South/West Xtra: Freshman at top of South Fayette hockey team's scoring leaders

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In the mid-1980s, Bishop Canevin's Greg Timmons was one of the top goal-scorers in the Pittsburgh area and went on to play at Miami (Ohio) University.

Now 30 years later, another Timmons' is lighting the lamp with regularity.

South Fayette freshman Jordan Timmons, Greg's son, entered the week tied for fourth in Class A in goals (15) and tied for 11th in points (22) for the 3-8 Lions.

"He's a great player," South Fayette coach Frank Certo said. "Stepping into it as a freshman, having not seen the [varsity] level before and putting up his numbers is impressive. And he's doing it without a lot of help."

The Lions have been short on bodies all season long. South Fayette has 13 players on the roster and often had fewer than 10 skaters for games.

It's not uncommon for South Fayette to have only two defensemen play an entire game.

"It can be pretty difficult to play every other shift, especially when the other team is fresh for every shift," Timmons said. "Some games, our defensemen play the entire game. It's a major disadvantage."

To help his players withstand the physical toll of getting so much ice time, Certo has instituted a drill at practice to improve the team's endurance called "third-period drills," where players do a series of cardio and strength exercises based upon how many goals the team was outscored in the third period.

"You get pretty tired and sore, but you know it will help you in the end and will prepare us for tougher games," Timmons said.

Although South Fayette is short on players, the Lions do have skilled skaters.

In addition to Timmons, who has four hat tricks this season, Barber (six goals, five assists) and Anthony Vallelunga have been solid secondary scorers. The trio combined to score 14 of the team's 16 goals in their three wins against South Park (twice) and Serra Catholic.

The team also has a few talented freshman blue-liners in Jake Stack and John Lipovich.

Wesley Sprecher was a defenseman prior to this season, but was asked by Certo to play in goal with the departure of last season's goaltender, Nicholas Blocher.

"Midway through the summer, I stepped up and challenged him to play goaltender, and he's the type of kid who just said, 'Absolutely, I'll do it,'" Certo said.

If Sprecher and the young players continue to progress, Timmons hopes the team can make a playoff run.

But Certo knows the Lions may have too much to overcome. He is just looking for his team to give maximum effort each time it takes the ice.

"I've never seen such low numbers," Certo said. "It can be hard to practice sometimes. We have well-documented challenges, but the kids have gone out there with the right attitude and I expect them to continue to battle."

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