Fugh helps fuel Shaler’s aerial attack
Whether Brennan Fugh was emerging from the Atlantic Ocean or hanging out in the backyard, he was prepared to catch footballs.
Entering his senior football season at Shaler, Fugh didn’t want to miss any opportunities for practice.
While on vacation in Virginia Beach last summer, his cousin, Alex Kline, zipped hundreds of passes in his direction.
Kline played for North Catholic before finishing with more than 1,000 career yards as a receiver for John Carroll.
“My cousin had me up at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. running down the street catching balls,” Fugh said. “It’s my senior year, so I had to go all out. He wanted me to get better so I could have a good season.”
All of the work players have put in has helped achieve the offensive balance Shaler coach James Ryan was seeking. Fugh has been a major contributor to the Titans’ renaissance through the air, ranking in the top 10 regardless of classification in the WPIAL by pulling in 35 catches for 592 yards.
Titans wide receiver Justin DeSabato and quarterback Darin Mizgorski have teamed with Fugh to give Shaler punch.
“Everyone is dedicated,” Fugh said. “Being in 5A, it’s more competitive for us. Getting a couple people out helped us a little bit. We’re working hard.”
Entering a key Northern Conference matchup last Friday against Armstrong, the results of which were too late for this edition, Shaler (2-4, 1-2) has become an offense to be feared. The Titans were tied with the River Hawks for fifth place in the conference, which would be good enough for a playoff berth.
“Overall, we are a 50-50 team,” said Ryan of the team’s run-pass balance. “We rely on the passing game to get us those long yardage gains you need when you are behind the sticks. Darin is making better reads and getting the ball out quicker.”
Fugh started for the first time last season and earned his first major highlight on defense.
Against Pine-Richland, Fugh grabbed an interception off now-Notre Dame quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
“We started to see him grow in ball position, whether it be as a receiver or secondary player,” Ryan said. “He established that leadership role this summer and established himself as one of our top receivers.”
Fugh would like to see those efforts paid off with a trip to the postseason.
“We’re setting the tone for these kids next year,” Fugh said. “They will work harder to come out and get a couple more wins than us.”