Jeannette transfers lead Greensburg Central Catholic to win over Jayhawks

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Friday, October 22, 2021 | 11:16 PM


Talk about a U-turn.

Greensburg Central Catholic has four players with Jeannette ties: senior Taishaun Jamison (WR/DB), and juniors Ryan Kimmel (OL/DL), Jaydin Canady (RB/DB) and Amari Mack (WR/DB).

So it must have been an interesting 24 hours for the transfers, who left Jeannette on Friday morning to go to school in Carbon, then boarded a bus to return to Jeannette for a football game at night in their hometown — against their former friends and teammates.

Canady made it less awkward in the unofficial homecoming, rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns and returning a punt for another score, as GCC rolled, 49-3, at drippy McKee Stadium for its first win at Jeannette since 2009.

Sophomore quarterback Tyree Turner also ran for three scores for GCC (6-3, 4-2), which clinched a playoff spot in the WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference.

The Centurions, who built a 42-3 lead by the half on senior night, broke a seven-game losing streak against the Jayhawks that dates to 2013.

GCC outgained Jeannette, 349 to minus-16.

“I was nervous at first,” said Canady, who had just nine carries. “I had to ball out and do what I do best, even though it’s my friends. When we were preparing it was like, man, we’re really playing Jeannette. I had to treat it like another usual game.”

Jeannette (1-8, 1-5), which has dropped five straight after a 28-6 win over Riverview that increased its WPIAL-record total for wins to 767, opened with a 9-yard sack by Savion Harper.

But GCC, despite a number of early penalties, finally broke loose when Canady scored on a 90-yard run late in the first quarter.

“That really sparked it,” Canady said. “After that, we kept going and going and going forward.”

Turner capped the next drive with an 11-yard score, but GCC muffed a punt and Jeannette’s Ziere Petty recovered.

That set up a 23-yard field goal from junior Mitchell “Tre” Steele to make it 14-3.

Canady scored on a 46-yard burst, tight-roping the sideline to push the lead to 18.

“All the guys that left hurt us tonight,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “It’s over, and they took it to us.”

After a blocked punt by GCC freshman Tucker Lloyd, Canady scored on a 27-yard run before the Centurions added another score after recovering a fumble: a 12-yard jaunt by Turner, who rushed for 50 yards.

More from Canady: He weaved his way for a 72-yard return to cap a 28-point second quarter and increase the advantage to 42-3.

“A lot of what Jaydin did today was him,” GCC first-year coach Marko Thomas said. “That was him being an athlete. The punt return was beautiful.”

Turner’s third score made it 49-3, after senior Ryan Reitler’s seventh extra point.

“There were a lot of emotions with a lot of kids here,” Thomas said. “It’s a rivalry game. I think we came out a little too emotional and we started out shaky. I’m still disappointed with how the first quarter went with the penalties and the immature stuff. We still have a lot of growing there to do.”

GCC was penalized 12 times for 95 yards.

Jeannette honored Hall, who has announced this season will be his last after 37 years on the sidelines — 13 as head coach — in what was his final home game.

Hall, who has 116 wins, two WPIAL titles and a PIAA championship, said he was humbled by the outpouring of support and well wishes. He will have a retirement party next month.

“It’s the end of my career,” Hall said, tearing up. “You hate to see it end (in the last home game) like that. We were on the other side of games like that for many years. I knew one day the shoe might be on the other foot.”

Jeannette recovered two more fumbles in the second half.

“Growing up in Penn-Trafford, I know who Roy Hall is and what he means to the Jeannette community,” Thomas said. “It’s a down year, but it’s not like he’s going to give up. That’s how he’s been throughout his career and you have to respect that.”

GCC played without senior fullback/linebacker Danny Dlugos, who has a leg injury. Senior running back/linebacker Zach David also missed the game after having surgery on his elbow.

Senior Kiantae Robinson was ejected early in the second quarter and will likely miss the next two games. That could add to the team’s number of players who will be ineligible for the playoffs due to transfer rules.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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