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LIVING THE HIGH LIFE: Greensburg CC’s Miller punishes Jeannette for conference title

Written by: on Sunday, October 26th, 2008


GREENSBURG, Pa. – Greensburg Central Catholic head coach Muzzy Colosimo is always good for a colorful sound byte or two.  So how did he explain the simple, yet effective, game plan his Centurions successfully ran against rival Jeannette?

“I’m not a very smart person, but I know you have to give a couple punches to get a couple,” Colosimo said.  “So we just took it to them.”

There’s no need for the Centurions to question their intelligence, instead, all the maroon and white need do is flex their muscles.

GCC (9-0 overall, 9-0 Interstate Conference) bashed and bullied Jeannette (8-1, 8-1) with a bruising ground attack to snap Jeannette’s 24-game winning streak with a commanding 28-14 victory from Spartan Stadium at Hempfield High School Saturday night to win the outright Interstate Conference championship.

The Centurions, though, had to weather an early storm, the “giving of the couple punches” Colosimo spoke of.

After Jeannette forced the maroon and black to punt, it wasted little time in going down the field.  In just five plays, Jeannette zoomed 75 yards, and Cameron Baradziej found Jordan Hall behind the GCC defense on a 40-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 Jayhawk lead.

But the offensive explosion for Jeannette did not continue.  Instead, the Centurions ratcheted up their chinstraps and did what they do best:  play smash-mouth football.

“I’m one of those guys that believes in smash-mouth football,” Colosimo said.  “To me, it’s a boxing match.  When two good boxers go head-to-head, this is the type of game you get.”

Greensburg countered the Jeannette score with one of its own – it came courtesy of a 17-play, 75-yard, 9:06 march.  On the drive, GCC converted two fourth downs, including Trent Hurley’s fourth-and-goal-to-go run from five yards out to tie things up.  Hurley also converted a 3rd-and-12 situation with a 13-yard passs to Daunte Weaver-Johnson (4 rec., 48 yards) on the drive.

On Central Catholic’s ensuing offensive possession, David Miller (31 rushes, 159 yards, 2 TD) scored from two yards out to make it 14-7.

Meanwhile, Jeannette’s multi-faceted offense wasn’t doing much of anything.  After its opening possession (75 yards, 3 first downs), Jeannette was held to just 25 yards and one first down for the remainder of the half.

And it only got worse for the Jayhawks, as Baradziej (2-of-15, 47 yards, TD, 2 INT; 69 rush yards) threw a pass which was tipped and intercepted by Adam Palcic to open the second half.  Palcic returned the pick 26 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 Centurion lead.

“Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes, the bear gets you,” Jeannette head coach Ray Reitz said. “But our kids are tough kids.  They’re resilient.  They’ll come back.  This (loss) could be good for us.”

The Jayhawks did close the deficit to 20-14 on a Mariel McGowan 11-yard scoring run.  It was McGowan’s only rush attempt of the game.  Ohio State commit Jordan Hall set up McGowan’s scoring run with six carries for 42 yards on the drive.

Hall, one of three WPIAL seniors who will attend OSU next fall, finished with 91 rush yards on 17 carries, had a 40-yard touchdown reception, and totaled 64 yards in kick and punt returns.

After Baradziej was intercepted for the second time, this one by Miller, #34 put the game out of reach with a back-breaking 32-yard touchdown run.  Miller also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 28-14.

“We have a lot of pride at our school,” Miller said.  “The momentum (from this win) is pretty big.

“There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that I could carry the ball 20 times.  That’s kinda been the game plan all year, just to wear people down.”

Miller’s two touchdowns gives him a WPIAL-best 32 on the year.  He’s also the WPIAL’s leading scorer, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Jeannette was limited to just 236 yards of total offense – 189 of which were rushing yards.

Greensburg Central Catholic rolled up 285 yards of offense and 17 first downs.  The Centurions had been outscored in the previous three meetings with Jeannette by a combined 73-22, including a 42-6 defeat last year.

Colosimo was thrilled with the victory.

“The kids,” he said, “I just can’t tell you how phenomenal they are.”

NOTES: Jeannette’s last WPIAL loss came to Yough in 2006, a string of 31 straight games.  That means the second-longest winning streak against WPIAL competition has come to an end.

The longest active streak belongs to Thomas Jefferson (surprise, surprise).  The Jaguars have won 34 straight games against WPIAL competition.

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