To watch the South Fayette offense is to witness a forcible unit with surgical precision that, when finding a proper rhythm, can turn a game into a blowout in a handful of plays.
Trailing by a touchdown after 12 minutes and headed for its first playoff berth in more than a decade, it was a lesson Quaker Valley learned quickly.
The Lions (6-0) scored 28 second-quarter points, highlighted by two Brett Brumbaugh touchdown passes, to invoke the WPIAL's mercy rule by halftime in a 49-15 victory Friday night against the host Quakers.
On a day in which one of his brother Christian's WPIAL career passing records was broken by Sto-Rox quarterback Lenny Williams, Brumbaugh continued to make a name for himself, even among an already-decorated lineage of Brumbaugh quarterbacks. He completed 15 of 24 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, routinely hitting receivers in stride and leading an offense that entered the game averaging a WPIAL-best 52.2 points per game.
The difference in the game was not a lack of effort from the Quakers -- it was just an elite opponent doing what it does best.
"South Fayette was South Fayette -- that was the problem," Quaker Valley coach John Tortorea said.
South Fayette and Quaker Valley's respective histories the past 10 years are drastically different, with the Lions being the high-scoring, perennial Class AA power and the Quakers (5-1) a consistent loser, with a 17-76 record from 2003-12 to prove it.
But with both teams undefeated and tied atop the Century Conference, the thought was that Friday's game would maybe be different.
By halftime, there appeared to be little change from the previous four matchups between the teams, games decided by a combined 185-41 margin.
On the Lions' first possession, Brumbaugh threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Justin Watson, who caught five passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
It was the final 15 minutes of the half, however, where Brumbaugh and the offense truly got things going.
In a roughly three-minute span in the second quarter, the lead grew to 21 points with touchdown runs from J.J. Walker and Grant Fetchet.
And that was before Brumbaugh added his personal stamp on the game. In the final three minutes of the half, the 6-foot-4 junior connected twice with Watson in the end zone, first on a 39-yard pass followed by a 34-yard touchdown as time expired.
"When I see him play, nothing amazes me," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said of Brumbaugh.
"He is what he is. He gets better and comes out here and runs and operates a pretty good offense. They're tough to defend."
The Lions' lead got as large as 49-0 before the Quakers scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes of regulation.
Balancing out an overpowering passing attack for South Fayette was Fetchet, who rushed eight times for 142 yards, averaging 17.8 yards per carry.
Lopsided as the loss was, Tortorea is content with where his team is and what it can accomplish.
"That's a stick for us and we've just got to work to get better," he said. "One loss isn't going to define us as a football team or a football program."
For South Fayette, a program that also put up impressive offensive numbers last season only to fall to Washington in the WPIAL semifinals, the game proved something to it -- but it knows there is more left to accomplish.
With a standout quarterback working in the confines of a proven offensive scheme, Friday's win showed the Lions what kind of results might await.
"He just kind of took over," Rossi said. "It was kids just making plays -- a good quarterback, a good system. It was fun to watch."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG. First Published October 5, 2013 4:30 AM