Sunday, December 19, 2010

PIAA championship thoughts

Pinpointing a reason or two for South Fayette's loss to West Catholic in Saturday's PIAA Class AA championship game isn't necessary as the Burrs did just about everything at a championship level.

Two areas where I thought West Catholic excelled were taking away South Fayette's primary playmakers - Tyler Challingsworth and Jeff Davis - and getting consistent pressure on quarterback Christian Brumbaugh.

Davis entered the game with an injured right knee and was not able to finish the game after starting. He played into the second quarter and, on every play Davis was on the field, West Catholic had at least one defender following him.

That defense all but eliminated the quick swing pass to Davis, a play that helped get South Fayette a WPIAL championship and to the state championship.

Challingsworth, one of the peskiest receivers I can remember, couldn't find the open seams that he did through the Lions' first 15 games. He burned defenses for 70-plus catches and 1,000-plus yards, a considerable feat given South Fayette's depth at the position.

Brumbaugh didn't complete a pass in the second half and rarely had time to throw when he did. West Catholic's front four delivered most of the heat on Brumbaugh, which allowed linebackers to help in pass coverage.

* Not sure what kind of impact Davis leaving the game had in the final outcome. West Catholic's two primary objectives were to limit him in the passing game and pressing Brumbaugh, at least that's what Burrs coach Brian Fluck said after the game.

With Davis out, the threat of screen and swing passes were gone from the offense. Fullback Trevor Fiorentini ran well in his limited touches but no Davis meant a lot of South Fayette's offense was on the sidelines.

* The loss was a difficult one for South Fayette's seniors, a group that went 3-6 as sophomores. That said, what they did for South Fayette football can't be underestimated despite the loss. It was a class move by the Lions' fans to stay after the game and give the players a standing ovation.

South Fayette may have not won the ultimate prize but the Lions won over their community.

* West Catholic sophomore David Williams is one of the better backs I've seen. He's big, strong, fast, shifty and hits the hole quick. A lot of the focus entering the game was on Burrs running back Brandon Hollomon but I was certainly more impressed with the sophomore as well as Hollomon played.

* Sometimes talent wins out. West Catholic was supremely talented.

* On Friday, I remembered around 3 p.m. that the Class A championship game was on, so I turned on PCN and saw that Riverside was leading Clairton, 24-0.


The Bears refused to fold and went on to win.



Clairton Alum said...

Mike...I've seen a lot of blowouts and games where Clairton just completely dominated their opponent. But that game Friday may have been the most impressive win in the history of Clairton Football. I dont know if there was ever a Clairton team prior to this season that would have been capable of keeping it together and not folding under the pressure of a 24-0 early deficit. I dont care if you like Clairton or not, a lot of credit needs to be given to these kids and this coaching staff. Absolutely unbelievable what they did...

Anonymous said...

Again, Kovak, no mention of Ringgold. Just keep ignoring the Rams.

mike_kovak said...

Not just a 24-0 deficit, a 24-0 deficit in the state championship.

It's the best comeback I've seen at the high school level. I'm not sure how many Clairton teams from the past would have done that but I don't think too many teams from anywhere could have pulled that off.

Here's a sidenote, was it just me or did it seem like the officials at the PIAA championships called a lot of penalties?

Sarcastic Sword said...

I am very impressed with not only Clairton's season but specifically the title game. To win all games prior to the title game in convincing fashion then fall behind 24-0 and keep fighting when humna nature might say to fold the tent and go home, very impressed...Congrats Bears..

Clairton Alum said...

Well...I believe we set a record for most penalties in a game both individual team and combined. It was a sloppy game from that aspect. I give Riverside credit...they were a heck of a team.