Jeannette clinches playoff spot with victory over Springdale

Friday, October 21, 2022 | 10:44 PM

Jeannette is headed back to the WPIAL Class A playoffs after a year absence.

The Jayhawks, the winningest program in the WPIAL with 770 victories, got two touchdowns apiece from senior running back Noah Sanders and junior quarterback Payton Molter and cruised to a 35-7 victory against winless Springdale to celebrate Senior Night on Friday at McKee Stadium.

Now, the Jayhawks (3-5, 3-2 Eastern Conference) head to Clairton to conclude the season Oct. 28 in a game that could decide third place.

“Three wins in the conference, these kids deserve to make the playoffs,” first-year Jeannette coach Tom Paulone Jr. said. “Now we go to Clairton with a chance to play for third place. The players are excited.”

Jeannette used a defensive stand on Springdale’s first possession to grab the momentum when sophomore defensive end Lonnie Greene stuffed Dynamos junior quarterback Chase Weihrauch on fourth-and-1 at Jeannette’s 30.

Senior tackle Mitchell Steele was 5-for-5 on extra points.

The Jayhawks then proceeded to march 70 yards in nine plays for the first score. Sanders’ 22-yard run and Molter’s 10-yard run set up Sanders’ 2-yard touchdown run.

Jeannette then erupted for 21 points in the second quarter to grab a 28-0 lead at halftime.

Molter scored on two 12-yard runs, and he finished off the big quarter by tossing a 31-yard scoring strike to senior Andrew Ross, who made a nifty run to get into the end zone.

Molter received a game ball for his effort.

“New system, new coaches and new expectations,” Paulone said. “We have some illness and guys hurt. It’s been a revolving door.”

Jeannette had to overcome multiple penalties and turnovers during the first half and still managed a four-touchdown lead.

“We had to refocus,” Paulone said. “We tell them all of the time to quit hurting yourselves. We weren’t pleased with the two turnovers in the first half.”

But Jeannette’s defense was strong the entire night. It stopped the Dynamos’ first drive of the second half when Greene sacked Weihrauch on fourth down.

Jeannette marched 87 yards to take a 35-0 lead early in the fourth quarter on Sanders’ 3-yard run.

Springdale (0-9, 0-5) was limited to 41 yards rushing, and Weihrauch completed 7 of 13 passes for 104 yards, which was aided by a 59-yard swing pass to Colton Gant to set up Springdale’s lone score.

Weihrauch hit Garrett Myers for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2:04 left to avoid the shutout.

“We’re getting better,” Springdale coach Ryan Tempalski said. “We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on them. We returned only one player that had varsity experience, and mistakes are killing us.

“Every game is a learning experience for the team. We did a better job (tonight), but we still need to make those fourth-and-1 plays. That hurt us.”

Sanders rushed for 87 yards and Molter 80 for the Jayhawks, who totaled 203 yards on the ground.

Molter also completed 6 of 9 passes for 97 yards. Ross had two catches for 63 yards and Sanders three catches for 31.

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

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