Two teams that are mirror images of one another in more ways than just their records will hook up under the lights at Chartiers Valley High School Thursday night with the Class AA Century Conference championship, not to mention their perfect regular season marks, at stake. The Lions are understandably eager to defend their crown and start redeeming themselves after last year’s playoff setback, but they certainly won’t look past the Rebels, who match up just as well as they have in years past.
Prior to last year’s Week 6 triumph over Seton-LaSalle, the Rebels had gotten the best of South Fayette in five straight meetings, winning several in comfortable fashion. So history suggests this is one team very capable of halting the Lions’ quest for back-to-back conference crowns, as does LaSalle’s lethal offensive attack. Kevin Hart is the second most prolific running back in Class AA with 1,126 rushing yards and leads the WPIAL with 24 total touchdowns, while David O’Brien has hurled 15 touchdown passes and thrown for 1,054 yards. One of the top ten quarterbacks in the classification in terms of yardage, O’Brien is the latest to come through the revolving door of elite QB’s at that program. But right now none are more elite than South Fayette’s heavily-recruited signal-caller, Christian Brumbaugh, who tops the WPIAL in passing yards with 1,564 and has thrown for a district-leading 20 touchdowns. Brumbaugh has also kept opposing defenses off balance all year, though Jeff Davis has certainly helped by contributing 691 rush yards, ten TD’s, and over 200 yards receiving out of the backfield. There promises to be lots of big plays on both sides; the championship will simply come down to which team can make more.
WHO: South Fayette Lions (5-0, 7-0) @ Seton-LaSalle Rebels (5-0, 7-0).
WHERE: Chartiers Valley Stadium, Chartiers Valley High School.
WHEN: Kickoff is at 7:05; the game can been on FSN on tape delay following Penguins coverage.
LAST WEEK: The Lions are coming off a 54-17 win over South Allegheny in Century Conference play in which Christian Brumbaugh connected on 16 of 24 passes for 245 yards and five touchdowns. The Rebels are coming off a 54-14 win at Burgettstown, also in Century Conference action, led by Kevin Hart, who scored five touchdowns of his own and ran for 252 yards on just 13 carries.
PREDICTION: For both teams the formula for success remains the same in what should be a back-and-forth contests. Each hopes to run the ball well enough to give the passing game more room to operate. Seton-LaSalle can pull off the upset at home because the Rebels have done both of these things at a very high level on a pretty regular basis. But what makes South Fayette’s offense so dangerous is the options Christian Brumbaugh has when he lines up under center. When they win, especially against good football teams like this one, it’s not solely on him. The Lions play excellent team football and have always gotten contributions in big spots from guys like Davis and Tyler Challingsworth, who has earned a reputation as one of the best big-play receivers in Class AA. Earlier this season Steel Valley was able to slow Kevin Hart to a crawl. But I’ve yet to see a team that has any answers for the playmakers the Lions possess. WINNER: SOUTH FAYETTE.
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