2014 MSA SPORTS ELITE ELEVEN
Friday, December 12, 2014 | 5:17 PM
Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci and South Fayette’s Brett Brumbaugh are prolific passers whose senior seasons have been very much alike in terms of statistics and team success.
DiNucci and Brumbaugh are also alike in the MSA Sports staff eyes. They are both players of the year.
The MSA Sports staff found it impossible to separate the two in terms of accomplishments this season. So, the two have been selected co-Players of the Year.
DiNucci and Brumbaugh also lead the MSA Sports’ Elite 11. The all-star team is made up of the top 11 players in the WPIAL, regardless of position.
Here is a look at the players of the year and the Elite 11.
CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR – BRETT BRUMBAUGH, SOUTH FAYETTE
QB, 6-4, 195, SR.
Brumbaugh set the state record last week for passing yards in a career. He enters the PIAA Class AA championship game with 10,964 passing yards. He has completed 667 of 1,050. He holds the WPIAL record for career touchdown passes with 125. He is the first quarterback in WPIAL history to throw for 3,000 yards in two different seasons.
Brumbaugh moved into the starting lineup late in his freshman year and his record as a starting quarterback is 44-2. This season, Brumbaugh has completed 205 of 350 for 3,618 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led South Fayette to a second consecutive WPIAL title and the Lions have a 31-game winning streak, fourth-best in WPIAL history.
Brumbaugh has already made a verbal commitment to Duquesne University.
CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR – BEN DiNUCCI, PINE-RICHLAND
QB, 6-2, 195, SR.
DiNucci helped Pine-Richland win the WPIAL Class AAAA championship and heads into the PIAA title game with a good chance to become the first quarterback in Pennsylvania history to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.
A quarterback with pinpoint accuracy, DiNucci has completed 69 percent of his passes. He has completed 246 of 355 for 3,886 yards and 42 touchdowns. A starter since his sophomore year, DiNucci has 7,242 career passing yards, third-best in WPIAL history.
DiNucci already has made a verbal commitment to Pennsylvania of the Ivy League.
JORDAN WHITEHEAD, CENTRAL VALLEY
RB-DB, 6-0, 185, SR.
Some consider Whitehead the best all-around player in the WPIAL. Whitehead has had a superb senior season in leading the Warriors to the WPIAL Class AAA championship and a spot in the PIAA Class AAA championship.
Whitehead has performed in a big way. He is the master of the big play. He has scored 35 touchdowns and the average length of those scores is 43.7 yards. His yards-per-carry average is a whopping 14.1. Whitehead heads into the PIAA title game with 1,899 yards rushing on 135 carries and has caught 22 passes for 402 yards. He also is a tremendous kick returner.
Whitehead had many Division I college offers and during the season, he made a verbal commitment to Pitt. Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia were his other finalists. Whitehead was recruited to play defensive back.
JOHNNY PETRISHEN, PITTSBURGH CENTRAL CATHOLIC
RB-WR-DB, 6-2, 195, SR.
Petrishen is considered one of the best DBs in the WPIAL. He’s also an excellent kick returner. In the past two seasons, he returned seven punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. This year, he returned four punts for TDs and intercepted four passes. He was moved to quarterback/running back the final two games of the season, taking direct snaps in the wildcat formation. He finished with 381 yards rushing in two games.
Petrishen has not decided on a college yet. Pitt, Virginia and Wake Forest were his finalists, but Penn State offered a scholarship a few weeks ago.
TIM VECCHIO, PENN-TRAFFORD
WR-DB, 5-10, 170, JR.
Vecchio is not big in stature, but he was gigantic for the Warriors, helping the team make the WPIAL semifinals for the second year in a row. He has excellent hands and caught 43 passes for 1,022 yards. He scored 16 touchdowns. He also is a talented defensive back and kick returner.
Vecchio is being recruited by Patriot and Ivy League schools.
CHAYSE DILLON, WEST ALLEGHENY
RB-LB, 6-0, 200, SR.
West Allegheny made it to the WPIAL Class AAA title game three consecutive seasons and Dillon was one of the main reasons. This season, Dillon rushed for 996 yards and scored 21 touchdowns for the WPIAL runner-up. Dillon had 3,151 yards in three seasons. He also was a force at linebacker.
Dillon has said he will most likely play next season at St. Francis, Pa.
AUSTIN KEMP, THOMAS JEFFERSON
RB-LB, 5-11, 210, SR.
Austin powered the Jaguars to another conference championship and an 11-1 record. He ended up in the end zone like no one else this season. He scored 200 points in the regular season, which tied for the third-most points in the WPIAL since 1979.
Kemp scored 34 touchdowns, the second-most in the WPIAL in at least 35 years. He rushed for 1,994 yards on 231 carries. He did not play as a sophomore because of a shoulder injury. As a junior and senior, he rushed for 3,095 yards.
KAEZON PUGH, ALIQUIPPA
RB-LB, 6-2, 210, JR.
Pugh has been on Aliquippa’s varsity since his freshman year, and he was a force on offense and defense this year.
Pugh rushed for 1,621 yards on 156 carries for the WPIAL Class AA runner-up. He has a good chance to make it to the 4,000-yard career mark next season. In three seasons, he has rushed for 3,528 yards on 260 attempts.
Despite his offensive talents, Pugh is being recruited as a linebacker. Although he is only a junior, he already has scholarship offers from Pitt and West Virginia. A number of other Division I colleges are interested.
TRE TIPTON, APOLLO-RIDGE
QB-WR-DB, 6-1, 175, SR.
Versatility should be Tipton’s middle name. He always was a receiver for Apollo-Ridge, but this year he also played quarterback. He rushed for 1,028 yards on 86 carries and also completed 31 of 68 for 515 yards. But he didn’t stop there. He also caught 25 passes for 475 yards.
Tipton is an excellent athlete. He averaged 14 points in basketball last season and was second in the long jump in WPIAL Class AA track.
Tipton made a verbal commitment to Pitt this summer. He was recruited by Pitt to play receiver.
LAMONT WADE, CLAIRTON
RB-DB, 5-10, 180, SOPH.
This should tell you all you need to know about Wade’s talents: Although he is only a sophomore, he already has scholarship offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia and Temple.
Wade was on Clairton’s varsity as a freshman and he was not the Bears’ No. 1 running back the first few games of the season. That was Harrison Dreher. But Dreher was bothered by an injury and Wade burst on the scene.
Wade helped Clairton win the WPIAL Class A title and the Bears will now play for the PIAA championship. Wade has rushed for 2,550 yards on 198 carries, which equates to a yards-per-carry-average of 12.9. He has scored 45 touchdowns.
P.J. FULMORE, CARDINAL WUERL NORTH CATHOLIC
RB-DB, 5-8, 190, SR.
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic was 27-1 the past two seasons, and Fulmore was the driving force in the success.
Fulmore finished his career with 4,586 yards on 720 carries, winning WPIAL and PIAA titles as a junior. He had an excellent senior season with 1,506 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns.
Fulmore has decided to play next season at Duquesne University.
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