Jeannette aims to match Clairton’s swag in rematch

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 8:15 PM


When Clairton defeated Jeannette on Oct. 27, the game turned sour for the Jayhawks when they had a 29-yard field goal attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown late in the first half.

Instead of trailing by as little as a field goal at halftime, Jeannette was looking at a two-touchdown deficit.

And when Clairton running back Tre’sean Howard ripped off two long touchdown runs to open the second half, a close game turned into a 40-6 rout and the Bears’ sixth consecutive victory against Jeannette over the past four years.

Well, No. 2 Clairton (9-2) and No. 3 Jeannette (11-1) will meet again, but unlike the previous two seasons when they played in the WPIAL Class A championship, they will collide in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Elizabeth Forward for the right to play in the championship game Nov. 25 at Robert Morris.

Waiting for them will be the winner of the other semifinal between No. 1 California and No. 4 Imani Christian Academy.

At Monday’s practice, Jeannette coach Roy Hall and his staff were talking to the players about what they had to do to change the outcome this time against Clairton.

Hall is hoping Jeannette’s come-from-behind 30-26 victory against Rochester in the quarterfinals gives the Jayhawks confidence.

“It should prove to them that if you continue to play, no matter the score, you have a chance to win,” Hall said. “It’s nothing physically Clairton has over us; I think it’s all mentally.

“We feel we can play with them, we just need to have a good week of practice and be ready to go to Elizabeth Forward and play Jeannette football.”

Jeannette senior lineman Jalen Jones said the Rochester game tested the team’s character.

“It tested us to see if we were going to quit or not,” Jones said. “I had faith in my team because I wasn’t able to play the fourth quarter. But we did it, so it’s on the next week.”

Both teams are expected to get players back who didn’t play in the first meeting — Jeannette sophomore linebacker Justin Cramer and Clairton running back Aaron Thompson.

Clairton also will get four players back who were suspended during last week’s game against Carmichaels because of an incident in the first round.

Jones said Jeannette has to come out with a “dog” mentality.

“Clairton plays with swag,” Jones said. “We have to play with the same type of swag.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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