East Xtra: 'Charity' deflates Jeannette in football semifinals
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Turnovers proved to be the biggest factor against the Jeannette football team last Friday night against Aliquippa.
In the end, the Jayhawks handed the ball over six times and watched their season come to the end by way of a 56-0 rout in a WPIAL Class AA semifinal contest against the defending champion Quips.
"Anytime you turn the ball over six times, you make it tough on yourself to win a game," Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. "Aliquippa capitalized on those turnovers and it put us in a hole.
"That's a good team. You can't do anything against a team like that when you commit turnovers. When you do that against good teams, that is the result you're going to see."
After posting a 7-1 mark in Interstate Conference action, the Jayhawks completed their campaign with a 10-2 overall record.
"There were times we played very good football this season and times we were still a little unsure," Hall said. "We still had a good season. These kids played together and played as a complete unit on offense and defense.
"We may not have had the size, but we did have speed and we mixed it together. We had a tradition here and the kids kept to it and kept playing hard all the way until the end."
Besides losing to Aliquippa, Washington was the only other team to beat Jeannette this season. The Jayhawks lost an 18-15 decision against the Little Prexies on Sept. 28.
Washington (12-0) will represent the Interstate Conference on Friday when it faces Aliquippa (12-0) in the Class AA championship at Heinz Field.
"When you consider we play in one of the toughest conferences in Class AA and how well we did, we were just three points away from winning the Interstate Conference," Hall said. "Washington came in and you still had good teams with us, Greensburg Central Catholic and Mount Pleasant.
"When you look at the other conferences, we had two teams in the semifinals and we'll have one in the championship game. The toughness of our conference speaks for itself."
This was the second consecutive year Jeannette ended its season against Aliquippa. The Jayhawks captured the conference crown last year with an 8-0 mark and finished with a 12-1 mark after a 14-7 loss to the Quips in the Class AA title game.
Despite the fact star quarterback/defensive back Demetrious Cox graduated and moved on to Michigan State, Jeannette still returned a large group of veteran seniors and entered the season as the Post-Gazette's No. 3-ranked team in Class AA.
"We always have high expectations here," Hall said. "We always try to go as far as we can. But it's tough to replace a veteran player such as Demetrious Cox.
"We were able to run the ball well, but we still struggled a little with our passing game."
Senior Jordan Edmunds paced the Jayhawks offense all season. The running back/defensive back led the team in rushing and receiving and gained more than 1,100 yards of total offense while scoring 14 touchdowns.
"If we would give a most valuable player award, Jordan would most definitely get it," Hall said. "He did it all for us on offense and defense. He led us in receiving, rushing and tackles.
"Jordan is a good player and a great kid. He's a great kid to coach. He's also a very good student in the classroom and is a tremendous leader on the field and in the hallways."
Senior back Shavonta Craft and junior receiver Damone Morton also turned in impressive offensive numbers. Craft rushed for close to 800 yards and also scored 14 touchdowns, while Morton caught 12 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior Seth Miller replaced Cox at quarterback and completed 52 of 112 attempts for 788 yards and five touchdowns. Miller rushed for close to 500 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He also served as the team's place kicker and booted 36 extra points and four field goals.
"Considering it was his first year starting, he did a very good job," Hall said. "There were times where I would have liked to see our passing game do a little better, but he's a good athlete and is turning out to be a good quarterback."
Jeannette will graduate a large senior class from this year's team and Hall expects his program to face a challenging transition beginning in the offseason.
"People always say Jeannette doesn't rebuild, it reloads," Hall said. "I see it as more rebuilding this time. We're losing most of our offensive line and a lot of good senior players. We're going to have a young team coming back.
"Most importantly, the senior leadership is what we're going to miss the most."
First Published November 21, 2012 12:00 am