South Fayette Runs By Dunmore For Second Straight PIAA AA Crown

Saturday, December 13, 2014 | 3:59 PM

One decision can change everything. Just ask Jack Henzes. After electing to go for a touchdown on a 4th and goal at the South Fayette 5-yard line, up 16-14, and failing, Henzes, the long-time Dunmore coach, would see his grip on the PIAA AA Championship slip away.

On the first play after the defensive stand, South Fayette (16-0) tailback Hunter Hayes would burst through a hole and go 95 yards for a go-ahead score, lifting the Lions to a 28-16 win over Dunmore (14-2) at Hersheypark Stadium.

The win is the second in a row in the AA Championship for the Lions, who routed Imhotep Charter 41-0 a year ago. The victory also extended South Fayette’s winning streak to 32-straight games, making them the first AA team to ever repeat as Champions.

But, this year, the win was far from a sure thing. Dunmore scored on their first three possessions and grabbed a 16-7 lead early. The Bucks were able to utilize a ground game that went over 5,000 rushing yards this season.

“I think we were surprised by the strength and the power of their run game,” said South Fayette coach Joe Rossi. “It was all about attitude and getting to the football.”

After intercepting Lions quarterback and PIAA all-time passing leader Brett Brumbaugh on the second play of the game, Garrett Murray would break a 34-yard touchdown run on Dunmore’s opening possession. Following a failed extra point, Hayes would lead the Lions down the field, rushing for 43 yards and an 8-yard score, giving South Fayette a 7-6 lead.

However, Dunmore would capitalize on two straight campaigns, as Colin Holmes would score from four yards out and Joey Capooci would connect on a 27-yard field goal, giving the District 2 Champions a 16-7 lead with 9:09 left in the first half.

But that would be it for the Bucks, who failed two score on their final nine possessions of the game. And that’s when Hayes and Brumbaugh would take over.

“We tightened down a little bit,” said Rossi. “They came out and took their best shot at the champs and our kids took that punch and just kept fighting.”

Brumbaugh, a Duquesne recruit who holds most WPIAL passing records, would connect with Ryan Schmider on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 left in the half, pulling the Lions to within two points.

South Fayette would get another shot after a Dunmore fumble, but Dan Trimbur would miss a 37-yard field goal, sending the teams to halftime with Dunmore up 16-14.

On the Bucks second drive of the second half, they would march 56 yards and take over six minutes off of the clock. But the Lions would hold and, on 4th and five, Henzes would elect to bypass a short field goal and go for the six points. Quarterback Eric DeLuccie’s pass would fail to connect and the Lions would take over.

On the next play, Hayes took a handoff to the right side, jaunting through a hole for 95 yards and the go-ahead score.

“If I have to hand it off 50 times a game to Hunter, I’ll do it,” said Brumbaugh, who finished 8-of-18 passing for 120 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.

Brumbaugh would throw a 37-yad strike to Dan Trimbur on the Lions’ following possession, icing the game at 28-16.

The game featured 527 combined rushing yards. Murray ran for 119 yard and Holmes ran for 106 for the Bucks, who fell in a State Championship Game to a WPIAL team for the third time since 2007. Those losses have come to Terrell Pryor and Jeannette (2007), Tyler Boyd and Clairton (2012) and now Brumbaugh and Hayes.

Scoring Summary:
1st Quarter:
9:35 – D: Garrett Murray 34-yard run (Joey Capooci kick failed), 6-0 D
7:03 – SF: Hunter Hayes 8-yard run (Dan Trimbur kick), 7-6 SF
2:06 – D: Colin Holmes 4-yard run (Capooci kick), 13-7 D
2nd Quarter:
9:09 – D: Capooci 27-yard field goal, 16-7 D
1:28 – SF: Ryan Schmider 9-yard pass from Brett Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick), 16-14 D
3rd Quarter:
0:15 – SF: hunter Hayes 95-yard run (Trimbur kick), 21-16 SF
4th Quarter:
8:27 – SF: Trimbur 37-yard pass from Brumbaugh (Trimbur kick), 28-16 SF


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