By Matt Popchock
Although the end of the high school football season in Pennsylvania is so prolonged it coincides with the start of high school basketball season, it might be worth the wait for three WPIAL squads. Over the weekend the best in the west had a chance to earn trips to Hershey Park Stadium if they could survive the best in the midwest–and the east–and Mr. High School Sports couldn’t have been more proud to see all three prevail. Here’s a look at how Clairton, South Fayette, and North Allegheny set the stage for what promises to be a rousing conclusion next Saturday:
PIAA CLASS A SEMIFINALS:
Clairton 48, Farrell 8 – The third time was not the charm for Farrell but was, in fact, quite the opposite, as Clairton erased memories of past nail-biters with a much more convincing and third consecutive PIAA Semifinal victory over the Steelers (13-2) at NA’s Newman Stadium Friday, which gives the Bears (15-0) a shot at three straight state championships in Class A. Josh Page (pictured left) broke the game open with a 62-yard punt return for a score in the second quarter and caught touchdown passes of 63 and 15 yards from Desimon Green, who contributed 91 all-purpose yards and ran for another TD en route to Clairton’s amazing 30th win in a row.
PIAA CLASS AA SEMIFINALS:
South Fayette 49, Forest Hills 12 – One week after tying the PIAA single-game playoff record for touchdown passes South Fayette quarterback Christian Brumbaugh broke it and broke the Rangers’ (13-2) hopes of returning to the PIAA Championships for the first time since 1994, while leading the Lions (15-0) on their maiden voyage to Hershey with an easy win at Hempfield’s Spartan Stadium. Brumbaugh hurled six TD’s in Saturday afternoon’s blowout, finishing 21-of-31 for 362 yards to surpass Sto-Rox’s Adam DiMichele as the WPIAL’s all-time passing leader (7,052 yards), while also tying a PIAA record with 50 TD passes in one year and breaking the WPIAL single-season record for passing yards with 3,615, a mark once held by Seton-LaSalle’s/Pitt’s Bill Stull. Tailback Jeff Davis added 147 yards on 13 carries, including a 51-yard score.
PIAA CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS:
North Allegheny 35, Cumberland Valley 17 – Although Cumberland Valley went into the locker room at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium Saturday afternoon feeling pretty good about itself after one half, the Eagles (12-3) were ultimately no match for a North Allegheny defense that kicked it up a notch in the second half and an offense that responded with big plays to give the Tigers (14-1) to their first PIAA Championship berth in 20 years. Backup tailback Matt Steinbeck (pictured left), who finished with 161 yards on 21 carries in his return to NA’s lineup, turned the tide in the third quarter with a 32-yard TD pass to Dan Slivka on the halfback option, while teammate Alex DeCiantis scored on three short runs, the last two putting the game out of reach, and racked up 97 yards on 17 carries.
For continuing coverage of the 2010 PIAA Football Championships be sure to check back with Mr. High School Sports later this week on 937thefan.com!