The Seton-La Salle express continued its march through the 2010 season Friday, as the Rebels defeated Steel Valley (3-2) 20-13, to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the year. The Rebels used 13 unanswered points to turn back the upset-minded Ironmen at Munhall’s William V. Campbell Field.
Both Steel Valley and Seton-La Salle generate a lot of attention because they have produced quarterback after quarterback with gaudy career passing statistics.
|BRUISING RUNNER—James Caldwell, Steel Valley’s 225-pound bruising fullback, scored both touchdowns for the Ironmen in their loss to Seton-La Salle. (Photo by William McBride)
There are nearly 7 billion people on the planet earth and only 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. What are the chances that two quarterbacks from tiny WPIAL AA schools would lead their teams on Oct. 3, 2010? Impossible, but it happened. Former Seton-La Salle star Bruce “The Polish Cannon” Gradkowski is the QB for the Oakland Raiders and former Steel Valley Ironmen Charlie Batch is the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But it would be a mistake to overlook what the Ironmen and Rebels can do in the rushing department—especially with running backs like Steel Valley’s Delrece Williams and Seton-La Salle’s Kevin Hart. Williams is one of the WPIAL’s leading rushers with more than 1,000 yards and Hart is the scoring leader with 15 touchdowns.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” said assistant coach Bill Stull, former Seton-La Salle and Pitt star. “Steel Valley always has great players. Charlie Batch, Luke Getsy and I played at Pitt with a good one in Tyrone Ezell.”
The Seton-La Salle student section, wearing khaki shorts, white dress shirts and a tie cheered as loudly as the Steel Valley students, many dressed in superhero Ironman costumes.
Steel Valley jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after 225-pound fullback James Caldwell caught a 26-yard pass and powered his way into the end zone. David O’Brien threw a perfect strike to Mike DelSardo for an 18-yard touchdown and evened the score at 7-7. Caldwell scored with less than a minute before halftime to extend the lead to 13-7.
Then, the wheels fell off Steel Valley’s wagon.
The presence of the Rebels’ offensive linemen—Ben Skiff, J. J. Beggan, Will French and Jay Moog—is an unwelcome sight for most defensive players. Seton-La Salle, riding a five-game winning streak, came into the game with a blue collar attitude and wanted to show that they also have a blue chip quality quarterback in David O‘Brien.
O’Brien, who finished the day 12-of-20 for 168 yards and two scores, delivered another knockout punch. Hart scored a 2-yard, game winning touchdown with 4:21 remaining in the fourth quarter. Known for his strong arm, O’Brien’s best weapons Friday night were his brain and quick feet. He committed few mental mistakes and made smart decision after smart decision when his pocket collapsed around him, often scrambling instead of forcing the ball into coverage.
Human-highlight-reel running back Williams rushed for 143 yards to place himself as the WPIAL’s third-leading rusher, but the Rebels kept him out of the end zone.
“Pitt recruit and Woodland Hills running back Lafayette Pitts should be playing here,” said coach Timbers. “Delrece Williams and Lafayette played in the same midget league backfield at Steel Valley. With Delrece, Pitts and Caldwell all on the same team would be perhaps the greatest backfield ever.”
Many of the Steel Valley Ironmen players look like they were carved from stone, but defeating Seton-La Salle is never set in stone.