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South Fayette hopes for better result than 2010 PIAA Class AA final

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 10:21 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh throws a pass during the Lions' PIAA Class AA semifinal victory over Hickory Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at Slippery Rock University.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh looks for a receiver during the Lions' PIAA Class AA semifinal victory over Hickory Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at Slippery Rock University.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh looks for a receiver during the Lions' PIAA Class AA semifinal victory over Hickory Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at Slippery Rock University.

While watching West Philadelphia Catholic score touchdown after touchdown — 50 points, the most in a PIAA Class AA final — Brett Brumbaugh and Jack Relihan had a conversation on the sidelines at Hersheypark Stadium.

“It kept getting worse and worse,” Brumbaugh recalled of the 2010 state final, which South Fayette lost 50-14. “So we made a promise that we're going to get back there.”

Brumbaugh and Relihan, both ball boys on that 2010 team, will get their wish when the Lions play Imhotep Charter at noon Saturday for the PIAA Class AA title.

Brumbaugh, whose older brother, Christian, quarterbacked the 2010 team, will aim to add a new piece of hardware to the family's crowded mantle: He's within 108 yards of Christian's WPIAL record for passing yards in a season.

Coach Joe Rossi admitted South Fayette was awestruck in 2010. Even though the current players didn't see much time on that team, Rossi said he hopes the memory will help with focus and preparation.

“It's a business trip for us,” Rossi said. “Hopefully, we can bring home a title.”

Ironically, West Catholic's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2010 was Albie Crosby, who has been Imhotep's coach the past two years.

Crosby can relate to what South Fayette's going through; his 2008 West Catholic team lost to Wilmington, 35-34, in double overtime in the PIAA Class AA championship game.

“We went to the state championship in 2008, and we were quite in awe of the whole experience,” Crosby said. “Then in 2010, we had the advantage of playing there the week before the state championship — we played Lewisburg.”

“That kind of knocked the nerves off.”

South Fayette encounters an Imhotep team with almost a dozen NCAA Division I-caliber recruits.

Chief among those is Arizona State commit Deandre Scott, an all-purpose player who has 425 rushing yards, 40 tackles, four interceptions and 11 touchdowns — only four rushing.

Imhotep's offensive line averages 290 pounds, including Temple recruit Aaron Ruff, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound right guard. Running back Nasir Bonner (1,149 yards, 15 TDs) has offers from UConn, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others.

“We've preached getting to the football,” Rossi said. “You're not going to bring down Deandre Scott one-on-one. We have to have guys around the football.”

South Fayette might gain a slight advantage in that Imhotep Charter has faced only a few spread offenses since La Salle College High School in Week 2 — a 40-28 win for Imhotep.

Quarterback Andre Dreuitt-Parks has thrown for 1,485 yards and 22 touchdowns. His favorite target is junior Denniston Moore (38-787, 13 TDs).

South Fayette was unable to stop West Catholic; the Burrs scored 30 points in the second quarter alone and finished with 530 yards of total offense.

Three years later, the Lions hope for a better showing.

“It was our goal to get back there because we choked in a way,” lineman Ben Berkovitz said. “It was a very poor game that we played in the championship game. To get back there and show what we can do is exciting.”

Extra points

CB Roman Denson, who left the Lions' PIAA Class AA semifinal after the opening kickoff with a leg injury, is questionable. ... WR Justin Watson needs 105 receiving yards to break the WPIAL single-season record.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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