For five WPIAL teams, a trip to Hershey and the state finals was on the line last weekend. On Friday, although Washington fell, Jeannette, Quaker Valley and Gateway all advanced to the PIAA Championship, while Pine-Richland followed suit on Saturday. This penultimate edition of the Plays of the Week details the crucial moments that propelled those teams to semifinals victories.
1. Gateway 31, Manheim Central 28
The Gators had not kicked a field goal all season, but that changed at the most critical time this past week. Gateway and Manheim Central were deadlocked late in the fourth quarter, but the Gators drove deep into their opponent’s territory. With just seconds remaining, the Gators called upon diminutive freshman kicker Jayson Jenkins. Jenkins connected on his 23-yard kick, providing the winning points.
The Trib Live High School Sports Network’s Matt Vandriak and Sean Saputo provide the audio for the field goal that sent the Gators to their first PIAA title game:
2. Jeannette 17, Farrell 6
The Jayhawks scored a thrilling victory that came down to the wire in the WPIAL title game, but Jeannette made sure its Class 1A semifinals bout was less dramatic. Although the game was scoreless for most of the first half, the Jayhawks forced a turnover near midfield in the final minute before intermission. On the ensuing play, QB Seth Howard hooked up with Robert Kennedy on a 51-yard touchdown pass to put Jeannette in the lead, and the Jayhawks never looked back.
WHJB-FM 107.1’s Mike Zappone and Jimmy Lee Santorella have the call of the long touchdown that helped propel Jeannette to Hershey:
3. Pine-Richland 28, Manheim Township 7
Although the Rams had dominated most games from start to finish this season, the Rams found themselves in a battle with the Blue Streaks in the second half. After Manheim Township scored midway through the third quarter to pull within six points, the Rams engineered an impressive drive. That sequence culminated with a 25-yard scamper by Jordan Crawford to restore control to Pine-Richland. From there, the Rams dominated the duration of the action to set up a massive PIAA showdown.
The TribLive High School Sports Network’s Josh Rowntree and Sean Meyers detail the crucial touchdown run:
4. Quaker Valley 43, Sharon 23
After an idle week, the Quakers looked better than ever in their return to action. The QV offense proved explosive, and that trait was evident on a fourth-down play in the third quarter. At the Sharon 30-yard line, the Quakers kept the offense on the field, and Ricky Guss completed a pass to Jordan Taylor, who darted to pay dirt. The score and subsequent two-point conversion put QV ahead 29-10, as the Quakers cruised to the 3A championship bout.
WBVP-AM 1230 and WMBA-AM 1460’s Bob Barrickman and Tom Hays have the call of the fourth-down connection: