In speaking with people not associated with Fort Cherry football, the consensus concluded that 2010 would be the Rangers year.
That may be true, but 2009 is starting to look good. I mean really good.
Fort Cherry's 42-34 victory at Serra Catholic Friday night came with several factors of impressiveness.
1. Fort Cherry rallied from a 21-7 first-quarter deficit. Not an easy thing to do for a team rife with underclassmen who just took their first long bus ride to an away game.
2. After the Rangers dominated most of the second quarter, Serra Catholic scored just before halftime to take a 28-16 lead into the locker room. Against most teams, game over.
3. Fort Cherry won the game up front. The lineman played well from the opening series.
4. The Rangers dazzled with speed. Junior tailback Gary Kiefer can bounce off tacklers but he can also pull away from the defense. He showcased both abilities with an outstanding 66-yard run. Junior receiver Nicholas Hurley also outran Serra on a couple occasions.
5. Despite allowing 34 points, Fort Cherry played solid defense. Three-first half turnovers and a few additional miscues were directly responsible for 21 of Serra's points.
They contained SC quarterback Rob Heatherington in the second half, holding him to 22 yards rushing. Plus they returned two of three interceptions for touchdowns.
Serra Catholic entered the game ranked No. 5 in Class A according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg and most Western Pennsylvania newspapers had the Eagles ranked second or third in the WPIAL.
Maybe Serra Catholic was overrated or, just maybe, a lot of us underestimated Fort Cherry.
Either way, when Clairton plays at Fort Cherry Friday, the winner is likely to end up as conference champion.
* With back-to-back high-profile wins over Keystone Oaks and Sto-Rox, South Fayette sure looks like the team to beat in the Century Conference.
Junior quarterback Christian Brumbaugh, an emerging standout, passed for four touchdowns at Sto-Rox Friday night. If Brumbaugh continues his high level of play, there's no reason to believe the Lions won't be a factor in the Class AA playoffs.
** Speaking of factors, Beth-Center's special teams played a significant role (again) in its victory over Jefferson-Morgan.
Count me among those who believed the Rockets were ready to play with the Bulldogs this year. Uhhhh, wrong.
Beth-Center blocked two punts and rushed for 341 yards - sophomore DeShan Brown gained 143 with two scores - en route to an easy victory.
During last week's win over Carmichaels, Brown scored two special teams touchdowns and one defensive touchdown.
People can say what they want about the Tri-County South but no one can knock what Beth-Center accomplishes year-in, year-out. The Bulldogs find ways to win games, whether it's with defense, special teams or a potent running game.
*** Nice bounce-back win for Burgettstown at Chartiers-Houston.
The Blue Devils came into the game 1-2 after a blowout loss to Serra Catholic. They had also played South Side Beaver and Beth-Center. Chartiers-Houston was 3-0 but had yet to play any team remotely resembling what Burgettstown encountered.
As stated on this blog many times, competition matters.
**** Good to see Chad Hagan rush for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries as Canon-McMillan shut out Butler. Great story, great young man who had a great game.
***** Peters Township moved to 4-0 with its win over Indiana. The Indians have defeated just one Quad-A team to open the year but they are finding ways to win, something they hadn't done since 2003.
Here's another rarity - Peters Township is the lone unbeaten team in the Great Southern Conference.
Granted, the strength of schedule leaves a lot to be desired, but Peters Township opens conference play this week against a struggling Baldwin. A win moves PT to 5-0, 1-0 and with one additional victory, the Indians would make the Quad-A playoffs.