WPIAL Class AA: Jeannette beats Quips, 70-48
Jeannette quarterback Terrelle Pryor picks up first and goal against Aliquippa in the first half last night. (11/16/2007)
Aliquippa's Daron Cox picks up yardage against Jeannette in the first half. (11/16/2007)
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And everyone thought Terrelle Pryor gave up the sport of track after his freshman year at Jeannette.
But there he was last night, treating this WPIAL Class AA football semifinal like his own private track meet as he and his team turned in a performance for the ages.
Just when you think this kid has done just about everything in his career, he comes up with something else to drop your jaw. His offensive teammates joined in on the party.
Pryor, the all-everything senior quarterback-defensive back, sprinted up and down the field all night, had 421 yards offense and was involved in seven touchdowns as Jeannette defeated Aliquippa, 70-48, at Highlands in one of the wildest and most exciting games you could see.
It was the highest-scoring playoff game in the history of the WPIAL, breaking the record of 94 points set by Pine-Richland and Hampton in 2004. This track meet included more than 1,000 yards offense.
"I thought I was going to get a technical on one of the officials calls because I thought I was at a basketball game," said Jeannette coach Ray Reitz.
Pryor rushed for 331 yards on 22 carries, scored five touchdowns, completed 4 of 6 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
"I forced two fumbles, too," Pryor said afterward.
"You've known me for a long time and maybe for the first time ever, I'm really at a loss for words," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said to reporters. "How good is [Pryor]? How many superlatives can you put out there. I was a creative writing teacher for years and I can't think of any more superlatives for him. But he's not alone on that team."
Jeannette, one of the highest-scoring teams in the history of the WPIAL, had an astonishing 612 yards rushing and 702 total yards. Junior running back Jordan Hall added 182 yards on 18 attempts. Jeannette did not punt.
The Jayhawks were stopped on their first possession because of a fumble -- and their last possession when Pryor took a knee. In between, they scored every time they had the ball.
But Aliquippa (9-3) gave a scare to the Jayhawks, scoring first and trailing by only 43-40 in the third quarter. As good as Jeannette was on offense, Aliquippa was not far behind as sophomore quarterback Rasheem Jones completed 13 of 22 for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Star receiver Jonathan Baldwin had six catches for 180 yards.
"Oh my goodness," Pryor said when asked to describe the game. "I can't wait to go home and go to sleep. That's how crazy it was."
Pryor scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 44 yards in the first half. In the second half, he was practically unstoppable with his keepers and quarterback draws. He made nifty moves. He shook tackles. He sprinted past defenders. He had touchdown runs of 67, 54 and 48 yards in the second half and had a 47-yarder called back because of a penalty. He raised his season rushing total to 1,265 on 91 attempts. He also has thrown for 1,324 yards.
"That was a phenomenal performance [by Pryor]. I don't know if you can describe it," Reitz said.
His two touchdown passes were both in the first half -- 8 yards to Hall and 17 to Kenny Grant. Hall also scored three touchdowns on runs of 55 and 11 yards. Grant also scored on a 44-yard run.
"They have a lot of players besides Pryor," Zmijanac said. "But we scored 48 points on them and made them play into the fourth quarter."
In the first 11 games this season, Jeannette forced the mercy rule on every opponent. Under the rule, the clock runs continuously when a team goes ahead by 35 points or more in the second half.
"Give Aliquippa appreciation. You can't say enough about them," Pryor said.
Baldwin had one of his best games, catching three touchdown passes from Jones. Two went for 39 yards and the other 67. This came against a Jeannette defense that had allowed only 44 points all season.
"We should fire our defensive coordinator, which is me," Reitz said. "This was the most incredible game I have ever been in. I'm just glad we came out on the winning end."
One of the most bizarre plays came when Jones threw a pass to Baldwin that was tipped by Moziah Harris, then by Pryor and then caught by Baldwin, who turned and ran for a 67-yard score.
Things got real interesting when Aliquippa made it 43-40 in the third quarter as Jamar Anderson picked up a fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. But Pryor answered with a 54-yard run.
Jeannette's scoring drives in the second half lasted one, two, three, four and six plays.
"We came in with all kinds of ideas defensively," Zmijanac said. "We tried them all. None of them worked."
First Published November 17, 2007 12:07 am