WPIAL football position-by-position breakdown: Scouting the quarterbacks
By: Chris Harlan
Monday, August 12, 2019 | 12:01 AM
WPIAL passing records have fallen one after another over the past five years, a sign high school football in Western Pennsylvania has changed.
South Fayette’s Brett Brumbaugh set the WPIAL career yardage record in 2014. Gateway’s Brady Walker broke the WPIAL single-season yardage record in 2017. And last year, Sto-Rox’s Eric Wilson broke the regular-season yardage mark as the first quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in 10 games.
Why the surge? Offensive coordinators have embraced the pass more than ever, and offseason passing camps have made an impact as well.
Four WPIAL passers topped 3,000 yards last season: OLSH’s Tyler Bradley (3,364), South Fayette’s Jamie Diven (3,211), Aliquippa’s Eli Kosanovich (3,180) and Wilson. Eight more threw for more than 2,000 yards.
Nowadays, no record is safe.
1. Jack Salopek
Senior, 6-3, 180
The Western Michigan recruit completed 116 of 226 passes (51.3%) for 1,790 yards last season with 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Salopek averaged 15.4 yards per completion and twice threw for four touchdowns in a game. It was the second consecutive season he topped 1,700 yards. He threw for 1,820 as a sophomore. He chose WMU over offers from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duquesne, Harvard, Lehigh, Penn, Sacred Heart, UMass, Yale and Youngstown State.
2. Eric Wilson
Senior, 6-2, 180
Wilson averaged better than 300 yards per week and broke the WPIAL regular-season passing record last season with 3,003 in 10 games. He completed 158 of his 264 throws (59.8%) and averaged 19 yards per completion. His 38 touchdown passes ranked fifth among all WPIAL quarterbacks last season and first among QBs returning this fall. He lists an offer from Howard.
3. Shane Stump
Senior, 6-1, 205
Stump led the Jaguars to the WPIAL finals as a sophomore and junior, winning the Class 4A title in 2017 and finishing as runner-up last year. He didn’t need to pass often last season but still threw for 1,833 yards and 24 touchdowns while averaging 20.6 yards per completion. He completed 57.8% of his attempts (89 of 154). Stump, who also plays safety, lists offers from Dayton, Howard and Valparaiso.
4. Zack Swartz
Senior, 6-3, 200
Swartz celebrated his second consecutive 2,000-yard passing season last fall. He threw for 2,285 yards last season after totaling 2,009 as a sophomore. He completed 126 of 184 attempts (66.7%) and led Washington to the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals last year. He threw 28 touchdowns and five interceptions.
5. Zack Rocco
Senior, 6-3, 235
Rocco threw for more than 4,000 yards combined over the past two seasons. The left-hander compiled 1,967 yards last season and 2,186 as a sophomore. He also rushed for 500 yards and 11 touchdowns a year ago. He completed 118 of 184 passes (64.1%) and averaged 16.7 yards per completion.
ONE TO WATCH
Junior, 6-0, 160
Pfeuffer cracked the 2,000-yard mark as a sophomore as he led Peters Township to the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals. He completed 129 of his 210 passes (61.4%) for 2,045 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .