WPIAL football player of the week — Week 6
Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 7:25 PM
Coming into this season, there were major questions about the QB position at Quarterback High.
More than halfway through the regular season, those questions have been answered with plenty of passing yards, touchdowns and victories for South Fayette.
The latest Lions quarterback is Naman Alemada, and he continues to make a name for himself.
Alemada had another big game in Week 6 in a Class 4A Northwest Eight Conference showdown victory over Knoch.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior connected on 14 of 21 passing for 398 yards and six touchdowns in the Lions’ 42-7 triumph over the Knights.
“Naman was able to throw the deep ball well early,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “It was something he has been working on the last couple weeks.”
Knoch came into the game with a 5-1 record with two shutouts and allowing only 47 points in six games.
Yet South Fayette had great success through the air with all of its scores coming on mostly long touchdown passes of 46, 22, 32, 56, 38 yards and a toss of 2 yards.
“We are always going to take what teams give up, and they loaded the box and challenged Nam to make throws and he did early on,” Rossi said. “Our offensive line picked up some of their blitzes giving him time to operate.”
The first-year starter is 124 of 182 passing for 1,925 yards and 24 touchdowns through six weeks.
Those are numbers some of his predecessors — names like Christian and Brett Brumbaugh, Drew Saxton and Jamie Diven — would be proud of.
“Nam had been our ball boy in middle school and learned from Brett, Drew and Jamie,” Rossi said. “He has a great understanding of the offense and is making good reads. His knowledge of this offense is what helped him win the job.”
Rossi was asked how Alemada compares to those South Fayette at this stage in their careers, six games in.
“He is similar to those guys in that he isn’t trying to do too much,” Rossi said. “Play within the system and find the open guy. Our offensive coordinator and quarterback coach are doing a great job getting him to this point, and he is starting to make plays.”
The win over Knoch not only keeps South Fayette alone in first place, it also is the 61st straight conference victory, something Rossi said the team never talks about.
But one thing Rossi, Alemada and the rest of the Lions do talk about is continuing to improve as the regular season winds down.
“We preach every year about stepping up and getting better each week,” Rossi said. “We lost a lot of talent from last year’s group like we do each year. Many of them are first-year starters and are doing their job.”
WPIAL Week 6 Honorable Mentions:
Jake Johnson and Nick Loughner — Mt. Pleasant
They say two heads are better than one. Whoever “they” are, they likely would agree two runners racking up big yards are better than one.
The senior running back tandem of Jake Johnson and Nick Loughner lifted Mt. Pleasant to a victory in a must-win Class 3A Big East Conference contest.
Johnson rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Loughner gained 185 yards on the ground with two scores as the Vikings stayed alive with a 34-18 victory over Burrell.
Logan Harmon — Apollo-Ridge
On the playground, the rule of thumb is “no harm, no foul.” Playing football against Apollo-Ridge will bring plenty of harm when Logan Harmon is running loose.
The junior running back carried the ball 30 times for 344 yards and scored four touchdowns, overcoming three fumbles in the game.
Harmon’s huge night helped lift Apollo-Ridge past host Valley, 35-28, and in the process clinched a playoff spot in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference.
Reis Watkins — Shenango
Shenango quarterback Tino Campoli connected on 12 of 18 passes for 189 yards Friday, but those numbers pale in comparison to what his backfield mate did.
Junior running back Reis Watkins rushed for a school-record 302 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 49-14 victory over host Ellwood City.
The win keeps Shenango (3-2) in the hunt for a Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference playoff spot as it is tied for fourth place with Riverside (3-2), a half-game in front of Western Beaver (2-2).
2019 Trib HSSN football players of the week:
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.