(Photo: Burrell's Jason Roberts is hoisted onto the shoulders of his teammates after winning at 106 pounds and clinching the WPIAL Class AA title Saturday -- the Buccaneers' seventh in a row. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette.)
Burrell continued its dominance of Class AA wresting Saturday at Chartiers Valley. The Buccaneers broke their record by recording a seventh consecutive WPIAL title with a 35-30 victory against South Fayette.
"Every year we have to bring the same exact mentality that we're going to win," Burrell senior Phillip Marra said. "We can't ever think it's going to be easy. It's never easy and [Saturday] was no different."
Burrell (15-5), the top seed, was making its 11th consecutive appearance in the final. The Buccaneers have won eight titles and placed second three times in this stretch. They also won a title in 1997, which gives the Buccaneers nine titles in the 35-year history of the tournament.
South Fayette (10-1), the No. 2 seed, was making its first appearance in a WPIAL title match. Lions coach Rick Chaussard felt Burrell's previous appearances in the finals gave them a mental edge.
"They've been here for how many years in a row," Chaussard said.
"Their kids are born to be in this position. And we're trying to get there."
It looked as if South Fayette would get off to a good start as Mike Carr jumped out to a 12-4 lead against Burrell freshman Damon Greenwald, but Greenwald put Carr on his back three times and pulled out a 16-15 decision.
"That was the difference in the match," Chaussard said. "Take three points away from them and add it to our score and we come out on top. It was very disappointing to see the match start that way."
John Andrejcik and Steven Edwards followed with two bonus-point victories to give Burrell a 12-0 lead. Andrejcik posted a 14-6 win against Shane Ging at 132, while Edwards scored a 24-9 technical fall against Brandon Keck at 138.
South Fayette finally got on the scoreboard when Grant Fetchet moved down to 145 and pinned Nick Pattock in 43 seconds. But it only slowed Burrell's opening rally, as the Buccaneers won the next two bouts.
Phillip Marra scored a take-down with two seconds left in the 152-pound bout to defeat J.J. Walker, 5-3. Corey Falleroni followed with a 21-6 technical fall against Jack Previte at 160.
"I go into every match thinking it's just another kid," said Marra, referring to the fact that Walker won a WPIAL title a year ago.
"It didn't matter who I was wrestling. I went out there with the mentality of, 'Can you beat me?' "
Michael Fetchet and Brad Haney got South Fayette back in the match with wins at 170 and 182. Fetchet pinned Zach Smith at 1:16, while Haney recorded a 3-2 triple-overtime victory. That cut Burrell's lead to 20-15, but the Buccaneers responded with victories in three of the next four bouts to clinch the victory.
South Fayette forfeited to Burrell's top wrestler, Dakota DesLauriers at 195. The Lions rebounded with a 4-0 victory by Zach Walker over Shane Cornuet at 220 to keep their hopes alive. But Alan Beattie dashed those hopes by pinning Bryce Christoff at 285.
Burrell clinched the title with Jason Roberts' 3-2 victory against Jasper Wolfe at 106. With the title assured, Burrell forfeited the final two weight classes.
Burrell, South Fayette and Chartiers-Houston (11-7) qualify for the PIAA Class AA tournament, which begins Monday. Chartiers-Houston (11-7), the No. 4 seed, earned a berth with a 42-30 win against No. 3 Jefferson-Morgan (11-6) in the consolation final.