The South Fayette and Chartiers Valley football teams will have to wait until next year as each team failed to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
The Lions saw their slim hopes fade when they dropped a 35-7 decision to Peters Township in their Allegheny Six Conference finale.
The loss was SF’s fifth in a row. The Lions finished the regular season with a 4-6 record.
SF’s playoff absence is its first since 2008. During that run, the Lions averaged over 10 wins per season, captured four district titles and two state championships.
“I’m proud of this group,” said SF head coach Joe Rossi. “We had to replace 11 guys that were senior starters (last season).
“It was tough on these guys,” he added. “There were a lot of guys back in the conference so I’m proud of what these players accomplished.”
Rossi said the Lions will get back in the weight room and work hard to get better, faster and stronger.
“There’s no secret sauce,” he said.
The Lions will graduate 13 seniors from its 68-player roster, including Landon Lutz, Logan Yater and Connor Harcarik. They ranked among the passing and receiving leaders in the WPIAL.
In his first season as a starting quarterback, Lutz finished fifth in the WPIAL in passing. He completed 147 of 249 passes for 1,714 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the loss to PT, he passed for 212 yards and a 27-yard scoring strike to Ryan Kovatch.
A senior, Kovatch finished with 22 receptions for 377 yards.
Yater, however, led the WPIAL with 57 catches. His 485 yards figured as an 8.5-yard average.
Harcarik followed with 31 grabs for 362 yards and a 9.5 average.
The Lions will also lose Justin Caputo, an all-state kicker, as well as Keon Johnson, an all-conference lineman that led the team in tackles and sacks. Alex Hall was also a force on both sides of the line and ranked third on the team in sacks.
While Sam Rosato was a two-way performer at wide receiver and linebacker, ranking among the team’s leaders, Kevin Coyne, Ethan Knox, Jonathan Lesko, Paul Pzoury and JJ Rice capped their senior years contributing to SF’s 2021 campaign.
Meanwhile Chartiers Valley limped to 4-6 regular season finish and a 1-4 showing in the Parkway Conference after a 34-27 loss to Montour.
In the loss, the Colts lost their second-string quarterback when Gavin Owens was injured in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Nicholas Trout. A junior, Owens suffered an injury similar to Anthony Mackey’s. A senior, Mackey was hurt in a 35-28 loss to Beaver Oct. 15.
In eight games, Mackey completed 81 of 128 passes for 1,019 yards and 12 scores. He also rushed for 564 yards and seven more touchdowns.
In Mackey’s absence, Owens completed 32 of 69 passes for 467 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 216 yards and another four scores.
In the loss to Montour, Owens was 12 of 22 for 211 yards with two scoring strikes to Abraham Ibrahim of 12 and 23 yards as well as a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Efthimiades.
A senior, Ibrahim had eight catches for 164 yards in the loss to Montour. He finished second in the WPIAL with 49 receptions. He finished with an 18.2-yard average and 892 total yards for nine scores.
While juniors Owens and Lamont Payne, a Penn State recruit who caught 33 passes for 431 yards, should be the nucleus of 2022 squad, CV will graduate 11 key seniors, including Mackey and Ibrahim.
Patrick Mulligan, who scored a touchdown against Montour, Chris Beatty, TJ Campbell, Mason Copeland, Dylan Flanagan, Matt Leverich, Max Lewis, Ben Oehm and Austin Stein are the other senior members that contributed to the program.
“I am beyond grateful for the bonds that have been made together,” said CV head coach Dan Knauss of his senior class. “These relationships are forever.”