South Fayette completes another perfect season, wins PIAA Class AA title

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HERSHEY, Pennsylvania — Sparked by a championship-record 95-yard touchdown run by Hunter Hayes, WPIAL champion South Fayette clipped Dunmore 28-16 on Saturday to claim its second straight PIAA Class AA football title.

Although the Lions (16-0) reached Hersheypark Stadium behind Pennsylvania's all-time passing leader, senior quarterback Brett Brumbaugh, Hayes emerged as South Fayette's workhorse against the District 2 challenger and legendary Dunmore head coach Jack Henzes.

Hayes finished with 263 rushing yards on 27 carries, including that 95-yard romp that gave South Fayette a 21-16 lead late in the third quarter. Hayes added a first-quarter scoring run, affording a short-lived 7-6 edge.

Henzes, No. 2 on the state's all-time leaders in wins (396), and the Bucks (14-2) opened a 16-14 lead at intermission via a Garrett Murray 34-yard touchdown run and a 4-yard plunge by Colin Holmes, both in the opening quarter. Joey Capooci's 26-yard field goal came with 9:09 remaining in the half.

Brumbaugh, a Duquesne recruit, completed eight of 18 attempts for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the last a 37-yard cross to Dan Trimbur to seal the win with 8:27 to go. Brumbaugh finished his career with 11,104 passing yards.

Dunmore, playing in its first Class AA final since 2007, took advantage of South Fayette's shaky start. An Eric DeLuccie interception sparked a quick five-play series with Murray breaking through the Lions' defense just 2:25 into the game.

Hayes, however, kick-started his big performance with a 9-yard TD run midway through the first. But Dunmore continued to mix key runs by Holmes and Murray to keep control, with Holmes capping a 12-play series from the South Fayette 4.

Henzes' defense controlled much of the first half, and Capooci's kick landed Dunmore a surprising 16-7 second-quarter edge. The Lions eventually turned momentum just before the break when Brumbaugh located Ryan Schmider on a 10-yard cross at the 1:28 mark.

The Lions had possession for just 2:23 of the third quarter, but Hayes needed only 13 seconds to swing momentum for good. After South Fayette snuffed out Dunmore's fourth-and-goal chance at the Lions' 5, Hayes bolted up the middle and outraced the coverage for his record-setting scoring run.

"One-yard line, first down, fortunately we got a penalty. That's part of the game," said South Fayette coach Joe Rossi. "And the kids' backs were against the wall last week. In a similar situation, their backs were against the wall today, and this group never stops. We faced a lot of adversity, injuries this year, but young kids have stepped up. It's just a tremendous feeling."

Brumbaugh's second TD pass extended the state's longest active winning streak to 32 games.

Murray (18 rushes, 119 yards) and Holmes (27-106) paced the Bucks, hurt by nine penalties. Dunmore held possession for nearly 31 minutes.

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