Jeannette makes short work of inexperienced Springdale

Friday, September 21, 2018 | 10:15 PM

Jeannette handled business in a manner befitting the defending state champion. Springdale got an up-close look at the type of program it wants to be again.

The Class A Eastern Conference showdown between undefeated No. 1 Jeannette (5-0, 3-0) and winless Springdale (0-4, 0-2) was predictable with teams heading in opposite directions early in the season. The Jayhawks shut out the Dynamos, 58-0.

Jayhawks quarterback Seth Howard and punt returner Isaiah Winters had arguably the two most memorable plays of the game.

Howard broke several tackles on a quarterback keeper and scored a 75-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to give the Jayhawks a 22-0 lead. The score followed red-zone rushing touchdowns by Imani Sanders and Melik Gordan.

Winters followed four plays later by scoring on a 62-yard punt return despite having little real estate to work with near midfield.

Constant big plays by Jeannette’s offensive weapons enabled the Jayhawks to spread the ball generously. No Jeannette player outside of its quarterbacks touched the ball more than six times, and no one had more than 100 yards passing, rushing or receiving.

Springdale coach Seth Napierkowski pointed to disparity in experience between the two teams as one reason for the lopsided loss. Jeannette has 12 seniors to Springdale’s four, one of whom is out for the season.

“We hung with them for the first 10 minutes of that first quarter, and I think what followed shows where we’re at experience-wise,” Napierkowski said. “We’re young, and we have to understand if something doesn’t go our way, we can’t back off.”

Springdale forced Jeannette to turn the ball over on downs in the red zone on its first drive, but the Dynamos’ fortune wouldn’t last with the Jayhawks scoring five touchdowns in the next 10 minutes. The Dynamos also forced a punt late in the second half.

“A lot of these varsity reps for our guys are actually their JV reps, so we’re continuing to learn and get better even if the score doesn’t indicate that,” Napierkowski said. “The kids have a positive attitude, and the results will show.”

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.

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