HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the quarterbacks
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
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).
2. Jack Salopek
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.
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.
4. Tyler Bradley
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.
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.
One to watch: Eric Wilson
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.