Jeannette starts fast, wins 4th straight with victory over Riverview

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Friday, September 29, 2023 | 10:38 PM


Once the odds-on favorite most weeks, Jeannette is more dark horse these days as the football team continues to heal from a couple of thin years.

But that is fine with the Jayhawks, who are regaining their footing week by week, game by game and win by win.

Don’t look now, but they just might be a contender again in the Class A Eastern Conference.

Playing with swagger, perked-up Jeannette registered its fourth straight victory and stayed within shouting distance of first-place Clairton with a 42-22 victory over Riverview on Friday night at McKee Stadium.

Big plays led to an electric start for Jeannette, which is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference.

“A newspaper had picked against us and said we were going to lose 28-27, so nobody is giving us any respect,” said sophomore receiver Kymone Brown. “We have five wins now. We’re turnt up.”

Clairton (4-2, 3-0) defeated Greensburg Central Catholic (3-3, 1-1) on Friday, 40-28. That means Jeannette is alone in second place.

Riverview, which played without four two-way starters, slid to 3-3, 1-2.

Senior quarterback Payton Molter completed 8 of 12 passes for 158 yards and, for the second straight week, threw three touchdown passes to Brown, who caught three for 88 yards.

Molter also ran for a score.

“Me and him have a connection,” Molter said of Brown. “There was a huge momentum swing for us early to jump on them they way we did.”

Molter also rushed for 50 yards.

The fast start propelled Jeannette, which built a 21-0 lead after the first quarter, as senior tailback Noah Sanders scored on the team’s first two plays from scrimmage with runs of 51 and 41 yards.

Less than two minutes in, it was 14-0.

Sanders, playing with a cast on his right arm, sat out the second half after getting hit in the ribs. He finished with 151 yards on six carries.

“I knew the line was going to open up holes for me,” Sanders said. “I scored on the first two plays against them last year, too.”

Brown caught scoring throws of 36 and 28 yards, and Molter ran for 5-yard touchdown on a five-wide set on third-and-goal to stake the Jayhawks to a 28-0 halftime lead.

“The start was huge,” Jayhawks coach Tom Paulone said. “If they get their running game going, it’s a different game. Our kids played well. I am learning something new about this team every week.”

Riverview was a sharper, more effective team after the break as it got senior running back Carlo Buzzatto going.

Buzzatto scored two second-half touchdowns on runs of 19 and 21 yards, but the scores came after Jeannette had inflicted the mercy rule at 35-0.

He finished with 120 yards on 14 carries.

But several times, Riverview did something positive after Jeannette had added to its lead.

“We caught fire at the wrong time,” Raiders coach Trevor George said. “We have to get to the point where we’re the team with the better start and doing the things you need to do to be a good football team.”

Senior quarterback Rocco Cecere threw for 101 yards, including a 77-yard strike to junior tight end Alex Schultheis with 1 minutes, 50 seconds to play.

The Raiders converted a pair of 2-point conversion runs.

That followed Brown’s 24-yard TD grab that gave the Jayhawks a 41-14 advantage with five minutes left.

Junior Johnny Bertucci and sophomore Max Kratt had interceptions for the Raiders, who have lost three of their last four and have given up 109 points in three conference games.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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