Springdale makes thievery an art
Springdale’s secondary was so locked onto Monessen’s receivers last week that it accidentally may have cost itself a pair of pick-six touchdowns.
Defensive backs twice bumped into each other going for the same interception. They were like outfielders calling for the same flyball.
“Yeah, we both wanted to bring it down,” said senior safety Bill Arch, who has a team-high seven interceptions. The Dynamos grabbed two interceptions in the 30-6 quarterfinal-round victory, giving them six picks in two playoff games and 20 this season.
The secondary of Springdale (10-1) could be tested again this week against heavily favored Clairton (11-0), which has won 26 straight games and back-to-back WPIAL titles.
Bears’ quarterback Desimon Green has passed for 1,180 yards, with 25 touchdowns and one interception.
Running or passing, the Bears are one of the fastest teams in the state. But Springdale’s speedy defense could at least hang with them in a race.
“Our defensive line can put a ton of pressure on the quarterback,” Arch said. “He has to scramble around and chuck it downfield, which helps a lot. We get pressure from the edges from (players like) Justin Deily, Jake Summerill and John Blazonczyk.”
Springdale uses a “33 Stack” defense, which allows more athletic defensive backs to rove, or lock into one-on-one coverage, while the quick linebackers swarm the run.
Arch and cornerbacks Bruske, Joe Killian and Kyle Hohman have been mostly effective slowing down opposing aerial threats.
Springdale coach Chuck Wagner believes Bruske is an underrated pass-stopper.
“Brandon is very important to us in there,” Wagner said. “He missed some time because he was injured early on. He runs well and is a great athlete. And Billy and Joey are also very good athletes back there.”
Arch has had two three-interception games this year — against Wilkinsburg, and Western Beaver in the first round of the playoffs.
“We play a lot of deep zone, so some of the stats are deceptive,” Killian said. “We have a tough defense to throw against. Our game plan changes a little every week.”
Monessen coach Andy Pacak, whose team lost, 30-6, to the Dynamos in the quarterfinals, was somewhat taken aback by Springdale’s quickness on defense.
“They were extremely good,” he said. “After watching them on film, we didn’t account for their overall speed. They were much faster in person.
“We thought we could get outside on them, but they came right after us.”
Of course, Clairton’s secondary has also been outstanding, led by Trenton Coles and Josh Page. The Bears intercepted six passes in last week’s 47-0 win over Bishop Canevin.
The Dynamos, undeterred by the underdog role — see the result of the 2003 WPIAL title game, when they defeated favored Sto-Rox — are going into Friday’s game free-spirited yet poised.
“We have nothing to lose,” defensive coordinator Don “Pappy” Boulton said.
“We know we have to play the best game we’ve played all year,” he said. “Our defense has to rise to the occasion. We’ll need some breaks along the way.
“We respect (Clairton) greatly. They may have one of the best Class A football teams that has played in the WPIAL in all the years.
“Now is the time to shoot all our marbles.”
Springdale vs. Monessen
Springdale defeats Monessen 30-6 in their WPIAL A quarterfinal playoff contest at Penn-Trafford in Harrison City.
WPIAL Class A semifinals
Springdale (10-1) vs. Clairton (11-0)
» When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
» Where: Yough High School, Herminie
Springdale’s 20 interceptions this season:
Player — No.
Bill Arch — 7
Brandon Bruske — 4
Chris Liberto — 2
Sean Dugan — 1
Donny Haney — 1
John Blazonczyk — 1
Kyle Hohman — 1
Mitchell Paskorz — 1
Joe Killian — 1
Justin Wilson — 1