North Xtra: 'Bradleys' cap season of success
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People sometimes ask me if my name is actually Bradley or Bradford. I quickly tell them, "No. It's just plain old Brad."
Well, this week, I'm going to go against my words and try something new.
With that, I present to you "The Bradleys." These awards -- which have no cash value -- are being given out to honor some of the top performers of the 2012 WPIAL football season.
• Most Valuable Player -- Mack Leftwich, North Allegheny. There might not be a better quarterback in the WPIAL. Leftwich has been exceptional in leading the two-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Tigers back to the championship game. Leftwich has completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards and 32 touchdowns, while also rushing for 441 yards and eight touchdowns. Leftwich's marquee performance came in a 47-17 win Friday against Seneca Valley. In that game, Leftwich was 18 of 23 for 360 yards and five touchdowns. He added two rushing touchdowns. It was Leftwich's second five-touchdown outing of the season. Leftwich, a senior, has committed to play at Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin.
• Offensive player of the year -- Jordan Brown, Seneca Valley. Brown was the perfect fit at quarterback for Seneca Valley's spread attack, which averaged 37.7 points a game and scored at least 32 points nine times. A senior, Brown passed for 1,892 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was second on the team with 600 yards rushing. Brown, whose brother, C.J., is a quarterback at Maryland, showed he too has Division I talent and strong leadership skills, as he helped the Raiders reach the WPIAL semifinals. In a quarterfinal triumph against Mt. Lebanon, Brown was 12 of 15 for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
• Defensive player of the year -- Pat Kugler, North Allegheny. Kugler's future is on offense, but one of the many talented players on North Allegheny deserved this spot, so why not Kugler. Kugler has been a force at defensive tackle for a team that gave up only 37 points in the regular season. Few running backs have broken big runs against Kugler and company. Kugler, a senior, is considered one of the top offensive tackles in the country. He has committed to Michigan. Kugler's father, Sean, is the offensive line coach for the Steelers. Pat's brother, Rob, is an offensive lineman at Purdue.
• Coach of the year -- Bob Ravenstahl, North Catholic. Nowadays, Ravenstahl is often referred to simply as Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's dad, but the elder Ravenstahl continues to prove he is an excellent coach and showed as much again this season. North Catholic went 9-3 and won the Class A Eastern Conference title. Given the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, the Trojans shut out Bishop Canevin in the first round and upset No. 3 Rochester in the quarterfinals, before being eliminated by Sto-Rox, 34-20, in the semifinals.
• Team of the year -- North Allegheny. With the rest of Class AAAA trying to hunt down North Allegheny all season, the Tigers have taken the offensive, feasting on opposing teams week after week. The Tigers have been dominant. Coach Art Walker's bunch owns the top scoring offense (40.5 points per game) and defense (6.8) in Class AAAA. Aside from a 14-3 win against Gateway, the Tigers have won all of their games by at least 25 points. They held all but one of their regular-season opponents to single-digits. The Tigers, who face Woodland Hills in Friday's championship game, have won their playoff games by 28, 28 and 30 points.
• Top underclassman -- Josh Schultheis, Mars. On the opening night of the season, this sophomore running back opened eyes by rushing for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Mars' upset win at Franklin Regional. That outstanding effort was far from the last by Schultheis, who went on to rip off three games with at least 200 yards rushing and four games in which he totaled four touchdowns. Schultheis finished the season with 1,687 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Planets, who won the Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference title and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals. Schultheis rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns in a first-round win against Blackhawk.
• Top performance -- Forrest Barnes, Seneca Valley. Forrest ran, ran, ran and ran some more in Seneca Valley's 64-14 win against Connellsville on Sept. 22. In that game, all Barnes did was rush for 305 yards and seven touchdowns. A senior, Barnes had touchdowns of 10, 96, 50, 31, 55, 23 and 5 yards. In the three games preceding that outburst, Barnes had rushed for a total of 272 yards and four touchdowns. While the huge game against Connellsville provided Barnes with a few career highs, it was just part of what was an excellent season. Barnes had 1,777 yards and 30 touchdowns.
First Published November 21, 2012 12:00 am