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HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the quarterbacks

August 24, 2018
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Penn Hills senior quarterback Hollis Mathis competes during practice Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.
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Penn Hills senior quarterback Hollis Mathis competes during practice Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.

Here’s some good news for WPIAL defensive coordinators: After spectacular senior seasons, former Pine-Richland star Phil Jurkovec and ex-Gateway standout Brady Walker are freshmen quarterbacks in college.

Combined, the two threw for more than 8,600 yards a year ago in a season that saw records soar through the air.

Walker set a WPIAL single-season record with 4,657 yards as Gateway finished as the state Class 5A runner-up. Jurkovec had 3,969 yards as Pine-Richland won the state Class 6A title. Jurkovec finished his career ranked fourth on the WPIAL’s all-time passer list with 8,202 yards, and Walker climbed clear to second overall with 8,816. South Fayette’s Drew Saxton graduated in sixth place (7,452).

Here’s the bad news for defenses: They’re gone, but there’s a solid list of guys eager to follow their lead.

The WPIAL returns four passers who threw for more than 2,000 yards last season: OLSH’s Tyler Bradley (2,246), Penn Hills’ Hollis Mathis (2,435), Charleroi’s Geno Pellegrini (2,333) and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s Zack Rocco (2,186). A fifth, Highlands’ Seth Cohen, fell just one yard short (1,999).

1. Hollis Mathis

Penn Hills

Senior, 6-1, 180

The Howard recruit led Penn Hills to a WPIAL Class 6A playoff win last season with 2,435 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. His yardage ranked sixth best in the WPIAL and second among returning passers. He completed 58 percent of his throws (149 of 255).

Mathis highlights

2. Jack Salopek

Norwin

Junior, 6-2, 185

Pitt has offered a scholarship to Salopek. He threw for 1,820 yards as a sophomore, best among returning WPIAL Class 6A passers. He had three 200-yard games with a season-high 254. He completed 140 of his 258 attempts (54 percent) and threw eight TDs.

Salopek highlights

3. Shane Stump

Thomas Jefferson Junior, 6-2, 190

As a sophomore, Stump guided Thomas Jefferson to a WPIAL Class 4A title. He passed for 1,621 yards, 24 touchdowns and had four games with three TDs. But the Jaguars outscored WPIAL opponents 489-48, so they didn’t need him to throw often, only 179 attempts.

Stump highlights

4. Tyler Bradley

OLSH

Senior, 6-3, 195

Bradley ranked third among WPIAL passers last season with 2,757 yards. Only Walker and Jurkovec, who both have graduated, had more. He threw 31 TDs and completed 69 percent of throws (187 of 271) for the Class A quarterfinalists.

Bradley highlights

5. Skyy Moore

Shady Side Academy

Senior, 5-10, 185

Moore had more than 1,000 yards both passing and rushing last season, joining Jurkovec as standout dual-threat quarterbacks last season. Moore rushed for 1,321 yards, passed for 1,184 and contributed 35 TDs combined. He lists 14 college offers, including an FBS offer from Buffalo.

Moore highlights

One to watch: Eric Wilson

Sto-Rox

Junior, 6-3, 180

Sto-Rox will throw often under first-year coach LaRoi Johnson, a former Vikings standout, so Wilson should eclipse the 970 passing yards he had as a sophomore. Imani Christian passed for 2,600 yards last season when Johnson was offensive coordinator. Wilson lists an FCS offer from Howard.

Wilson highlights

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