South Fayette is on the cusp of something that hasn't been done at the school for more than 70 years. "Spread" the word.
South Fayette is 8-0 and finishes the regular season Saturday night against Bishop Canevin. With a victory, South Fayette will go undefeated and untied in the regular season for the first time since 1936. The Lions were 8-0-1 in 1970.
Only a year ago, South Fayette was 3-6. This week, the Lions take over the No. 1 ranking in WPIAL Class AA after Beaver Falls' loss to Center.
One of the main reasons for the turnaround has been the success of the spread offense and the play of junior quarterback Christian Brumbaugh. The Lions are averaging 33.6 points a game, third-best in WPIAL Class AA.
"We kind of ran the spread with Jon Taglianetti two years ago, but he couldn't throw the ball much. He just ran," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. "Last year was Christian's first year and we used the spread only a little bit.
"We used a lot more two [running] back sets last year. We used very little one back. This year, we're using a lot more one back."
Brumbaugh leads the WPIAL in touchdown passes with 22 and has completed 104 of 160 for 1,377 yards. Rossi believes the 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior is a Division I college prospect.
"Mauro Monz is the receivers coach at the University of Akron and he was at one of our games," Rossi said. "He said without a doubt that Christian is a Mid-American Conference kid, and possibly higher if he continues to grow.
"Right now, what really helps is we have so many offensive weapons around him."
Although South Fayette has its sights set on the playoffs, a perfect regular season would mean plenty.
"Outside of Thomas Jefferson and some of the traditional powers, there is usually a time gap between undefeated seasons for a lot of teams," Rossi said. "The double-A playoffs are going to be brutal. There are so many good teams. But it would be foolish for someone to say an undefeated regular season doesn't mean something."
Gateway set a school record Friday for points in a game when it defeated Connellsville, 76-0. But that's not the unbelievable statistic from the game. Consider this one: Connellsville did not tackle a Gateway player until 5:40 was left in the first half.
Gateway scored a touchdown the first seven times it touched the ball. Brendon Felder returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. After that, the Gators had a punt return for a touchdown, four touchdown passes and a touchdown run before Connellsville finally tackled a Gateway player.
Want another unbelievable stat? Gateway led, 35-0, after the first quarter and had the ball for just 36 seconds in that quarter.
The 76 points came close to the WPIAL record books. Since the 1950s, only two teams have scored 80 points in a game. North Allegheny beat Ambridge, 83-7, in 1996, and Brownsville defeated Beth-Center, 85-13, in 1998.
• Rochester's Jasson Adamson continued his pinpoint accuracy Saturday against South Side Beaver, completing 8 of 9 passes for 196 yards. For the season, Adamson has completed 75 percent (56 of 75) of his passes for 1,005 yards.
• With Ellwood City ending a 31-game winning streak Friday, Connellsville now has the longest losing streak in the WPIAL at 25 games. West Shamokin has lost 23 in a row.
Although Erie McDowell plays a full WPIAL Class AAAA Foothills Conference schedule, all of the games are considered non-conference and do not count in the standings. McDowell is a District 10 team (WPIAL is District 7) and will compete in the District 10 playoffs.
Mike White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1975.