By Matt Popchock
This week’s UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Athlete of the Week is Andrew Rumberg-Goodlin, a senior tailback for the Knoch football team.
Although they trailed by as many as 17 points in last Friday’s battle of Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference unbeatens, the Knights (3-0, 6-0) refused to bow, and powered by Rumberg-Goodlin’s legs, they rallied for a huge 56-31 win at Indiana (3-1, 5-1) to take sole possession of first place.
Rumberg-Goodlin racked up 241 yards, second-most in the WPIAL in Week 6, on 26 carries, and scored three unanswered touchdowns, setting the stage for a second-half outburst that saw Knoch outscore the Little Indians 35-7.
He scored his 11th rush TD of the year from four yards out in the second quarter to cut Knoch’s deficit to 24-14, then, later in the frame, he scored from just shy of the goal line, to help bring his team within a field goal. Finally, he opened the third-quarter scoring by busting loose for a 15-yard score that gave the Knights a 28-24 edge and put momentum squarely in their corner.
In addition to the 13 total touchdowns, which puts him among the top ten scorers in the classification, Rumberg-Goodlin has amassed 803 rushing yards this season, ranking among the top ten in Class AAA in that category as well. He is averaging over nine yards per carry.
He has been recruited by several Division I-AA (FCS) schools, including Duquesne, though he also received modest Division I interest as a cornerback, the other position at which he has started for three seasons.
Meanwhile, here are some of Mr. High School Sports’ other top performers from Week 6 of the WPIAL/City League campaign:
J.P. Holtz, Shaler – The promising Titans were left for dead after being ripped apart by injuries at the beginning of the season, but this tailback/tight end/linebacker and Penn State recruit is one of the players responsible for giving them new life. Against Erie McDowell last Saturday afternoon Holtz powered his way to a pair of one-yard TD runs, the second of which gave Shaler the lead for good, and, with 1:20 left in the game, his 32-yard pick-six ensured a hard-fought 41-28 win over their Quad-A Northern Seven rivals on homecoming day.
John Matarazzo, New Castle – Even without Rushel Shell, Hopewell still had plenty of fight, but Matarazzo delivered the knockout blow in this important Parkway Conference bout with his own arm. He threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-33 passing, including a 44-yard scoring strike to Stew Allen with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter, to give the Red Hurricane a 32-28 victory and a leg up in one of the most hotly-contested playoff races in the WPIAL.
Reggie Mitchell, Shady Side Academy – We haven’t talked much about the Allegheny Conference this year, but maybe it’s time to take a serious look at Shady Side and one of the top players in Class AA, who seems to be putting the Indians on his back. In a decisive 35-7 win over Burrell for sole possession of first place, Mitchell humbled the Bucs’ defense with 269 total yards of offense, including 167 on the ground, and accounted for all five of his team’s touchdowns (three rushing, two passing).
Isiah Neely, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – The portable lights at Riverside Park simply couldn’t hold a candle to one of the brightest stars of the WPIAL in Week 6. Neely torched Riverview for 370 yards on the ground and six touchdowns, leading all District 7 tailbacks last weekend, in a 41-21 romp over the Raiders that keeps OLSH, a program in its second year of existence, still alive in the Class A Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Kevin Wilson, Westinghouse – The Perry-Allderdice game was all about big defensive plays, but in the other contest at Cupples Stadium last Friday, plenty more offensive sparks flew. Wilson caught eight balls for 176 yards, leading all City League receivers in Week 6, including a game-winning grab with 23 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 32-28 triumph over Langley and keep their postseason hopes alive.
Be sure to tune into “The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services High School Football Show,” brought to you by ROOT Sports and hosted by John Phillips, Saturday at 7:00 A.M. on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan, when we name our next Athlete of the Week!
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)