Westmoreland County football Q&A with Jeannette’s Brett Birch
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | 4:16 PM
A rigorous offseason of training is what Brett Birch credits for his impact on the Jeannette football team.
Just a sophomore, Birch is a key two-way contributor, making plays on offense and defense for the WPIAL Class A No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (5-0).
A slot receiver and cornerback, he has four touchdowns and three interceptions, including one he returned for a score. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Birch also snaps on extra points.
He didn’t have a lot of down time over the summer.
Birch worked out with 2Tenths Speed & Agility in Pittsburgh — a connection forged through former Jeannette star Demetrious Cox — along with almost daily morning workouts at Seton Hill with other former Jayhawks standouts Robert Kennedy and Gio Vonne Sanders.
He also caught passes from his younger brother, Brad, who will be a freshman quarterback next season.
“They all have really helped me get to where I am,” Birch said. “I work hard. I like to practice. I feel like it helped me get faster and made me a better player.”
Jeannette’s coaches knew they had a player in Birch but they weren’t sure how fast he would acclimate to varsity football.
Birk leads Jeannette with 10 receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
“He is a very intelligent kid,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “He has good hands and has shown he can be one of our leaders. He works hard on and off the field and gets good grades.”
Birch, who carries a 4.0 GPA, also is a wrestler and competes with Hempfield as part of a co-op with Jeannette. And he is an entrepreneur. More on that later.
He is the subject of this week’s Westmoreland football Q&A.
You were slowed by an injury last year?
Yes. I tore may labrum in my hip. I missed the season.
Did you expect to have such an impact as a sophomore?
I am a confident person. I knew I was behind in my training, but once I caught up again I could play.
Did you think you would have a role on offense and defense?
Receiver is new to me because I always played running back.
Can you apply the same fundamentals to receiver as you do at defensive back?
Yes. Playing receiver has helped me be a better defensive back. I didn’t think I would do as well on defense but that picked up.
How has the team liked playing on the new turf at McKee Stadium?
It’s awesome. I always train on turf. It’s easier to cut on and run routes on.
You grew up in Jeannette. What did you know about the football program’s success and its impact on the city?
The football team is always expected to do great things. We just want to keep it going. I can tell you I don’t like losing.
What is the deal with the yellow gloves?
Yellow is my favorite color. It’s just something some of us do. Poogie (Robert Kennedy) started it. Jackson (Pruitt) and Toby (Cline) also wear them.
How did you make that touchdown catch last week? It looked like the Springdale player intercepted the ball.
I just went up and grabbed it. I couldn’t believe I caught it.
You were pretty young when he played but did you watch Terrelle Pryor play?
My brother played with him. I watch (Pryor’s) highlights all the time.
Word is your younger brother is a promising athlete?
He will be a freshman next year. He’s the best football player I’ve seen. I can’t wait until we can play together.
Why has the defense been so good this season?
Our D-line just flies to the ball.
You have your own business?
I own a couple of social media accounts, and I sell shoes and some clothes. My brother helps me ship and run packages.
What kind of shoes?
Yeezy, Gucci and some others. I started doing it when I was 10. I try to work hard in business, too.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
More Football• McKeesport’s Jahmil Perryman scores twice as Pennsylvania wins Big 33 Football Classic
• Norwin notebook: New football coach fills out staff
• Central Catholic linebacker Cole Sullivan commits to Michigan
• Bob Palko among 5 football coaches chosen for PSFCA Hall of Fame
• College coaches sing praises of Penn Hills junior lineman Kelsey Hundley