Emergence of senior receiver adds another weapon to Chartiers Valley’s offense

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Saturday, September 25, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Coming into this season, all eyes were on Chartiers Valley junior wide receiver Lamont Payne, and for good reason.

Payne recently committed to play at Penn State. He was named to the Trib 25 Preseason All-Star Team.

However, Payne isn’t the only weapon causing pain for opposing defenses.

After a quiet start, Colts senior wide receiver Abraham Ibrahim had a huge Week 2, and his success in the Chartiers Valley aerial attack has continued.

In that breakout game, Ibrahim had nine catches for 229 yards and caught four touchdown passes from Colts quarterback Anthony Mackey, including the tying and winning scores in a thrilling 35-34 overtime win at Keystone Oaks.

“He made big plays on offense from start to finish,” Chartiers Valley coach Dan Knause said. “As a coaching staff, we know he’s a special player and we have to get him the ball. He has elite balls skills, and that was on display Friday night against a good KO team who had not surrendered a point in their first two games.”

Mackey and Ibrahim have a lot in common, and it has led to a good relationship in the Colts passing game and when the pads are put away.

“The rapport between Anthony and Abe is special,” Knause said. “They are both great student-athletes. They are well respected because they are great kids on and off the field. Anthony and Abe have a quiet chemistry because they are both business-like in the way they approach games, practice and their academics. Sometimes with these two guys, a simple smile and a nod are all they need.”

Payne still might be the 1-A target, but Knause admits that having Ibrahim as a 1-B receiver really makes Mackey and the CV passing game dangerous, as he talked about in the waning moments of regulation with KO leading 28-21.

“They bracketed Lamont, and Anthony understood the progression of where to go with the ball when this happens,” Knause said. “Our coaching staff does a nice job communicating scenarios to our players at practice. We have talked about that very scenario multiple times. Abe was aware that the ball was coming to him pre-snap.”

In overtime, Mackey and Ibrahim connected again on a 10-yard touchdown pass.

“In overtime, we talked to Anthony and gave him two plays and asked what he liked,” Knause said. “Anthony wanted to take a shot to Abe on the first play of OT.”

Knause feels Payne thrives on length and speed, but pure athleticism is what drives the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Ibrahim, who already has more catches this year than he did in 2020.

“Abe is a great route runner and has elite ball skills,” Knause said. “He has a great athletic frame that allows him to do special things on both sides of the ball. He moves very well.”

Ibrahim has seen time at outside linebacker and safety for the Colts.

“On defense, Abe has yet to reach his full potential,” Knause said. “This is partly because we’ve moved him and changed his position. Due to his skill set, we ask a lot of him. He is a returning starter for us, but he’s still learning safety. We ask a lot of our safeties because they are the quarterbacks of our defense.

“As Abe continues to gain football intelligence on defense, his natural abilities will be showcased more. We are lucky to have this guy on both sides of the ball.”

Chartiers Valley enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 with a second-place finish in the Class 4A Parkway Conference and a final record of 6-2.

The Colts open conference play on Oct. 1 with a visit to Blackhawk.

“Our schedule has been very tough to open the season,” Knuase said. “Playing them is a huge task.”

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