Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Camp notes: South Fayette

I spent Wednesday afternoon at South Fayette, checking out the WPIAL Class AA semifinalists from 2012. Plenty is back for coach Joe Rossi's team, and it looks like the Lions have a pretty strong plan in place to address the team's biggest loss: wide receiver Zach Challingsworth.

Where to start with these guys?

Eh, probably where I start with every other team: quarterback.

South Fayette, of course, is loaded at quarterback, with junior Brett Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh threw for 2,823 yards and 37 yards as a sophomore last season, and he only figures to get better. Looked great today, in what little I saw on defense day.

His favorite target -- Challingsworth -- is gone, now at Pitt, but check out this list of returners:

WR Justin Watson, Sr. (28-592-8TD)
WR Conner Beck, Sr. (29-457-4TD)
WR Roman Denson, Jr. (transfer from Gateway)
TE Logan Sharp, Jr. ("This kid could be the most special tight end we've had here," Rossi said.)
WR Hayden Orler, Sr.

And these are just the guys catching passes for Brumbaugh. Four of five linemen return, as well as running back Grant Fetchet, who had 932 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. No doubt the Lions are gonna be in the Aliquippa-Washington-best-teams-in-Class AA conversation. And deservedly so.

Couple notes from today's afternoon session, which was mostly defense:

>>Former Canon-McMillan coach Tim Sohyda is now at South Fayette as a defensive line coach. Don't think he recognized me as I stood outside the weight room, either.

>>Rossi will take over the defense after Darren Schoppe left to become the head coach at Bishop Canevin. This will be the first time in Rossi's tenure where he didn't call the plays.

>>First play of full team drills, Watson in coverage, jumps and tips the ball to himself, later returning it for a touchdown.

>>Rossi was very impressed with Denson and press-coverage, saying this was something -- picked up at Gateway -- where you could tell he was coached extremely well.

>>Interesting end to practice. Five plays, third and four, five drops to the loser. Turned out 3-1-1 for the starting defense:

1. Brumbaugh, running scout team, offense completes a slant for the first down.
2. Watson pass breakup.
3. Run stopped for two yards.
4. Run for loss of one.
5. Brumbaugh rolling left, would've been sacked in a game, called it a wash.

>>Recruiting stuff: Brumbaugh has offers from Akron and Temple, but Penn State and Virginia Tech has shown an increasing amount of interest. Expecting this to be the beginning of some BCS-level Division I attention.

Watson has been fielding interest from Ivy League, Patriot League and MAC schools. He said he hoped to pick between his top two -- Cornell and Penn -- before the season starts.

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