I got the chance to check out South Fayette facing Canon-McMillan in a scrimmage Friday night and the Lions' offense was impressive.
The biggest question surrounding the team was the unproven receivers working with Brett Brumbaugh. Well, they looked superb against the Big Macs.
Brumbaugh connected with junior Nick Ponikvar for a 64-yard pass and followed two plays later with a touchdown to sophomore Dan Trimbur. The pass blocking looked great as Brumbaugh had time in the pocket to stretch the field.
Brumbaugh and Ponikvar connected once again on a bubble screen that was executed to perfection. Senior Roman Denson laid a perfect block to spring Ponikvar for a 46-yard touchdown. Ponikvar looked quick and reminded me of Conner Beck, who was never afraid to catch the ball in traffic.
Another player to keep an eye on is senior running back Robert O'Kelly, who had a nice gain on a draw play through Canon-McMillan's large defensive line. He showed quickness and with junior Hunter Hayes, should be a nice compliment to South Fayette's passing game.
For the Big Macs, junior wide receiver Ahmad Morris Walker has big play ability. He qualified for the WPIAL Track & Field Championships in the 100- and 200-meter dash, and is still learning the nuances of route running. Junior quarterback Domenic Eannace, who is slated to back up Jordan Smith, hit Morris Walker on a slant and the speedy receiver finished the play by outrunning the corner for a 70-yard touchdown. Morris Walker ran a 4.39 40-yard dash this summer. Watch out.
Canon-McMillan definitely has some talented players, but they are experiencing growing pains after switching to a spread offense. The Big Macs don't seem comfortable yet and that will come with time. With an offensive line led by Pitt recruit Alex Paulina (6-4, 310), senior center George Carson (6-2, 270) and senior Jared Hladycz (6-2, 220); Canon-McMillan should have some flashes of success.
Hladycz looked impressive as a pass rushing outside linebacker on defense and sophomore defensive back Alonzo Lemus has a ton of upside. The team's future will be dictated by the offense's ability to grasp the new scheme. In the Southeastern Conference, there isn't much time for adjusting to that.