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Choosing Duquesne about home, family for South Fayette’s Brumbaugh

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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
South Fayette's Brett Brumbaugh smiles on the sideline after breaking the WPIAL career passing yardage record against Steel Valley on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in South Fayette.

After being wooed by football programs around the region, Brett Brumbaugh realized there’s no place like home.

South Fayette’s star senior quarterback announced last week that he will attend Duquesne University next fall to continue his playing career.

“I just really loved the idea of being home and still being in Pittsburgh — after growing up here — and being close to my family as well,” Brumbaugh said.

Brumbaugh also had offers from Albany, Temple, Akron and Slippery Rock, but it didn’t take long to choose where he will continue his football career once he got the right offer. Duquesne officially offered Brumbaugh a scholarship on Oct. 31, and he accepted it four days later.

His proximity to the college helped throughout the recruiting process, as Brumbaugh was able to spend more time with the coaches at Duquesne than any of the other schools that recruited him, he said.

“Throughout the season the interaction picked up,” Brumbaugh said. “They came to one of my games, and I went to one of their games. It was easier to see them with it just being a 25-minute drive away.”

Although Brumbaugh did not draw the same national attention as other top WPIAL athletes — such as Central Valley defensive back Jordan Whitehead, who will attend Pitt, or Baldwin offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins, a Penn State recruit — he is well on his way to ending his career as one of the most decorated athletes in WPIAL and PIAA history.

After winning WPIAL and PIAA championships last season, Brumbaugh broke the WPIAL career passing yards and touchdown marks previously held by former Sto-Rox quarterback Lenny Williams against Steel Valley on Oct. 3. Entering last week’s second-round playoff game with South Park, Brumbaugh’s career marks stood at 9,644 yards and 115 touchdowns, trailing the PIAA records of 10,948 yards and 137 touchdowns set in 2012 by Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer.

As he watched some of his peers sign their letters of intent throughout the season, the process of waiting for his right offer to come along became increasingly difficult.

“It was pretty stressful,” Brumbaugh said. “I tried not to think about it too much, but I wanted to have a plan in the back of my mind about where I would go. When Duquesne offered, it didn’t take long to accept.”

With both the WPIAL passing records and his playing future secured, Brumbaugh is welcoming the chance just to focus on playing football, both on and off the field.

“It helps me not have to worry about it when I’m not playing football,” Brumbaugh said. “When I am playing, I don’t really think about college at all, and I focus on winning. Coach (Joe) Rossi told me not to worry, and that I’d end up in a place where it would all work out.”

If Brumbaugh can lead his team to another PIAA championship appearance, the odds are in his favor to become the state’s career leader in passing yards based on the pace he has set for himself this year.

But adding just his name to the record book another time wouldn’t mean nearly as much as finishing his career as a state champion with his teammates by his side.

“It would mean a lot,” Brumbaugh said. “The main focus to us is always winning, and if we could win another WPIAL and state championship, it would be the perfect way to end our careers here at South Fayette.”

The top-seeded Lions are on course to face some familiar foes in upcoming games, including a potential rematch with No. 2 Aliquippa in the WPIAL championship. South Fayette defeated the Quipps 34-28 in last year’s Class AA championship at Heinz Field.

But Brumbaugh knows how much can change from past matchups, placing an importance on being the best version of himself that he can be for his team, he said.

“We look at the other team’s schemes and everything, and we focus on it, but ultimately it comes down to what do we do best,” Brumbaugh said. “We tweak it based on other team’s schemes.”

A balanced offense has helped the Lions tweak their scheme to attack specific opponents.

With Brumbaugh receiving most of the attention from opposing defenses, the running game has capitalized. Senior Hunter Hayes has led a rushing attack that finished the regular season with 1,633 yards in nine games.

“Our running game the past few years has been tremendous,” Brumbaugh said. “Hunter has really stepped it up. We knew he’d be a big part of the offense, and it’s a luxury knowing I can just hand the ball off to him, and we can still gain yards. We don’t have to pass it every play.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @GHorvath_Trib.

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