quarterback, but we'll see.”
Five different players scored for the Lions, including Walker, who rushed for two scores. Gateway transfer Roman Denson was another weapon for the Lions, as he caught flare passes out of the backfield, took handoffs on sweeps around end and intercepted a Patrick Frey halfback pass to halt McGuffey's first drive.
“The interception was so key. He's got a lot of flair,” Rossi said. “It's all about getting him better each week, and getting him comfortable.”
Since bowing out to Washington in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals last year, South Fayette's mission has been to exit Class AA on top. The Lions can do so by winning the Century Conference and capturing the WPIAL Class AA crown before jumping to Class AAA because of increased enrollment.
South Fayette hosts Keystone Oaks at South Fayette Stadium next week. Brumbaugh knows not to look too far ahead, while at the same time remaining focused on the team's goal.
“We need to get better one game at a time,” he said.
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.