HSFootball - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Oct 8, 2017 - Jurkovec, a senior and a prized Notre Dame recruit, is one of the leading passers in the WPIAL this season, throwing for 1,875 yards and 16 touchdowns, despite playing only a half or a little more than a half in some games because of blowouts. But get this: Jurkovec's completion percentage is 77 percent ...
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Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec is having a season for the ages October 8, 2017 5:57 PM

By Mike White/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The plaudits and accolades have come Phil Jurkovec’s way ever since he played his first game as Pine-Richland’s quarterback in 2015. But it’s hard not to throw more his way now. Jurkovec is having one of the best seasons of any quarterback in WPIAL history — and that’s not an overstatement. Yes, Pine-Richland has a number of talented players and they’ve helped the Rams to a 7-0 record. Maybe some Pine-Richland players might tire of the publicity Jurkovec gets, although he seems to be well-liked among his peers. But it’s impossible to ignore the way Jurkovec has played this season. His statistics border on surreal: Jurkovec, a senior and a prized Notre Dame recruit, is one of the leading passers in the WPIAL this season, throwing for 1,875 yards and 16 touchdowns, despite playing only a half or a little more than a half in some games because of blowouts. But get this: Jurkovec’s completion percentage is 77 percent (114 of 149). In the past three games, he is 44 of 52 for 758 yards. Jurkovec will surely throw for 2,000 yards and has a good chance to finish among the top five passers — yardage-wise — for a regular season in WPIAL history. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was the first outlet to keep WPIAL statistical leaders in 1979. Since then, only 32 quarterbacks have thrown for 2,000 yards in the regular season. Of those 32, the only one who completed better than 70 percent of his passes in the regular season is, coincidentally, Pine-Richland’s Ben DiNucci (72 percent in 2014). Jurkovec is doing better than that. This past Friday, Jurkovec became only the second quarterback in WPIAL history to throw for 6,000 yards and run for 2,000 in a career. Lenny Williams, a 2014 Sto-Rox graduate, is the other. As for this season, Jurkovec still has three games remaining. Will he continue to play at the

highest level? Although he has already made an everlasting mark on WPIAL football, Jurkovec can still add more to his legacy. But to put in perspective the way he has performed so far, consider the NFL passer rating system. Heading into Sunday, Tom Brady had the best passer rating in the NFL at 112. The best rating for a season in NFL history is 122.5, by Aaron Rodgers in 2011. Peyton Manning had a 121.1 rating in 2004. Jurkovec’s rating under the NFL system so far this year would be 147.3. Enough said. Three for 6,000? Heading into Friday night, only nine quarterbacks in WPIAL history had thrown for 6,000 career yards. That club almost grew by three in one night. Both Jurkovec and South Fayette’s Drew Saxton surpassed 6,000 yards and Gateway’s Brady Walker came close, finishing the night with 5,993. Speaking of 6,000 yards, Mapletown’s Dylan Rush now needs only 238 yards rushing to become only the eighth player in WPIAL history to reach 6,000. Rush probably has only three more games to reach the mark. At 2-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play, a playoff spot is highly unlikely for Mapletown. It’s been 68 years California is off to a 7-0 start. Things haven’t been this good for the Trojans since Harry Truman was in the White House. The Trojans have won their first seven games for the first time since 1949. Could this be an omen of things to come? The 1949 team is the only one in 103 previous seasons of California football to finish a regular season undefeated and untied. The 1949 team also won the only WPIAL football title in school history. Since 1949, two California teams started the season 6-0. The 1960 team won its first six before losing to Bellmar, 21-13. The 1957 team started 6-0 before tying Waynesburg, 7-7. Ryhan Express

When it comes to picking a WPIAL Class 1A Player of the Year, Fort Cherry’s Ryhan Culberson might deserve some serious consideration. Culberson is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior quarterback who has done a little of everything for Fort Cherry and helped the Rangers to a 5-1 record. Over the past three games, Fort Cherry has scored 16 touchdowns