West/South Xtra: Fetchet sets the pace for South Fayette

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"I'm lifting until 10 tonight. I will call you afterward."

That was a text a reporter received from South Fayette running back Grant Fetchet on a recent Sunday night when he was sent a request for an interview for this story.

While many high school athletes his age were probably watching Sunday Night Football or maybe exercising their fingers on a Play Station 2, Fetchet was doing what he has been doing most of his life -- perfecting his craft.

"I am getting my lifts in during the season," Fetchet said. "I need to continue working out and staying in shape. I am making sure I am as strong as I was in the beginning of the season. I do a lot of speed training and explosive drills."

That work ethic and determination is a prime example of why Fetchet is an integral part of the Lions team this year that went 9-0 during the regular season and won the Century Conference title again. They defeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 49-0, in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs last Friday on their home field.

In his four years at South Fayette, Fetchet and this group of seniors have compiled three undefeated regular seasons and one WPIAL championship. Their overall regular-season record in four years is 33-3.

That team that won the 2010 WPIAL championship against Aliquippa his freshman year and lost in the PIAA title game to Philadelphia West Catholic saw a different Fetchet than what the Lions have encountered the past three years. Fetchet was a member of the special teams unit that year and hasn't stopped working until he got where he wanted to be.

"We are all about winning," Fetchet said. "As an individual, I am competitive. I strive to be No. 1 in whatever I do. That championship mentality really sticks with you. I love to win. It is something that's in my blood.

"I've always had to work for something. I earned my playing time as a freshman. I look at it that I'm not the star. I am putting my hard work and dedication to help the team win."

Fetchet earned playing time at running back his sophomore year and became an impact player as a junior and senior.

"He is pretty much a three-year starter for us," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. "He kept getting better every year. He has surpassed 1,000 yards [rushing for the season].

"He works hard. He is a great kid and leader. He catches the ball out of the backfield for us and opens up the game for us."

Fetchet eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in his senior year in the Lions' first playoff game, a on Friday against (opponent comes out tonight).

"I have been doing my job fairly well this season," Fetchet said. "I am always striving for perfection. I am playing for my teammate, friends and family."

"I came up short of my goal. My goal was to have 1,000 yards in the regular season and 20 total touchdowns. I was kind of upset when I came up short but I was glad to get it [last Friday in the first-round playoff game]."

Fetchet has 1,048 rushing yards on 112 carries (9.4 yards per carry) and still has a chance to reach the 20-touchdown plateau. He has scored 19 touchdowns, 18 of them coming on the ground and one receiving.

Even with all the eye-popping stats Fetchet has put up throughout his career, he knows it would not be possible if it wasn't for his teammates clearing the way for him.

"My line -- I can't thank them enough," Fetchet said. "They may not be the biggest but they are great athletes. They are skinnier and quicker guys. They always are getting a good push off the ball. Across the board everybody has done a great job. They are quick, athletic and do their jobs. It is up to me to follow their blocking."

Another key component to Fetchet's success is his chemistry with quarterback Brett Brumbaugh. Although it got off to a shaky start when they first shared the backfield three years ago, Fetchet is thankful for having a signal-caller such as Brumbaugh and the opportunity to work with him for three years.

"It is very important," Fetchet said. "My sophomore year we didn't click at first. Once I got used to him, things got easier. I know Brett like the back of my hand in the backfield. It is such an advantage to play with him for three years. It is beneficial. It has opened my vision."

Fetchet will never forget the first time he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game for a few reasons -- the weather and the fact that it was his birthday.

On Oct. 14 in his sophomore year, Fetchet and the Lions played against South Allegheny on a field that had turned into a muddy mess. It was nearly impossible to throw the ball so Fetchet knew the Lions would have to rely on the run game to carry them. He recorded 122 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

"That field was trashed," Fetchet said. "We could not throw the football. We had to go to the ground game. I have pictures of that game. It was my first chance to show that I can run the ball. That was the first time you could see the run game to be beneficial to our offense.

"I didn't think I was ready to put the weight of the team on my shoulders but I realized I can do it."

That wasn't the only stellar performance Fetchet had around his birthday. In his junior year, he rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on the week of his birthday.

So one would think Fetchet will be a lock to continue his football career at the next level. This athletic senior, however, is just as good on the wrestling mat as he is on the football field.

Fetchet has received offers from many schools for both sports, but will make sure he chooses the right school for one reason -- academics.

Fetchet has excelled academically at South Fayette, making sure he took all his advanced-placement courses to prepare him and he even maxed out of his science courses.

One choice on the list is Columbia University, which has a strong wrestling program and is the place Fetchet's older brother, Mike, calls home. He is also on the wrestling team there.

"It is coming down to the wire where I have to pick one or the other," Fetchet said. "It will tear my heart which one I choose. Their wrestling program is unbelievable at Columbia.

"I'm not one to follow in my brother's footsteps. I want to make a name for myself but if that is the best opportunity presented, then I will take it. My options are there and I am letting my hard work and efforts lead me to a good education. When I get to college, sports become your job but I am using that now to get into top-tier schools."

Other schools on the list include Washington & Jefferson, Johns Hopkins and Bucknell University.

Fetchet plans to study biochemistry and get a degree in chemisty and specialize in orthodontics.

"I had an accident when I was younger and my teeth came in looking like a field goal post and they were able to straighten my teeth," Fetchet said. "I was so thankful for that and I want to be able to do something to help others."

Well the only thing Fetchet is focused on helping at this point is his team winning another championship at Heinz Field.

"Realistically the way I look at it is that we can only beat ourselves," Fetchet said. "Whether it is a game-changing mistake like a turnover or dropping a ball or not getting a first down. If we get in a rhythm I think we can get to the state finals. We have everything that makes a good football team."

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