Scholastic Notebook – 09/14/2012

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Friday, September 14, 2012 | 1:13 PM


When Demetrious Cox graduated from Jeannette in June and headed to Michigan State, the Jayhawks’ football team lost a big-time player. But Jeannette hasn’t lost the ability to make big plays.

Take a look at the first two weeks of the season and what Jeannette has done in the big-play department is on the surreal side. Granted, the competition has been weak (Charleroi and Southmoreland), but Jeannette’s big-play ability has been magnificent. The Jayhawks are acting like a bunch of “big” shots.

In two games, Jeannette (2-0) has scored 14 touchdowns (three passing, 10 running and one on a punt return), and the average length of those touchdowns is 36.7 yards. The Jayhawks have six scoring plays of 40 yards or more.

Jeannette’s running backs have 50 carries and are averaging a whopping 12.8 yards per carry. Quarterback Seth Miller is 9 of 14 for 303 yards, which is an average of 33.4 yards per completion.

Counting passing plays (including incompletions) and running plays, Jeannette is averaging 14.8 yards per play.

Shavonta Craft is the team’s leading rusher with 208 yards on 10 attempts, which is good for an average of 20.8 yards per attempt. Damone Morton is averaging a mere 56 yards per reception. He has three catches for 168 yards.

The competition will undoubtedly get tougher in coming weeks and the Jayhawks might not have such gaudy statistics, but don’t be surprised if they still have their share of big plays.

More Big Averages

Two other running backs with some super size running statistics in the first two weeks of the season are Shai McKenzie of Washington and Ernie Burkes of Neshannock. McKenzie has 337 yards and is averaging 16 yards a carry. Burkes has 262 yards and is averaging 16.4 yards a carry.

Geibel Coach Resigns

The Geibel football team was hit with two losses before they played a game this season. Geibel had to forfeit its first two games because it didn’t have enough players.

Now, a few days before their first game, Geibel has lost its coach.

Sean Benjamin resigned this week. Bob Petrella, the former assistant head coach and offensive line coach, will take over for the rest of the season.

Geibel had only 15 players out for the team at the start of preseason practice. Due to injuries, the team didn’t have enough players to play its first two games. So the Gators forfeited. Athletic director Shawn Holup said some of the injured players have returned and the team will have 14 players available for Saturday’s game against Vincentian Academy on MSA Sports. The Royals just started a football program this year.

“If we stay healthy, we have the intention of trying to finish the season,” Holup said. “We hope to actually get another kid back next week.”

Holup said Benjamin resigned for personal reasons.

More Coaching News

Joe Lewandowski resigned as basketball coach at Deer Lakes, also for personal reasons. Lewandowski was Deer Lakes’ coach for one season. He previously coached Butler for seven years.

Good and Bad Starts

Two Class AAAA teams that met in the first week of the football season are off to historical starts – good and bad.

Hempfield is now 2-0 for only the second time in the past 20 years. The other times were 2004 and 1995. The Spartans play at Connellsville Friday night, and a win would give Hempfield its first 3-0 start since 1988.

Meanwhile, McKeesport is 0-2. The Tigers haven’t lost their first two games since 2004. Could they go 0-3 for the first time since 1981?
Anything is possible, but highly, highly doubtful. McKeesport plays Norwin tonight. Norwin is riding a 12-game losing streak.

Yannessa’s “All the Right Moves”

“All the Right Moves” is a football movie from the early 1980s that was filmed in Johnstown and starred Tom Cruise and Craig T. Nelson. The movie was about a star player (Cruise) who wanted to use high school football to get out of a steel town.

The two fictitious teams in the movie were Ampipe and Walnut Heights. Tonight, when Johnstown plays Westmont Hilltop, the two teams will wear “throwback” jerseys of Ampipe and Walnut Heights.

Johnstown and Westmont Hilltop are not in the WPIAL, but there is a WPIAL connection to this whole thing. Longtime WPIAL coach Don Yannessa (Aliquippa, Baldwin, Ambridge) was the technical director for the football scenes in “All the Right Moves.” Yannessa also played the role of Walnut Heights’ coach and had a couple lines in the movie.

Friday night, Yannessa, who is now retired, will be used for the ceremonial coin toss. In the movie, Walnut Heights beat Ampipe.
“I won the game the last time I was there,” Yannessa is quoted in Friday’s Johnston Tribune-Democrat. “I’d like to go 2-0 in Johnstown.”

A Dedication Ceremony

Before Friday night’s game against Valley, Shady Side Academy will have dedication ceremonies for its renovated football stadium.
Michael J. Farrell Stadium is named after a current Shady Side Academy football parent and former trustee of the school. A donation from Farrell helped the stadium’s renovation the past few years. Farrell’s gift funded construction of a new home grandstand and a three-level brick press box.

The stadium is the final piece of the Grandizio Athletic Complex on the Shady Side Academy campus in Fox Chapel. Over the past few years, stadium renovations included an artificial turf surface, a resurfaced track, lights, ticket booths and concession stands. The Grandizio complex is named in honor of Bob Grandizio Sr., a longtime teacher, coach, athletic director and alumni director at the school.

Farrell has three sons who have played or are playing at Shady Side Academy. Mike Farrell is a current offensive lineman at Penn State. Jake is a current Shady Side Academy player. Chris Farrell also played for the Indians.

Where Are They Now?

Speaking of Shady Side Academy, Reggie Mitchell, star of last year’s Shady Side football team, is listed as a No. 2 cornerback at the University of Wisconsin. Not bad for a true freshman. Former West Allegheny standout Mike Caputo, a redshirt freshman, is the backup strong safety at Wisconsin.

While Pat Kugler is a star lineman here at North Allegheny High School, his brother, Rob, is the backup center at Purdue. Rob is a redshirt freshman.

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