Notes and thoughts after the fifth Friday of the high school football season.
Who is the WPIAL player of the half year? Unlike past years, there is no clear-cut winner. Maybe it should be Central Valley's Robert Foster or Clairton's Tyler Boyd. Maybe Montour's Devin Wilson. I almost forgot North Allegheny QB Mack Leftwich. There are a handful of other players to consider. Maybe a lineman like North Allegheny's Pat Kugler.
But I say South Fayette's Zach Challingsworth is as worthy as anybody.
The kid has been terrific for South Fayette. After seeing him last night, Pitt might have a real sleeper on its hands.
Challingsworth has committed to Pitt. He wasn't heavily recruited by big-time colleges. It was mostly MAC schools and Pitt. But he is athletic, has good size, has a non-stop motor and seems to have an exceptional attitude. There isn't much he doesn't do on the field. Against Seton-LaSalle last night, Challingsworth caught nine passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. He ran three times for 23 yards. He intercepted a pass from his defensive back position. He forced a fumble. He blocked an extra-point attempt and almost blocked a punt.
"I should've had that punt," Challingsworth said.
Ooops. Forgot that Challingsworth also punted.
Here is an incredible stat for Challingsworth that shows his versatility and attitude. It is the seventh time in the past two seasons that he has blocked an extra point or field goal. A year ago, he blocked three punts.
Now I know he is playing in Class AA. It is certainly not the best competition around. But he does things that make him a standout, no matter the level. He shows speed getting off the line. Seems to run good routes. Is able to "point" the ball on passes. And he is very athletic. I saw his athleticism on the basketball court last year and was impressed. Sometimes you can see a kid's athletic ability more on a basketball court than a football field.
The media should like him at Pitt, too. He is a great talker.
On top of all that, he is very young. He won't turn 17 until Oct. 31. That means he will be playing college football when he is 17. That means he should only get bigger - and better in the future.
This and that
* South Fayette's group of receivers is terrific. They certainly help boost Brett Brumbaugh's yardage totals. North Allegheny is another team with a high-caliber group of receivers. Both teams use three- and four-receiver sets.
* I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but South Fayette-Aliquippa would be a WPIAL championship game I'd pay to see.
* I don't think South Allegheny is anywhere near good enough to win the Century Conference title. The Gladiators would have to beat South Fayette. But is South Allegheny jgood enough to make the WPIAL playoffs? The Gladiators are 4-1 overall and 3-1 in conference. They haven't been to the playoffs since 1986. Wow.
* Hey, a quick baseball note. Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds threw a no-hitter against the Pirates last night. It's being called the first no-hitter in PNC Park. But wait a second. I saw Mt. Lebanon's Chris Koutsavlis throw a no-hitter against Blackhawk in the 2002 WPIAL Class AAA championship at PNC. OK, it was a seven-inning high school game, but still a no-hitter. Mt. Lebanon won the game, 2-0.
* It's only a non-conference contest next Friday, but it's most definitely the game of the week. Class AAAA No. 1 North Allegheny takes on No. 2 Gateway at Gateway.
* You want to see what is supposed to be a good matchup turn into a blowout? Just have me show up. I'm supposed to be going to the best games in the area. I've attended seven so far this season and six of the scores have been 51-12, 42-21, 52-7, 45-3, 48-14 and 31-12. The only good game I've seen is when Montour beat Central Valley, 28-27, in OT.
* How about the amount of scoring last night? Thirty-three teams scored 40 points or more. That's a lot. I will give you some newspaper talk to explain it. The WPIAL and City League scoring summaries (box scores) that list all scoring plays took up four columns of one page in today's Post-Gazette - even though we were missing summaries from six games. That has never happened before, according to P-G high school stats king "Horse" Mrazik.
* This Ryder Cup stuff is great TV. Love the fans. It's like a football game. Hilarious when they cheer a bad shot by Europeans.
* Now this is a game to remember: Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams had 440 yards offense in a victory against previously unbeaten Northgate. He rushed for 224 and ran for 216. That's Terrelle Pryor-like numbers when he was at Jeannette.
* Highlights and interviews from three games last night on P-G web site. Scroll down to "video" to see Central Valley vs. West Allegheny; Seton-LaSalle vs. South Fayette; Montour vs. Ambridge.
* Statistics are still unofficial, but West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler holds onto the WPIAL rushing lead by 1 yard. He now has 1,051 and Burrell's Cole Bush has 1,050.* Interesting recruiting note. James Madison is looking at Seneca Valley QB Jordan Brown to possibly play receiver. Brown is fast and has good size.