South Fayette tackles Quaker Valley next

Published Oct 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm (Updated Oct 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm)

Actions certainly spoke louder than words when South Fayette dismantled Seton-La Salle, 45-3, in a clash between unbeaten football clubs in the Century Conference. For after the shockingly easy victory, both teams were speechless.

“There’s not much I can say,” Lions’ skipper Joe Rossi said to his players during their post-game huddle. All the Rebels’ coaching staff could do was shake their heads in dismay. Both agreed how necessary it was to “put this behind” them.

For the challenges keep on coming. While SLS draws the easier assignment, hosting winless Burgettstown at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Chartiers Valley, the Lions must visit undefeated Quaker Valley.

“Another game against another 5-0 team,” said Rossi. “We can’t let down.”

That’s unlikely to happen and not because the Quakers (5-0) are coming off a hard-fought win against Steel Valley, 14-7, a team the Lions crushed, 42-7, three weeks ago. No, it’s because the Lions are hard to stop offensively and even harder to score against.

SLS discovered this on their third possession of the game. One play after Zach Walker intercepted, J.J. Walker bolted five yards into the end zone with the first of four, first-frame TDs for the Lions.

“Our defense makes the stops,” said Brett Brumbaugh. “And, we can’t be happier on offense.”

Only a junior, Brumbaugh has had a delightful season so far. With his 305 passing yards against the Rebels—he was 19 of 26 with three TDs—Brumbaugh raised his season totals to 986 yards and 12 scores, ranking him in the top 10 of the WPIAL.

“Brett is just amazing,” said Rossi.

So are his receivers, particularly Justin Watson. The senior, who is committed to the University of Pennsylvania, pulled in seven receptions for 156 yards. His back-to-back 80- and 18-yard scoring grabs came on the heels of a 32-yard field goal by SLS’s Dom DelGreco. The TD catches gave SF breathing room, 21-3, with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter.

“We expected a war,” explained Watson. “We came out and took care of the ball and when they fell behind, we kept our foot on the pedal.”

For the year, Watson’s hands have been on the throttle. The 6-2, 185-pound wide receiver has been Brumbaugh’s favorite target. He has 469 yards and seven touchdowns this fall.

“Justin is just a phenomenal performer,” Rossi said. “He showed why he’s a big-time receiver.”

Logan Sharp demonstrated why he’s a viable alternative for Brumbaugh. He hauled in a 3-yard scoring strike. He ranks behind Watson with 160 yards and two touchdowns.

While Brian Coyne spearheaded special teams, kicking a 40-yard field goal to close out the scoring, Grant Fetchet punctuated the ground game. His TD runs of 16 and 12 yards closed out the first-half scoring. With 109 yards rushing, the senior increased his season totals to 577 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“We have a great offense,” admitted Rossi of the Lions, who have racked up 261 points in just five games. “But this was another back-to-back strong performance by our defense. To shut down their attack says a lot.”

Indeed, the Rebels entered the fray with the WPIAL’s No. 6 quarterback, Tyler Perone, having thrown 837 yards on 55 completions for nine scores. For the game, SLS mounted just 118 yards of offense, 48 of which came on a run by Rick Mellick in the fourth frame.

The Walker brothers provided a 1-2 punch against the Rebels to close out the first half. Zack had the sack and J.J. intercepted. Ben Berkovitz also recorded a critical sack in the contest and Anthony Davidson caused havoc for Perone by batting down his passes. For the game, Zack Walker and Berkovitz had two sacks each.

Bryce Christoff, who shares the lead in sacks with Berkovitz, provided strong play up front. While Walker anchored the linebacking corps, Conner Beck, Hayden Orler, Roman Denson and Jack Relihan firmed up the secondary, shutting down the passing lanes against the Lions’ opponents, who have been only able to muster 31 points.

“We just play our game,” Rossi says. “So far, we’ve been getting a great effort all around.”

All was not a loss for SLS as Mellick intercepted a pass to start the second half. Tom Rizza and Adam Ottaviano recovered fumbles. Danzel McKinley-Lewis had an 82-yard kick-off return that resulted in DelGreco’s field goal.

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