Jeannette braces for tough stretch that begins with Springdale
Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 5:47 PM
If Jeannette wants to reach the WPIAL football playoffs for the 42nd time overall and seventh consecutive season, a loss in its final three games is out of the question.
No. 3 Jeannette (3-1, 3-1) faces a tough stretch of games beginning Friday at unbeaten Springdale (4-0, 4-0). That is followed by a home game against Bishop Canevin (3-1, 2-1) and a road game against rival Greensburg Central Catholic (1-3, 1-3).
The unranked Dynamos often are overlooked because of the perceived weakness of the Class A Eastern Conference — other than No. 1 Clairton and Jeannette.
Springdale has a chance to make a name of itself if it can defeat Jeannette, something it hasn’t done in 13 tries.
“We told the team that playoffs start at Springdale,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “They’re a good football team, and we’ve had trouble there. If you allow them to stick around and get confidence, you could be in for the long night.”
Jeannette will be meeting a legend in Springdale junior quarterback Legend Ausk, who returned to lead the Dynamos to a 45-22 victory at Greensburg Central Catholic. He threw for 203 yards to back a solid supporting unit.
Springdale has scored more than 40 points in every game and is averaging 42.8 and allowing 17.
Jeannette is even better, averaging 47 points and allowing 13.5. Since losing to Clairton, 34-28, in Week 1, the Jayhawks have outscored their past three opponents 160-20.
Freshman quarterback Brad Birch tossed six touchdown passes, completing 13 of 22 passes for 246 yards, in the Jayhawks’ 60-14 win at Leechburg. Toby Cline had three catches — all touchdowns — for 76 yards, and Brett Birch had four catches for 64 yards and two scores (25 and 35 yards).
Brad Birch has completed 51 of 83 passes for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Kaelen Piscar also caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and returned a Leechburg fumble 14 yards for a score.
And while the Jayhawks are scoring at will, Hall said there are things they must improve. The were penalized 12 times for 105 yards against Leechburg, and they had trouble converting extra points.
“The definitely have to clean up the penalties,” Hall said. “You can’t do that against good teams. The offensive line is doing a great job pass blocking, but we need to be a little sharper with our run blocking.”
One area he likes is the passing game.
“That’s been spot on,” Hall said. “Brad (Birch) is doing a great job moving the ball around to different receivers and does a great job getting receivers opened with his throws. He throws to a spot. He’s getting better every week.”
As for Cline, Hall said he is playing “lights out.”
“Toby is really playing well,” Hall said. “He’s a smart player, and he’s finding himself.”
Along with Ausk, Hall said Springdale is a veteran team that is playing with a lot of confidence.
“I really expect us to be in for a battle,” Hall said. “We better be ready.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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