Team of the Week – Burgettstown
Coming off back-to-back 4-6 seasons the past two years in Class A, Burgettstown made the move up to Class AA this year with tempered expectations, a scant 28 players on its roster and only four seniors.
The Blue Devils opened their season Friday night at home against neighboring rival South Side Beaver, which always contends for a Class An playoff spot and a team that beat Burgettstown in the past two season openers.
The Rams took a 7-0 lead with eight seconds left in the third quarter on Luke Shaffer's six-yard run and that lead held up into the final three minutes of the game.
Many young teams with limited rosters might fold, Burgettstown rallied.
Mike LaRocka, a 6-1 junior running back and a first-year starter, got the Blue Devils with 7-6 after a 23-yard run with 2:14 left but the conversion failed.
With time running out, Burgettstown was at its own 15 and went 985 yards in only four plays, capped by LaRocka's 22-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Dupain with 14 seconds left.
Runner-up – Trinity
Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
Mike Cleveland, Trinity
T.D. Conway, California
Mykel Dorsey, Chartiers-Houston
Sal Faieta, Beth-Center
Derrick Fiore, Ringgold
Mike LaRocka, Burgettstown
Kyle McWreath, Trinity
Zach Mundell, Carmichaels
Jeff Tarley, Beth-Center
Derrick Whipkey, McGuffey
Josh Patterson, South Fayette
Game of the Week – McGuffey 20, Laurel Highlands 16
Like Burgettstown, McGuffey faced a move up in classification this year after losing 18 seniors who contributed heavily to the Highlanders' second-place finish in the Interstate Conference a year ago.
One player McGuffey returned was quarterback Derrick Whipkey, and the shifty runner scored three touchdowns to give the Highlanders a road win against a Class AAA team. Whipkey's 42-yard run with 2:34 remaining put McGuffey ahead to stay. He rushed for 136 yards on 13 carries.
Weird, wild stuff – Anyone else think that the graduation of Thomas Hairston would mean the Chartiers-Houston pass rush would take a hit? The Bucs finished with five quarterbacks sacks in a win at Union. … Charleroi led Mt. Pleasant in a key early season game in the Interstate Conference before Quentin Briggs and Kyle Shannon were injured. The Vikings rallied to win, 20-13. … Clairton was not penalized for a personal foul in its win at Washington.