Trib HSSN football team of the week for Week 10
Monday, November 16, 2020 | 8:03 PM
After being competitive with the defending champion Clairton on the opening night of the season with a freshman quarterback making his debut, Jeannette was confident going into Saturday’s rematch in the WPIAL Class A championship game.
But did they think they would win by 31 points?
“No, I did not think we would mercy (rule) them,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said.
Mercy or not, the Jayhawks claimed their second WPIAL Class A title in four years and the school’s 10th football championship with a convincing 45-14 win over rival Clairton. Jeannette is tied with Thomas Jefferson for fourth most district titles.
The Bears made mistakes early and often, and Hall felt the key to the game was the Jayhawks were able to take advantage of the turnovers and key penalties.
Jeannette came out flying as it scored the game’s first 21 points in the opening quarter.
The first touchdown came on a Jaydin Canady strip of Clairton senior quarterback Jonte Sanders. The Jayhawks sophomore also recovered the fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, a blocked punt was scooped up by Canady and returned 25 yards for a score.
“They were humongous,” Hall said, “because you don’t count or expect a blocked punt or fumble recovery for touchdowns. That was huge.”
All season, another youngster has paved the way for the Jayhawks on offense. Freshman quarterback Brad Birch entered the game with 1,676 yards passing and 28 touchdowns.
Birch made his mark early on with a 19-yard scoring run and a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior Kaelan Piscar. Birch ended up with 63 yards rushing and 49 yards passing.
“No, that was not a surprise for us with Brad running,” Hall said. “That was a part of the gameplan because he is a tremendous athlete and a great runner.”
Birch injured his ankle on a scramble and missed most of the second half. His status for the PIAA semifinals is up in the air.
“We are hoping and praying that it is just a sprain if anything,” Hall said.
Several players stepped up in Birch’s absence as Jeannette kept up the pressure in the second half. Some whose performance stood out in Hall’s eyes include, Canady, Piscar, junior Taishaum Jamison and sophomore Elijah Binakonsky.
With or without Birch, Jeannette (9-1) continues to prepare for the PIAA Class A semifinals Friday.
Jeannette will travel to Reynolds to take on the District 10 champs.
The Raiders improved to 9-0 with a 19-14 victory over District 9 champion Redbank Valley in the state quarterfinals.
“They are undefeated and in the second round of the state playoffs,” Hall said. “They seem to be very well-coached, and we have to try our best to make sure our kids don’t have a letdown, especially after the way we played the No. 1 team in the WPIAL and the state.”
2020 HSSN Team of the Week
Week 9 – Central Catholic Vikings
Week 8 – Penn-Trafford Warriors
Week 7 – McKeesport Tigers
Week 6 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors
Week 5 – Aliquippa Quips
Week 4 – Serra Catholic Eagles
Week 3 – Avella Eagles
Week 2 – Peters Township Indians
Week 1 – Chartiers Valley Colts
More Football• Trib HSSN Player of the Week: Eli Jochem, Pine-Richland
• High school sports scores, summaries for Nov. 28, 2020
• Thomas Jefferson’s McClain Flinn shows flair for dramatic
• Pine-Richland routs Cathedral Prep to claim PIAA Class 5A title
• Central Valley caps undefeated season with PIAA Class 3A championship