Pete Coughlin, Upper St. Clair - The unlikely hero who led the Panthers to an impressive WPIAL Semifinal victory last fall proved against one of the top teams in Quad-A his big playoff effort was merely a prelude of things to come. Coughlin, making the first start of his senior year, completed eight of nine passes for 57 net yards, and led USC to a season-opening 31-12 win over visiting Southeastern Conference rival Woodland Hills last Friday by running 12 times for 88 yards and three touchdowns.
Down 12-10 in the second half, Coughlin gave the Panthers their first lead with this 13-yard scramble:
He scored standing up on a two-point conversion run through right tackle to make it 18-12, then, after the defense forced a three-and-out, Coughlin extended the lead to 24-12 with a two-yard burst:
Upper St. Clair put the game away by capitalizing on a fumble by the Wolverines, as Coughlin scored from just shy of the goal line to help provide the final margin:
Here's what Coughlin had to say after the game:
Josh Schultheis, Mars - We expected it to be the most well-played game in Class AAA opening weekend, but we had no idea this underclassman would seize control of the game. In an important 21-17 upset of Franklin Regional, a 2011 WPIAL Semifinalist and their new Northeastern Conference rival, Schultheis, a sophomore fullback, led Mars' offense by carrying 29 times for 170 yards and two critical scores.
Cole Bush, Burrell - The 2011 all-conference running back might be one of the most under-appreciated players in his classification, and last Friday Bush reminded us all he belongs on our radar. He began his senior season by rumbling for 241 yards on just 19 carries, leading all Class AA rushers in Week 1, and tied a WPIAL high with five touchdowns as the Bucs rolled to a 41-7 win at Brownsville in non-conference play.
P.J. Fulmore, North Catholic - Oh, by the way, as long as we're thinking of sophomore sensations, we might as well mention the top rusher in the district from the first week of the 2012 campaign. Fulmore led the Trojans--and everyone else--with a whopping 265 yards on 32 attempts, scoring four touchdowns in a 40-21 Eastern Conference road victory over Apollo-Ridge. Fulmore's first three TD's came in succession, giving North Catholic a 20-0 halftime lead.
(Audio highlights courtesy of Lanny Frattare and Bob Orkwis, NewsRadio 1020 KDKA/MSA Sports Network.)
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)
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