Jeannette freshman QB Brad Birch likely out for Friday’s state playoff game

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | 3:03 PM


Jeannette freshman quarterback Brad Birch probably won’t play in Friday’s PIAA Class A semifinal game against Reynolds.

Birch had a cast on his left ankle after suffering an undisclosed injury during Saturday’s WPIAL final against Clairton. Jeannette defeated Clairton, 45-14.

The injury occurred during Jeannette’s first possession of the second half during a 10-yard run. Birch rushed for a team-high 63 yards and completed 5 of 13 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Birch said after the game he thought he’d be ready for the next game, but Jeannette coach Roy Hall said he’s not sure.

Hall and offensive coordinator Ryan Reitz plan to prepare seniors Roberto Smith Jr. and James Sanders, last year’s starting quarterback, if Birch can’t go.

“I’m confident both will do a good job if Brad can’t play,” Hall said after Monday’s practice. “Ryan has all three taking snaps during the week.”

Smith threw a touchdown pass against Clairton and ran for another after Birch left the game.

Birch has completed 108 of 184 passes for 1,676 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. Smith hasn’t been asked to throw much, but he has played the position numerous times during the season. Sanders threw for 1,357 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019.

Friday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Reynolds, which is located in Transfer, north of Sharon and Hermitage.

This is the fourth time Jeannette has reached the PIAA playoffs. They reached the finals in 2006, ’07 and ’17, winning in ’07 and ’17.

The Jayhawks defeated District 10 Class AA champion Wilmington in 2006 and ’07, and Class A champion Farrell in 2017.

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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