South Fayette rolls to state football championship
HERSHEY – Record-setting quarterback Brett Brumbaugh threw for three first-half touchdowns and defensive back Conner Beck returned an interception for another score to lead District 7 champ South Fayette to its first PIAA Class AA football title Sunday with a 41-0 triumph over Imhotep Charter at Hersheypark Stadium.
Brumbaugh, who established a WPIAL single-season record for passing yards, connected with top-target Justin Watson on TD passes of 6 and 64 yards. Tight end Logan Sharp added a 53-yard TD reception to help build an insurmountable 35-0 halftime lead for the undefeated Lions (15-0).
Beck carried an interception 46 yards for another score with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter. That guaranteed a running clock in the second half.
Imhotep Charter (12-3), the District 12-AA champs, was held to 60 yards of offense through 24 minutes. Brumbaugh’s older brother, Christian, led South Fayette to a runner-up finish in 2010.
“I just want to thank everyone who didn’t give us a shot,” said Brumbaugh, who finished 18 of 25 for 299 yards. The 6-4 junior, whose brother Christian led South Fayette to a runner-up finish in 2010, completed the season with a WPIAL-record 3,910 yards and 41 touchdown passes.
“All along we knew we had the heart to do this,” he said. “We’re not the biggest team but you can’t measure heart. We just took all their motivation early and did the job.”
In a game delayed 24 hours by Saturday’s snowfall, South Fayette took control on its first possession. Opening the series at its own 36, Brumbaugh engineered a 14-play march that included four offside penalties on the Panthers. Watson eventually capped the drive, hauling in Brumbaugh’s toss from the Imhotep Charter 6.
It only got worse for the Panthers, who were forced to punt five times in the opening half.
“Again, I applaud those guys,” Panthers coach Al Crosby said. “We just didn’t get in a zone. I think last week against (semifinalist) Berks Catholic, we got our first penalty with five minutes left in the game. But I can’t even point to our mistakes. They just played well.”
South Fayette’s second possession lasted a single play. Brumbaugh took advantage of weak coverage and hit a wide-open Sharp on a flag route with 5:25 left in the first quarter. Brumbaugh’s third TD pass came on the first play of the second quarter as Watson (6 catches, 126 yards) beat his man for a 64-yard scoring strike.
The win avenged a 50-14 loss to another Philadelphia program, West Catholic, in the 2010 Class AA finale.
“Everybody said (Imhotep Charter) was a great football team, but when you play with your heart, and play with these kinds of seniors, it’s something special,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “Their minds were right the whole way. We wanted to change 2010.”
Beck had six receptions for 73 yards. Sharp had 83 receiving yards on three catches. Lions running backs Grant Fetchet (15-58) and JJ Walker added touchdown runs. … Imhotep Charter was flagged a PIAA championship-record 16 times for 64 yards. … The Panthers, held to 23 rushing yards, arrived in Hershey averaging more than 268 per game.