High school football notebook: WPIAL passing leader enjoys switch in styles
By Chris Harlan
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 3:12 p.m.
With a run-first approach that worked well for decades, Beaver celebrated 1,000-yard rushers with regularity. But a 1,000-yard passer was rather rare, and a 2,000-yard passer was almost unthinkable.
At least until now.
Beaver quarterback Alex Rowse leads all WPIAL passers with 1,581 yards and 28 touchdowns. In his first full season as a starter, the senior has eclipsed his team's passing records, including the career totals of many.
“We're focused on winning football games,” coach Jeff Beltz said, “but after the best games, we've looked (at the stats) and kind of laughed. ... We're definitely in uncharted waters.”
Rowse completed 27 of 39 passes for 330 passing yards and six touchdowns in last Friday's 62-22 victory over Riverside. He's thrown at least three touchdowns in every game this season.
Rowse's current pace would give him 42 regular-season touchdowns. South Fayette's Christian Brumbaugh (52 in 2010), North Allegheny's Mack Leftwich (45 in 2012) and Montour's Dillon Buechel (41 in 2011) surpassed 40 in recent seasons. But all three played 16-game seasons that reached the state championship.
“When you're in the middle of it, (Rowse's touchdown total) doesn't seem abnormal,” Beltz said, “but when you reflect, you say: ‘Oh, wow!' ”
Rowse's gaudy numbers aren't coincidental. After more than a decade, Beltz traded his rushing attack for a spread offense in a transition that began two summers ago. As passing camps and non-contact summer workouts became the norm, Beltz believed spread teams had an off-season edge. With plenty of skill players but no bruising tailback on the roster, he chose to switch.
Washington lineman Zach Blystone must wait to learn whether last week's court injunction that made him eligible will become permanent or be lifted. Thursday's hearing before Common Pleas Judge John F. DiSalle was postponed until Tuesday.
Blystone family attorney Joe Francis attributed the change to a scheduling conflict with the court.
Blystone, who transferred from Charleroi, was declared ineligible by the WPIAL, which found his transfer was partially motivated by athletic intent.
Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams needs 97 yards to pass South Fayette's Christian Brumbaugh and become the WPIAL's career passing leader. The senior has 7,066. Sto-Rox visits Western Beaver on Saturday.
McKeesport quarterback David Queen, who sprained his right ankle last week, is questionable for Friday's game at Connellsville. McKeesport is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA.
Montour is encouraging fans to wear purple to Thursday's 7 p.m. game with Blackhawk, which will be televised live by Root Sports. The Spartans are supporting Purple Project, which brings awareness to substance abuse.
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