WPIAL Class A football championship breakdown: Clairton vs. Jeannette

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Thursday, November 12, 2020 | 2:12 PM


No. 3 Jeannette (8-1) vs. No. 1 Clairton (8-0)

11 a.m. Saturday, North Hills’ Martorelli Stadium

On the air: Video stream exclusively at TribHSSN.triblive.com

Winner plays: Winner of Reynolds vs. Redbank Valley in PIAA semifinals Nov. 20-21.

WPIAL titles: Jeannette 9 (1932, ‘39, ‘56, ‘71, ‘81, ‘83, ‘06, ‘07, ‘17), Clairton 14 (‘29, ‘31, ‘54, ‘89, ‘06, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘19)

Jeannette (8-1)

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 four-touchdown performance in the semifinals against Rochester – catching three touchdown passes from his brother, freshman Brad. He also returned a punt 71 yards for a score, had a interception and serves as the team’s long snapper.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Brad Birch, 103-171, 1,630 yards, 27 TDs

Rushing: Roberto Smith Jr., 90-697 yards, 17 TDs

Receiving: Brett Birch, 37-489 yards, 10 TDs

How they got here: No. 3 Jeannette defeated No. 6 Avella, 62-14, in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Rochester, 40-13, in the semifinals.

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, 12, Brad Birch, 6-0, 160, fr.

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

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: Jeannette dropped a 34-28 contest to Clairton on Sept. 11. … The Jayhawks are on an eight-game winning streak. … Jeannette hadn’t reached the WPIAL finals since winning the PIAA title in 2017. … Roy Hall has been the head coach of the Jayhawks since 2009. His record is 113-26. … Jeannette lost to Clairton in the WPIAL finals in 2015 and 2016. … The Jeannette roster has three sets of brothers — Brett and Brad Birch, James and Noah Sanders and Xavier and Savion Harper. … Assistant coach Jeremy Binakonsky is coaching his son Elijah, a sophomore linebacker. … Jeannette’s record is 56-33-1 in the WPIAL playoffs and 7-1 in the PIAA playoffs. … The Jayhawks are 764-319-40 overall, ranking No. 1 in the WPIAL. … Jeannette’s offense averages 47.8 points per game and its defense allows 12.1.

Clairton (8-0)

Player to watch: Dontae Sanders

Senior, 6-2, 235, RB

Sanders has scored 29 touchdowns in only eight games, including a six-touchdown performance against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs. He rushed for 1,780 yards on 112 carries. He rushed for 210 yards and three scores in the first meeting against Jeannette.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Jonte Sanders40-74, 742 yards, 17 TDs

Rushing: Dontae Sanders, 112-1,780 yards, 29 TDs

Receiving: Brooklyn Cannon, 15-560 yards, 11 TDs

How they got here: No. 1 Clairton defeated No. 8 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 54-20, in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Shenango, 55-16, in the semifinals.

Probable starting lineup

Coach: Wayne Wade

Offense

LT, 55, De’metrius Weatherspoon, 6-5, 310, sr.

LG, 72, Keith Meade, 6-0, 275, jr.

C, 50, Taafe Koontz, 5-10, 215, jr.

RG, 52, Allen Rice, 6-0, 240, sr.

RT, 54, Kanye Hawkins, 6-4, 245, jr.

TE, 9, Tyyon Cobbs, 6-3, 250, sr.

WR, 7, Andre Henderson, 6-2, 165, sr.

WR, 4, Isaiah Berry, 5-8, 180, sr.

WR, 6, Brooklyn Cannon, 5-11, 160, jr.

RB, 1, Dontae Sanders, 6-2, 235, sr.

QB, 12, Jonte Sanders, 6-0, 170, sr.

Defense

DE, 3, Don Napper, 6-3, 205, sr.

RT, 54, Kanye Hawkins, 6-4, 245, jr.

NG, 65, Trevian Thompson, 5-10, 165, so.

DT, 9, Tyyon Cobbs, 6-3, 250, sr.

DE, 5, Derrick Hampton, 5-11, 220, sr.

LB, 2, Greg Lee, 5-10, 170, jr.

LB, 1, Dontae Sanders, 6-2, 235, sr.

LB, 10, Christian Wade, 5-10, 190, jr.

DB, 4, Isaiah Berry, 5-8, 180, sr.

DB, 6, Brooklyn Cannon, 5-8, 160, jr.

S, 7, Andre Henderson, 6-2, 165, sr.

Special teams

K, 10, Christian Wade, 5-10, 190, jr.

P, 4, Isaiah Berry, 5-8, 180, sr.

LS, 7, Andre Henderson, 6-2, 165, sr.

Notable: Clairton is the defending WPIAL Class A champion. … The Bears have reached the WPIAL finals for the 11th time since 2006. During that span, the Bears are 10-0 in the WPIAL finals. … The team is 2-1 all-time against Jeannette in the playoffs. They last met in 2017 and the Jayhawks won 18-7 in the semifinals. … Christian Wade is the nephew of coach Wayne Wade. … Jonte Sanders and Dontae Sanders are cousins. … Clairton’s record in the WPIAL playoffs is 69-23 and in the PIAA playoffs 18-7. The Bears’ overall record is 702-360-41. … Clairton’s offense is averaging 54.3 points and its defense allows 13.3.

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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