Seton-La Salle, South Fayette set for Century Conference showdown
Seton-La Salle has had this date circled on its football calendar since the end of last season.
The road-warrior Rebels travel to rival South Fayette on Friday to play in the game of the year in the Century Conference. Game time is 7 p.m.
Both teams are undefeated and have won in impressive fashion. Seton-La Salle, South Fayette and Quaker Valley sit atop the conference standings with 4-0 slates.
“I look for a good high school football game, which is what we expect,” Greg Perry, Seton-La Salle's head coach, said. “We are healthy, so that is a plus.”
Seton-La Salle, which is ranked No. 7 in Class AA in the Trib Total Media's high school footbball rankings, rallied to a 28-7 conference win over Steel Valley (2-2, 2-2) last week, scoring all 28 points in the fourth quarter.
South Fayette, which is No. 2 in Class AA, crushed winless Burgettstown last week, 74-7, after jumping out to a 49-0 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
South Fayette is the defending conference champion; Seton-La Salle was the conference runner-up last year. The Lions belted Seton last season, 51-12, on their way to a 9-0 regular-season record.
This year, South Fayette has rolled past McGuffey, 41-14; Keystone Oaks, 59-0; Steel Valley, 42-7; and Burgettstown. The Lions are averaging a WPIAL-best 54 ppg while giving up only 7 ppg defensively.
Seton-La Salle has defeated South Allegheny, 40-3; McGuffey, 41-16; Keystone Oaks, 42-0; and Steel Valley. The Rebels are scoring at a 37.8 ppg clip and allowing 6.5 ppg defensively.
Both teams are energized by a potent passing attack.
South Fayette junior quarterback Brett Baumbaugh, younger brother of former Seton-La Salle signal caller Luke Baumbaugh, has passed for 681 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Lions' signal caller has scholarship offers from Akron and Temple, and is receiving recruiting interest from Minnesota, Penn State, Pitt and Rutgers.
Luke and Brett's older brother, Christian Brumbaugh, also played at South Fayette and ranks as the all-time leading passer in the WPIAL with 7,164 yards and 72 touchdowns.
Christian is a redshirt sophomore at William and Mary; Luke is a freshman at Robert Morris.
Brett Brumbaugh completed 7 of 9 tosses for 127 yards and four scores last week against an ovewhelmed Burgettstown team.
Grant Fetchet, a senior running back, also rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on just six carries. Fetchet has racked up 468 yards and eight touchdowns on 41 carries, a healthy average of 11.4 yards per carry.
“We need to play a solid game this week versus South Fayette, that's for sure,” Perry said. “They are running the ball well this year with Fetchet, and they keep you off balance. Brumbaugh knows their offense and gets the ball out quick.”
Seton-La Salle's offensive linchpin is junior quarterback Tyler Perone, who has hit on 55 of 82 passes for 837 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
“We've been looking forward to this game (against South Fayette) since last year, and all that hard work we put in the offseason. This is it,” Perone said. “This is the game of the year for us.
“We have to play a good game. We have to come out and play our hardest. We're hoping to come out this week and show the conference what we're made of.”
Seton-La Salle's leading receivers are junior Danzel McKinley-Lewis (14-309), senior Tom Rizza (14-122) and junior Rick Mellick (8-153). McKinley-Lewis has scored five touchdowns.
Other receiving threats for the Rebels include seniors Dom DelGreco, Kevin Curran, Markus Nones, Malike White and James Ross; and junior Matt Reinmund.
South Fayette's receiving corps is led by a pair of seniors in Justin Watson, who nabbed two touchdown passes last week, and Connor Beck.
On the year, Watson has 13 receptions for 313 yards (24.1 yards per catch) and five scores, while Beck owns 12 receptions for 135 yards and two scores.
“Watson, who is their top wide receiver, is very good,” Perry said, “and (he) puts you in binds.”
Another player to watch is Logan Sharp, a junior tight end.
Last week, Seton-La Salle spotted Steel Valley a first-quarter touchdown, and trailed, 7-0, through three quarters.
Brandon Aiello, on a 1-yard run; and Perone, on a 62-yard dash; sparked the Rebels to a 14-7 fourth-quarter lead.
The home team tacked on 14 additional points thanks to a 69-yard punt return by DelGreco, and an 18-yard interception return by Ross.
“We came out a little flat against Steel Valley, but they are a tough, physical team who play us tough every year,” Perry said.
“They run the ball very well and even though (D'Andre) Pickens was out, the freshman ran hard. We kinda regrouped at the half and played better.”
Perone connected on 5 of 13 passes for 74 yards against the Ironmen.
“I feel like the whole team and myself have improved week by week,” Perone said. “We had a slow start against Steel Valley, (but) we're getting better and better every week.”
Fetchet and nine other South Fayette players reached the end zone against Burgettstown.
Jared Walker, a junior fullback, has scored six touchdowns on 16 rushing attempts for the Lions.
South Fayette advanced to the WPIAL Class AA semifinal round last year; Seton-La Salle was a quarterfinalist.
Seton-La Salle defeated the Lions twice in 2011, by scores of 33-10 in the regular season and 21-13 in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal round.
South Fayette topped Seton in 2009 and 2010; the Rebels won five consecutive times from 2004 to 2008.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.