PIAA Class A football championship preview: Jeannette vs. Steelton-Highspire

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020 | 12:01 AM


No. 2 Jeannette vs. No. 1 Steelton-Highspire

11 a.m. Friday, Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey

On the air: Audio: TribHSSN.triblive.com

PIAA titles: Jeannette 2 (2007 in Class AA, 2017). Steelton-Highspire 2 (2007, 2008)

Jeannette (10-1)

Player to watch

Brett Birch, Junior, 5-10, 170, WR/DB

Birch received an offer from Central Michigan after his sophomore season. He’s coming off a three-catch game for 87 yards against Reynolds. He also intercepted two passes and had two crunching tackles. He serves as the team’s long snapper as well.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Brad Birch, 108-184, 1,676 yards, 28 TDs; Roberto Smith Jr. 12-24, 388, 3 TDs.

Rushing: Roberto Smith Jr., 112-780 yards, 22 TDs

Receiving: Brett Birch, 40-571 yards, 10 TDs; Toby Cline, 33-513, 10 TDs; James Sanders 29-590, 10 TDs; Kaelen Piscar, 20-291, 7 TDs.

How they got here: In the WPIAL playoffs, No. 3 seed Jeannette defeated No. 6 Avella, 62-14, in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Rochester, 40-13, in the semifinals, and No. 1 Clairton, 45-14, in the finals. In the PIAA semifinals, the Jayhawks defeated District 10 champion Reynolds, 48-12.

Probable starting lineup

Coach: Roy Hall

Offense

LT, 65, Xavier Harper, 6-0 217, sr.

LG, 55, Justin Shank, 6-1, 290, jr.

C, 59, Ryan Kimmel, 6-1, 205, so.

RG, 53, Christian Blasco, 5-9, 235, sr.

RT, 64, Emilio Huerta, 5-9, 200, sr.

QB, 5, Roberto Smith Jr., 6-1, 188, sr.

WR, 4, James Sanders, 5-7, 148, sr.

WR, 6, Toby Cline, 5-9, 165, sr.

WR, 7, Brett Birch, 5-10, 170, jr.

HB, 13, Kaelan Piscar, 6-0, 200, sr.

RB, 21, Jaydin Canady, 5-9, 175, so.

Defense

DT, 59, Ryan Kimmel, 6-1, 205, so.

NG, 23, Taishawn Jamison, 5-8, 170, jr.

DT, 64, Emilio Huerta, 5-8, 190, sr.

DT, 55, Justin Shank, 6-1, 290, jr.

LB, 5, Roberto Smith Jr., 6-1, 188, sr.

LB, 13, Kaelan Piscar, 6-0, 200, sr.

LB, 6, Toby Cline, 5-9, 165, sr.

LB, 80, Elijah Binakonsky, 6-0, 185, so.

LB, 21, Jaydin Canady, 5-9, 175, so.

CB, 7, Brett Birch, 5-10, 170, jr.

CB, 4, James Sanders, 5-7, 148, sr.

S, 16, Tyler Horn, 5-11, 155, jr.

Special teams

K, 5, Roberto Smith Jr., 6-1, 188, sr.

P, 6, Toby Cline, 5-9, 165, sr.

LS, 7, Brett Birch, 5-10, 170, jr.

Notable: The Jayhawks are on a 10-game winning streak. … Jeannette hadn’t reached the PIAA finals since winning the title in 2017. … Roy Hall has been the head coach of the Jayhawks since 2009. His record is 115-26. … This is Jeannette’s fourth trip to the PIAA championship game. They won in 2007 and 2017 and fell in 2006. … The Jeannette roster has three sets of brothers — Brett and Brad Birch, James and Noah Sanders, and Xavier and Savion Harper. … Jeannette’s postseason record is 57-33-1 in the WPIAL playoffs and 8-1 in the PIAA playoffs. … The Jayhawks are 766-319-40 overall, ranking No. 1 in wins in the WPIAL. … Jeannette’s offense averages 47.5 points per game and its defense allows 12.3.

