OLSH players have championship aspirations

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | 11:21 PM


Two years ago, members of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart football team hoisted the WPIAL Class A championship trophy for the first time in school history.

Now, as the Chargers enter the 2020 season, they have championship aspirations back on their mind after going 7-4 a season ago and losing to eventual WPIAL Class A champion Clairton in the quarterfinals.

With a young team that included sophomore Jay Pearson starting at quarterback and only three seniors, it was a season not many saw coming. But the Chargers are ready to prove it wasn’t a fluke.

“I’m even more confident this season because last year everyone thought that we were going to be terrible,” Pearson said. “But for a young team, we went 7-4 and that’s a good record. But our record is going to be undefeated this year; that’s my goal for this year.”

Most of the players on this year’s team were freshmen or sophomores who didn’t get a chance to contribute to the 2018 title. Last year was their first opportunity to do just that, and they took advantage of it.

In their first game, the Chargers trailed Westinghouse, 30-13, with nine minutes left in the third quarter. They went on to score 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure a 33-30 victory and boost their confidence for the remainder of the season.

“For my first time starting, I was kind of nervous,” Pearson said. “But after that first start against Westinghouse, that was when my confidence rose because I knew we could beat them, because we were down and we came back. It really boosted our confidence.”

The Chargers went on to produce two shutouts and averaged 26 points per game while losing conference games to Sto-Rox and Cornell. Chargers coach Dan Bradley thinks the experience they gained will be crucial this year.

“Last year, they got an opportunity to play in big games and in the playoffs, and hopefully it shows this year what that will do for them,” Bradley said.

Pearson produced 1,812 yards of total offense while throwing for 14 touchdowns and running for another 12. In typical OLSH fashion, the Chargers also will be strong across the offensive line again as they return all five starters who helped nine rushers produce 1,886 yards and 25 touchdowns.

“We’re pretty big up front, and we’re pretty athletic up front,” Bradley said. “I think the line is always the key if you want to make a deep playoff run. It’s good to have athletes to make plays, but it all starts up front.”

Junior Stephen Greer is back in the backfield after carrying the ball 105 times for 722 yards and nine touchdowns.

With the talent that the Chargers have returning, Bradley is excited for what they can do.

“We just want to take steps forward every week, get better, compete with ourselves, just not as teammates but within and just try to become the best player we can be,” Bradley said. “I think we have a lot of pieces that should allow us to win some games.”

Schedule

Coach: Dan Bradley

2019 record: 7-4, 5-2 in Class A Big Seven Conference

All-time record: 48-53

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Cornell*, 7

9.18, Burgettstown*, 7

9.25, at Fort Cherry*, 7

10.2, at Rochester*, 7

10.10, Union*, 7

10.16, at Shenango*, 7

10.23, Northgate*, 7

*Class A Big Seven Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Jaymar Pearson

66-125, 1,074 yards, 14 TDs

Receiving: Eric Olexa*

33-521 yards, 8 TDs

Rushing: Pearson

88-738 yards, 12 TDs

*Graduated

Fast facts

• The Chargers will be looking to make their second WPIAL championship appearance in school history.

• Since Dan Bradley took over the program in 2016, the Chargers have yet to have a losing season.

• Senior wide receiver Bobby Brazell will return to the outside after catching 19 passes for 344 yards and six touchdowns. He also averaged 18.1 yards per catch.

• Senior kicker Ryan Gehring converted 25 extra-point attempts last season.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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