Jeannette adds 10th WPIAL title to trophy case

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Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 4:55 PM


The winningest football program in the WPIAL added another prize to its trophy case.

This one might be the most impressive and unexpected.

No. 3 Jeannette stunned No. 1 Clairton and captured its 10th WPIAL football championship Saturday with an impressive 45-14 victory in the Class A title game at North Hills’ Martorelli Stadium.

Although the win surprised many, it didn’t shock Jeannette coach Roy Hall. He was, however, surprised by the margin.

“We were confident we could win the game,” Hall said. “I’d be lying about the final score.”

Jeannette improved to 765-319-40 all-time, the most wins among WPIAL programs.

The Jayhawks (9-1) took control of the game from the start and raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

On the first play of the game, Jeannette linebacker Elijah Binakonsky crushed Clairton’s star running back, Dontae Sanders, who fumbled. Jeannette’s Toby Cline recovered and gave the Jayhawks momentum they never relinquished.

Jeannette’s defense forced six turnovers, blocked a punt and recovered an onside kick.

Sophomore Jaydin Canady returned a fumble 40 yards for a score, returned a blocked punt 25 yards for a TD and intercepted a pass. Senior Roberto Smith Jr. recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, kicked a field goal, scored a touchdown and passed for another.

“We’ve come together as a team,” Smith Jr. said. “We knew after we played them the first time we could win if we control their ground game.”

Clairton defeated Jeannette, 34-28, in the first meeting Sept. 11.

This time, Jeannette shut down Clairton’s high-powered offense.

Jeannette’s most recent WPIAL championship was in 2017, and the Jayhawks went on to win their second PIAA title.

Jeannette’s other WPIAL titles were in 1932, 1939, 1956, 1971, 1981, 1983, 2006 and 2007.

Hall and Jeannette headed home after the game and were greeted by the Jayhawks’ faithful at McKee Stadium. They hope to celebrate again in two weeks after the PIAA championship game.

Watch an archived video stream of this game on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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