Mike White | 12:55 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008
Notes, anecdotes and thoughts after the second weekend of high school football.
If the WPIAL football season lasted two weeks, the player of the year would be Seneca Valley quarterback C.J. Brown.
Brown has been the WPIAL's most impressive player in the first two weeks. He has thrown for more than 300 yards in both games and also has been a threat running. In a 38-33 victory against Erie McDowell Thursday on FSN Pittsburgh television, Brown completed 25 of 37 for 304 yards and rushed for 85 yards and three touchdowns.
But Brown isn't just about statistics. He is talented. It says here he's the best quarterback in the WPIAL this season and he might eventually be good enough to have an impact at the University of Maryland. He made a verbal commitment to the Terrapins in the spring. It also says here that he's as good in high school as Pitt quarterback Bill Stull was at Seton-LaSalle. He's also at least as good as Pitt's Pat Bostick was at Manheim Township. In fact, Brown might be even better than both. That's not a knock at Stull or Bostick, but Brown is more athletic.
Brown is 6 feet 4, 190 pounds and this should tell you a little about his athletic ability. A Seneca Valley basketball assistant in the press box Thursday night said Brown was doing 360 degree slam dunks on the basketball court recently. Brown is expected to be one of the top basketball players in WPIAL Class AAAA this season. And for any of those who think Brown might not play basketball because of his football future, forget it. His father said he is definitely playing basketball. In fact, truth be told, C.J. has said in the past that he actually liked basketball the best. But he knew football was his future.
* Brown's receiver, Matt Plautz, also has been impressive with 18 catches in two games. The two are lucky to play in Ron Butschle's spread offense. Plautz is a 6-4 receiver and there is a chance he could end up at Pitt. Plautz said he attended Pitt's season opener and believes he has a decent shot at being offered a scholarship in the next few weeks. If Pitt does offer, look for Plautz to accept.
* You have to feel good for Coach Pat Monroe, who has South Allegheny off to a 2-0 start in his first season as the Gladiators' coach. The guy did a lot of good - on and off the field - during his days at Duquesne High before the school closed. South Allegheny hasn't exactly faced the stiffest competiton (Brownsville and Waynesburg), but starting 2-0 is quite a feat at South Allegheny. The Gladiators have won more than two games only twice in the past 10 seasons.The good times might end next week, though. South Allegheny plays at Jeannette.
* Biggest shock of Friday night was Quaker Valley defeating South Fayette, 15-14. Quaker Valley has been horrible for years while South Fayette was expected to challenge for the Class AA Century Conference title.
* Kudos to Carrick coach Jeff McCafferty for what he's done at Carrick. The Raiders were a City League doormat for years, but McCafferty got them to the playoffs last year. Now, Carrick is 2-0 and beat Allderdice Friday. That means Carrick will now be the City's No. 2-ranked team behind Brashear.
* While Carrick rises, Connellsville continues to fall. What has happened to this once-proud Connellsville program? The Falcons have been outscored, 101-7, in two games against Uniontown and Woodland Hills. This program has been slipping ever since the Connellsville school board got rid of Dan Spanish in 2003. Spanish had a 190-111-8 record in 29 years. True, his teams were starting to struggle as the Falcons were 10-20 his final three years. But what does that school board say to this: Connellsville is 12-38 since Spanish left and the Falcons' offense is nowhere to be found. They scored only 68 points in nine games last season.
* Gateway's Dorian Bell (Ohio State recruit) is known for his ability at linebacker. But he showed his overall athletic ability in Friday's game, rushing for 105 yards.
* You think maybe some media outlets had Monessen a little overrated at the beginning of the season? Monessen has lost its first two games. True, they were against No. 1-ranked Rochester and No. 2 Clairton. But Monessen has not scored a point in either game. Some media outlets had Monessen as high as No. 1 in WPIAL Class A.
* Funny comment from Montour coach Lou Cerro before his team's game Friday against Highlands. Cerro was dressed in black dress pants, black shoes, a black dress shirt and a black tie. When asked why all the black, Cerro said, "We're trying to go with the Johnny Cash look."
* Here's something a little different: Highlands took pregame warmups in shorts.
* You don't see this very often anymore, either. Highlands uses a wishbone formation on offense. "We don't have a true tailback," said Coach Sam Albert. "This gives us a power game with some misdirection. We don't even call it a wishbone. We call it power bone. It's not like the wishbone most people are used to seeing."