Heading into a crucial game between South Fayette and Seton-LaSalle, the search for compelling storylines is an easy one. It boils down to one: Luke and Brett Brumbaugh, the star quarterbacks for Seton-LaSalle and South Fayette, are brothers.
For their coaches, something greater than a pair of shared (and talented) genes is at stake Friday night at Baldwin Highlander Stadium -- first place in the WPIAL's Class AA Century Conference and, given the teams' remaining schedules, a virtual stranglehold on the conference's regular-season championship.
Seton-LaSalle coach Greg Perry noted that, while much of the discussion is centered around the matchup between the Brumbaugh brothers, it's something that doesn't factor too much into either quarterback's head. For them, the game itself takes precedence.
"Not that it's old hat or anything, but it definitely gets everyone's attention," Perry said. "But, if you were to ask both kids, they would both say, 'This is Seton-LaSalle vs. South Fayette, this isn't me against my brother.' If you look 15-20 years down the road, I think they'll enjoy it more then, but now, they both realize they're very vital parts to the success their teams have had."
For teams that have faced little competition while building matching 4-0 records -- the teams have combined to outscore their opponents, 357-19. This game most likely will present the biggest challenge of the regular season for both the Rebels and Lions.
The most telling test may come when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object -- South Fayette's offense against the Seton-LaSalle's defense.
The Lions have averaged 50.3 points per game this season, ranking them fourth among all WPIAL teams. Brett, the younger of the Brumbaugh brothers, is at the center of South Fayette's high-powered attack, having thrown for 854 yards and 14 touchdowns, the latter of which is second among WPIAL quarterbacks. Teammate Zach Challingsworth, a Pitt recruit, has been his favorite target, catching 16 passes for 440 yards.
They will have to line up against a Rebels defense that has yet to give up an offensive touchdown this season (they allowed a punt-return touchdown last week to Steel Valley), meaning that whichever side budges in that matchup might very well see its championship hopes dashed.
"I try to explain to the kids that you come here to play in big games," Perry said. "And this is that kind of game."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org