An intense glare from the curious. Television cameras. Aliquippa as the opponent.
South Fayette entered last year's WPIAL Class AA playoffs with an undefeated record and the No. 1 seed in the bracket. Considering the Lions had never achieved such lofty success in the classification, it raised a few eyebrows.
And it meant Aliquippa would be the Lions' opponent in the second round, a game FSN deemed worthy to broadcast live.
"We're talking about a group that was 3-6 (the year before)," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said.
South Fayette played like a veteran team through three quarters and led by two scores. The lead almost expanded on a couple occasions in the fourth quarter before Aliquippa rallied with 32 late points to win a wild one and eventually advance to the WPIAL championship game.
It's a performance that has bothered South Fayette for over a year.
"It was the first time we had a lot of success. We were undefeated and a lot of people we're wondering how good we were," said senior Eric Myers, a two-way starter at tight end and middle linebacker. "Looking back, I think we might have been a little in awe of Aliquippa and the situation."
That's not the case anymore.
If South Fayette (12-0) will be in awe of anything when it takes the field against Aliquippa (12-0) in the Class AA championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field the Lions will be in awe of the venue.
"I'm sure going into Heinz Field the guys will be in awe a little bit," Rossi said. "They have to erase those thoughts and prepare like they're getting ready to play on our field."
Awe or not, stopping South Fayette's offense is something no team has done. Don't expect it to happen here, even against an Aliquippa defense that might be the best in the state in Class AA.
South Fayette, 42-34.
In other games, Clairton 16, Rochester 12; Montour 38, Central Valley 21; North Allegheny 17, Woodland Hills 14.