Westmoreland high school football notes: Jeannette’s Sanders keeps rolling despite cast

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Saturday, September 30, 2023 | 5:30 PM


Noah Sanders’ stat line Friday night looked like this: Six carries, 151 yards, two touchdowns, one arm.

The Jeannette senior running back has been playing with his right forearm in a thick, black cast. He broke his thumb in the Charleroi game in Week 4.

“My thumb got pushed back when I scored my second touchdown that game,” Sanders said. “I have still been able to play with it, and I have gotten used to it. But I want to get it off soon. It sucks to have it on.”

Sanders, who was given a hardship waiver by the WPIAL for an extra year of eligibility this year, scored on Jeannette’s first two plays from scrimmage Friday in a 42-22 win over Riverview. He scored on runs of 51 and 41 yards just 15 seconds apart as resurgent Jeannette (5-1) won its fourth straight game.

He sat out the second half because of rib discomfort.

“He’s out here with one arm still making plays,” Jeannette senior quarterback Payton Molter said. “He’s a great player.”

The cast allows his fingers to breathe, but he can’t get his whole hand on the football.

“It’s a club,” Sanders said. “I tape it up for games and cover up my fingers. It’s tough because I am off balance when I run. You’re supposed to hold the ball on your left side when you’re running right. I have to cradle it on my left.”

The 5-foot-8, 150-pound Sanders, who has rushed for more than 600 yards and scored nine touchdowns, said he believed the Jayhawks could get back into contention in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re way better as a team,” he said. “Our timing is getting better. There is a lot of talent on this team, and we can keep winning as long as nobody gets selfish.”

Oddly, Sanders’ younger brother, freshman Maji Sanders, also has a cast on his right arm. He, though, has missed a few games.

“His knuckle got pushed way back like 2 inches,” Noah Sanders said. “We’re hoping we both came get back (100 percent).”

Jeannette coach Tommy Paulone has been impressed with the play of Sanders, Molter and the rest of the offense.

He won’t say the Jayhawks are a completed project, yet, after a three-win season last year.

“Not quite,” the second-year coach said. “There is still work to be done.”

FR workhorse

Franklin Regional running back Kyle Dupill was busy running behind a strong line Friday night as the Panthers rallied to beat neighboring rival Plum, 45-26.

Dupill ran for 240 yards on 30 carries and five touchdowns.

Big games

Week 6 has a lot to offer local fans who want to see good matchups.

Two of those games are in the Class 5A Big East with Gateway (3-3, 3-0) visiting Penn-Trafford (3-3, 2-0) and Norwin (2-4, 1-1) at Franklin Regional (4-2, 1-1).

Penn-Trafford is finding its stride after three wins in four weeks, but the Warriors will go against a lethal passing attack led by quarterback Brad Birch. It is the annual “Battle for the Bell” game.

The best matchup could be in the Class 3A Interstate where No. 2 Elizabeth Forward (6-0, 1-0) visits No. 4 Mt. Pleasant (5-1, 1-0).

Mt. Pleasant is on a five-game winning streak. Both teams average more than 30 points per game.

Jeannette (5-1, 2-0) at Leechburg (4-2, 2-1) also could be interesting in the Class A Eastern Conference.

200 club

Four county quarterbacks passed for more than 200 yards in Week 5: Tristyn Tavares of Norwin (23 of 35, 296 yards), Dom Detruf of Hempfield (15-25, 221), Tyree Turner of Greensburg Central Catholic (14-26, 208), and Brody Chismar of Greensburg Salem (20-35, 203).

Detruf and Chismar are backups, Chismar to his brother, Peyton. Detruf is the son of former Jeannette quarterback T.J. Detruf.

Getsy honored

Franklin Regional’s Luke Getsy was selected as the Steelers Youth Football Coach of the Week for Week 4.

Getsy guided the Panthers to a head-turning upset of No. 4 Shaler, 55-7, as they dominated in all facets and erupted offensively.

Extra points

Birch likes to play against Hempfield. In his last two games against the Spartans he is 34 of 50 for 578 yards and nine touchdowns. … Jeannette and Aliquippa won Friday so they are tied with 775 wins, the most in WPIAL history. … Penn-Trafford freshman Ben Grabowski and junior Tasso Whipple combined for 399 yards Friday against Norwin. Grabowski ran for 205 yards and four touchdowns, and Whipple had 194 yards, giving him 494 in his last two games. … Latrobe had a pair of pick-6 scores in a 25-7 win over Trinity. Alex Tatsch scored from 28 yards, and Ja’Tawn Williams took one back 55 yards. … Yough produced a pair of 100-yard rushers in a 21-0 win at Ligonier Valley: Raidon Kuroda (22 for 138) and Shane Swope (15 for 130). Both scored a touchdown. Swope scored on a 90-yard run.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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