Steelton-Highspire (9-0)

Player to watch

Mehki Flowers, Junior, 6-2, 181, WR

Flowers is a 4-star safety. He has 21 scholarship offers including Pitt, Penn State, Arizona State, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. He caught an 87-yard touchdown pass against Bishop Guilfoyle last week. The rangy wide receiver has 56 catches for 940 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had four interceptions.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Alex Erby, 142-236, 2,308 yards, 31 TDs

Rushing: Odell Greene, 203-1,485 yards, 13 TDs

Receiving: Mehki Greene, 56-940, 14 TDs; Damein Hammonds, 41-677, 10TDs; Tyrone Moore, 28-502 yards, 5 TDs.

How they got here: District 3 champion Steel-High defeated Muncy, 50-43, Old Forge, 39-36, and Bishop Guilfoyle, 16-14. They defeated Delone Catholic, 28-13, in the D3 championship game.

Probable starting lineup

Coach: Andrew Erby

Offense

LT, 52, Tydre Holland-Alli, 6-1, 160, sr.

LG, 51, Marlyn Davis, 6-3, 275, jr.

C, 55, Marcus Martinez, 5-10, 215, sr.

RG, 50, Tyhri Duncan, 6-0, 250, sr.

RT, 75, Kiyler Raye, 5-11, 245, sr.

WR, 2, Damein Hammonds, 6-2, 180, sr.

WR, 3, Daivin Pryor, 5-9, 150, jr.

WR, 5, Tyrone Moore, 6-1, 175, jr.

WR, 24, Taeyon Bratton, 5-6, 200, jr.

WR, 9, Mehki Flowers, 6-2, 181, jr.

RB, 4, Odell Greene, 5-11, 195, sr.

QB, 1, Alex Erby, 6-2, 190, fr.

Defense

DE, 75, Kiyler Raye, 5-11, 245, sr.

DT, 52, Tydre Holland-Alli, 6-1, 160, sr.

DT, 53, Andrew Erby Jr., 6-3, 240, fr.

DE, 56, Eugene Green, 6-1, 150, fr.

LB, 7, Tyshaun Holland-Alli, 6-1, 180, so.

LB, 10, Jaieon Perry, 5-9, 150, fr.

LB, 12, Amari Williams, 6-1, 180, jr.

LB, 15, Zaheim Lewis, 6-1, 170, jr.

LG, 51, Marlyn Davis, 6-3, 275, jr.

CB, 3, Daivin Pryor, 5-9, 150, jr.

CB, 5, Tyrone Moore, 6-1, 175, jr.

S, 9, Mehki Flowers, 6-2, 181, jr.

S, 4, Odell Greene, 5-11, 195, sr.

Special teams

K, 16, Bryan Hernandez, 5-11, 160, sr.

P, 10, Jaieon Perry, 5-9, 150, fr.

LS, 5, Tyrone Moore, 6-1, 175, jr.

Notable: Steelton-Highspire won PIAA Class A titles in 2007 and 2008. … Head coach Andrew Erby, a 2000 Steel-High grad, was the linebacker coach on the 2008 team. He’s been the head coach for eight seasons. … Steel-High defeated Serra, 34-15, in 2007 and Clairton, 35-16, in 2008. The Steamrollers are 772-439-55 according to Dr. Roger Saylor’s records, but Steel-High officials dispute that and say its records have 797 wins. .… Steel-High averages 37.7 points and its defense allows 21.

Game scores

Jeannette (9-1)

27 Clairton 34

55 Riverview 6

45 Imani Christian 0

60 Leechburg 14

36 Springdale 28

49 Bishop Canevin 0

55 Greensburg Central Catholic 0

WPIAL playoffs

62 Avella 14

40 Rochester 13

45 Clairton 14

PIAA playoffs

48 Reynolds 12

Steelton-Highspire (9-0)

43 Upper Dauphin 6

43 Middletown 21

77 Trinity 0

36 Camp Hill 26

District 3 Playoffs

65 Big Springs 30

28 Delone Catholic 13

PIAA playoffs

50 Muncy 43

39 Old Forge 36

16 Bishop Guilfoyle 14

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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