Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week 2022: Week 1

Sunday, September 4, 2022 | 9:22 PM

Steel Valley senior quarterback Cruce Brookins believes in his abilities on the football field. He also has great trust in his offensive line.

That combo was on display in Week 1 in the season opener for the Ironmen in a thrilling, 28-24 win at Sto-Rox in an early season Class 2A heavyweight showdown.

“I love our line,” Brookins told Trib HSSN’s Chris Harlan after the game. “They were opening up so many holes for me; I might need to go feed them.”

Against the Vikings, Brookins carried the ball 20 times for 186 yards and scored all four of the Ironmen’s touchdowns.

Nearly every score was an answer to a Sto-Rox lead.

Brookins scored on runs on 26 and 81 yards in the first half, a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put Steel Valley up by three points, and then another 1-yard score with less than 3 minutes left in regulation for the winning points.

“There is no greater competitor than him,” Steel Valley coach Ray Braszo said. “He always strides for perfection on and off the field.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound quarterback and defensive back has committed to Kent State.

WPIAL Week 1 Honorable Mentions

Keegan Smetanka – Shaler

Shaler has discovered an interesting recipe for success on offense that has the Titans averaging 28 points through the first two games — move the ball through the air and punch it into the end zone on the ground.

The moving it up and down the field through the air part falls on junior quarterback Keegan Smetanka, who in Week 1, completed 22 of 36 passes for 313 yards, but no touchdowns in the Titans’ 28-24 win over Hampton. In two weeks, Smetanka has thrown for 469 yards and one touchdown.

Bret FitzSimmons – Central Valley

Just when Central Valley opponents didn’t think they had to worry about Sean FitzSimmons wreaking havoc now that he is at Pitt, here comes younger brother Bret ready to keep the family tradition going of causing fits for Warriors foes.

In a showdown against Class 3A power Avonworth in Week 1, FitzSimmons carried the ball only 10 times, but ended up rushing for 209 yards. Most of the damage came on his four long touchdown runs of 63, 29, 17 and 80 yards in the Warriors’ 29th straight win, 37-22.

David Davis – Imani Christian

What a difference a week makes. Imani Christian scored zero points in a Week Zero loss to the Linsly School (W.Va.), but rebounded nicely in Week 1 thanks to the big time running of David Davis.

Only a freshman, Davis did it all against Brentwood. He carried the ball 17 times for 261 yards and three touchdowns, had one reception for 15 yards and returned a fumble for another score as the Saints evened their record at 1-1 with a 36-21 win over the Spartans.

2022 HSSN Players of the Week

Week Zero – Conlan Greene, Steel Valley

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