By Matt Popchock
This week’s UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Athlete of the Week is Wayne Capers, a senior quarterback for the Chartiers Valley football team.
After missing most of his sophomore and junior campaigns with lower-body injuries, Capers has finally put his health issues in his rear view mirror, and last Friday he was determined to leave Belle Vernon’s defense in his tire tracks.
He racked up 229 total yards of offense, scoring four touchdowns and completing eight of 13 passes for 160 of those yards, to help the Colts pull away from the visiting Leopards (2-1, 2-3) in a decisive 36-10 win over their Class AAA Big Eight Conference rivals, as seen on ROOT Sports.
Capers opened the scoring with a 47-yard scramble that gave Char’ Valley a first-quarter lead, and his goal-line plunge in the second frame extended the lead to 13-3.
With Belle Vernon trailing just 15-10, he and his teammates broke the game open before the half. His nine-yard touchdown pass to Taran Sifontes-Levine helped give Chartiers Valley a 22-10 halftime advantage, and his fourth-quarter touchdown strike to Zach Chapman from six yards out put it out of reach.
The victory raised Char’ Valley’s record to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference, as the Colts kept pace with perennial favorite Thomas Jefferson. Those teams meet in Jefferson Hills Friday in a 7:30 matchup featured as “The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Game of the Week” on 93.7 The Fan.
Capers is being recruited as a receiver, and, in fact, would have started the year at his preferred slot position if not for a season-ending spleen injury to Christian Kuntz. Since then, it’s as though Capers never left the pocket; he’s thrown six TD’s, connecting on 52% of his passes for 566 yards.
He is reportedly leaning toward Pitt, but he has also received offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Temple, and Toledo. In addition, he is a standout basketball player who recovered remarkably this past winter from an ACL tear to lead Chartiers Valley to a second-place finish in the WPIAL Class AAAA hoops tournament.
Meanwhile, here are some of Mr. High School Sports’ other top performers from Week 5 of the WPIAL/City League campaign:
Nick Passodelis, North Allegheny: Honestly, we could have nominated the entire N.A. backfield, because all three running backs put forth solid efforts, but we chose Passodelis because he led the pack on the scoreboard with three touchdowns, finishing with 114 yards on 11 carries. He helped ensure the Tigers would not fall into the trap at Seneca Valley in a 49-28 Northern Seven Conference victory.
Josh Desmond, Blackhawk: Speaking of leadership, this backup signal-caller showed it in spades in the most surprising game of Week 5, the Cougars’ 37-13 blowout of top-ranked Parkway Conference rival Hopewell. Sophomore star Chandler Kincade bowed out early with a shoulder injury, but Desmond didn’t miss a beat, amassing 178 yards, second-most among Class AAA QB’s last Friday, and three early TD’s on 7-of-14 passing.
Shai McKenzie, Washington: Don’t sleep on the Prexies this season, and don’t let this tailback slip under your radar either. In Washington’s profound 41-16 statement win over host Keystone Oaks in Class AA Century Conference play last Friday, McKenzie KO’d K.O. with an even 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Sal Faieta, Beth-Center: Last Friday California had an opportunity at home to cross the line between pretender and contender in the Tri-County South Conference, but the Bulldogs and their quarterback never let the Trojans near that line. Although the second half went entirely scoreless, Beth-Center’s best defense was its offense, as Faieta managed 122 yards passing and four total first-half TD’s, including a 46-yard scoring run in a 39-2 romp.
Patrick Ferguson, Allderdice: Not many individuals jumped off the page in the Dice’s City League contest against Westinghouse at Cupples Stadium last Friday, but Ferguson was about quality over quantity. The Dragons’ tailback led all with 74 yards and scored a pair of first-half touchdowns in an important 41-0 mastery of Westinghouse that puts them in second place.
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)