East Xtra: Edmunds is Jeannette's inner strength
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Versatility has paid off for the Jeannette High School football team under fourth-year coach Roy Hall.
The Jayhawks had several offensive weapons last year and are refining them en route to a 10-1 record this season and a date with Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals 7:30 p.m. Friday at Peters Township High School.
A mainstay in Jeannette's success -- both this season and last -- has been the contribution from Jordan Edmunds, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior running back and standout linebacker.
"He has good speed, and he's strong," said Hall.
Edmunds led the Jayhawks through 11 games with 15 receptions for an average of 12.7 yards per catch, plus 909 yards on the ground, an average of 7.6 yards per rush.
Edmunds can do much more than what the eye can see, Hall said. He's the team's second-leading scorer with 88 points. That includes 14 touchdowns and two 2-point conversion runs.
"There are some coaches who say they have guys who have 4.4 or 4.5 speed [in the 40-yard dash], but they don't have pads on," Hall said. "All I'm going to say is that Jordan is faster than what his time might show."
He's strong, too.
In Jeannette's 47-15 victory against Beaver in Friday's WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal, Edmunds returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for the game's first score.
"He broke three tackles on that opening kickoff," Hall said. "Our game plan was to start fast on offense and score right away. But when he ran that kickoff back, it just gave us an emotional lift. That was our best game, and Jordan just set the tempo for us."
Edmund's heroics don't stop there.
"There have been times when we've faced third-and-5 or third-and-6, and the defense knows he's going to get the ball," the coach said. "We had a third-and-12 against Beaver, and we called for a screen pass. He got hit a couple of times, and he still was able to get the first down."
Edmunds knows he's going to get the ball a lot. He also knows -- and likes -- the fact that plenty of his Jeannette teammates will be running the ball or catching passes.
This season, nine Jayhawks players have caught at least one pass, and 15 players have run the ball -- six of them tally at least 11 rushes.
"When you have a lot of people touching the ball, it's hard for [an opponent] to key on one player," Edmunds said. "It's special that we have so many people who can make plays. That's why we are where we are right now."
He hits, too.
"Going into the Beaver game, he and [fellow linebacker] Brandon Krautz were our leading tacklers," Hall said.
Jeannette's offensive balance perfectly suits Edmunds.
He would like to play in college, and he's considering some Division II colleges.
Edmunds and Hall traveled to IUP to watch the Crimson Hawks defeat Shippensburg to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship.
They ran into some folks from Beaver at that game.
"All of them said we had a great team and that No. 33 [Edmunds] is a beast," Hall said.
Accolades are fine, but uppermost in Edmunds' mind is a rematch with Aliquippa, the team that topped the Jayhawks, 14-7, in the WPIAL Class AA championship game at Heinz Field last November.
His most enduring memories are enveloped in the number "29" and how Aliquppa benefited from it.
"They scored on us with 29 seconds to go in the first half, and they scored on us with 29 seconds to go in the game," Edmunds said. "Those two plays were killers. What that tells me is that you have to play for all 48 minutes and that you can't quit."
• Game: Jeannette (10-1) vs. Aliquippa (11-0).
• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Where: Peters Township High School.
• Skinny: Jayhawks face the defending WPIAL champs in a rematch from last year's title game.
First Published November 15, 2012 12:00 am