South Fayette, Hickory share simliar offensive schemes by spreading it around
TribLIVE Sports Videos
What a problem to have for South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh.
“I can't get locked on to one (wide receiver),” Brumbaugh said, “because the other will be open.”
Not just Justin Watson and Conner Beck, each 1,000-yard receivers, but South Fayette's deep stable of playmakers has proven nearly impossible for opposing teams to cover this season.
Brumbaugh has thrown for 3,440 yards — 286 away from the single-season WPIAL record — and he's done so by spreading his 219 completions among 14 receivers.
Sharing the ball is a concept not lost on South Fayette's PIAA Class AA semifinal opponent Hickory (13-1). The Lions (14-0) will meet the three-time District 10 champ at 1 p.m. Saturday at Slippery Rock University.
While both teams spread the field, Hickory does it also to clear running lanes for quarterback Matt Voytik, who has thrown for 1,914 yards, rushed for 692 more and accounted for 35 touchdowns.
“We have to stop him and make sure he doesn't break free,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said of Voytik, whose cousin, Chad, plays for Pitt. “Hickory likes to spread you out and play in space.”
Three wideouts have caught 20 or more passes: sophomore Andrew Pryts (35-787-8 TDs) and seniors Anthony Canone (27-467-7 TDs) and DeQuan Lewis (21-335-6 TDs). Running backs Lou Derloni and Chuck Carr have combined for 1,524 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Fifteen players on each team have scored touchdowns.
“I would hate to prepare for us, just like I hate to prepare for South Fayette,” Hickory coach Bill Brest said. “Maybe they're thinking the same thing about us, I have no idea. It should be a really good and interesting football game Saturday.”
Brest credited South Fayette's offensive line for keeping Brumbaugh upright; the five guys up front — left to right include Ben Berkovitz, Zach Radinick, Spencer Girman, Zach Walker and Anthony Davidson — have allowed seven sacks the past two seasons combined.
Some of that has to do with South Fayette's many timing routes, but it's also part of how the system works.
“You have to give him time, and they did it,” said Karns City coach Ed Conto, whose team Brumbaugh torched for 340 yards and five touchdowns in the PIAA quarterfinals. “They gave him all kinds of time. It's a nice unit.”
The ample time allows Brumbaugh to find Watson (62-1,403-20 TDs) and Beck (70-1,010-10 TDs). If they're covered — which doesn't happen all that often — Brumbaugh usually has Hayden Orler or tight end Logan Sharp open.
“We're best friends in everything we do,” Watson said. “We're always bouncing coverages off each other, bouncing routes off each other. It's a big help having another guy out there to open the field up and see what you see.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.