2017 PIAA Class 1A Title Game Preview: Jeannette (7) 13-1
Written by: Billy Splain on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
Class 1A State Championship: Thursday, Dec 7, 1 pm at Hershey Park Stadium
Head Coach: Roy Hall
How they got here:
When the season began, the Jayhawks started in the number 4 slot of the WesternPAFootball.net Rankings, then all through the season they began to rise, eventually landing in the #1 spot a few weeks ago. With guys like Imani Sanders, Robert Kennedy, Jalen Jones and Marcus Barnes it isn’t a surprise to us that they are in Hershey.
Their season began with Kennedy at QB as Howard didn’t join the team until the second week of the season. The first game was a close match with highly touted East Allegheny, a 28-26 decision. Later in the schedule, their game with up and comer Imani Christian turned into a shoot out that Jeannette pulled away to a 54-36 win. Their biggest stumble was to Clairton. For 6 straight games the Bears have bested the Jayhawks, and they trounced them this time 40-6. But something happened that day. Coach Hall said his team “became determined.”
Winning their first playoff game easily, Jeannette then entered a juggernaut of Rochester, Clairton, Imani and Farrell. All close games, but the most important one was the Clairton rematch, which for the first time, saw the Jayhawks victorious.
What would it mean for Jeannette to win the game:
This would mean everything for our community, fans and team. Nobody expected us to be here. This was to be Clairtons crown. We have a chance to become the only Westmoreland County team with 2 State Titles.
What was your teams defining moment this year:
This one’s easy. Clairton beat us in the regular season. We took on a lot of heat from losing to them yet again. But our kids found a sort of resolve. Once we beat them in the playoffs, they gained the utmost in confidence.
Keys to winning the game on offense:
We’ve got to score. Score when we’re in the red zone. We have to minimize the mistakes and turnovers and most importantly we have to control the tempo
Keys to winning the game on defense:
They’re big up front and run that double tight very well. We will have to use our speed to contain the edges and try to fill the holes and stop them in the middle
Here’s a breakdown of Homer Center’s projected starters in the Class 1A PIAA State Championship game with coaches quotes:
3 QB Robert Kennedy 5’10” 175 Sr
8 QB Seth Howard 6’1″ 165 Jr
We’ll use both guys here. Kennedy has lots of positives back there and he’ll see time. Howard, he didn’t come out till the second week but he has come along nicely
9 RB Imani Sanders 5’5″ 148 Soph
7 RB Melik Gordon 6′ 165 Jr
Sanders is a bit undersized but he plays with the heart of a big guy. He’s not afraid to take it to them. Melik is our speedster
22 Slot Zack Berginc 5’5″ 148 Jr
15 Slot Jackson Pruitt 6′ 170 Soph
1 Slot Isaiah Winters 6′ 180 Jr
6 WR Tre Cunningham 6’3″ 165 Sr
2 WR Marcus Barnes 6’4″ 180 Jr
Our receivers are our strength of the offense. In my 32 years coaching and 9 as a head coach I’m confident in saying Barnes has the best hands I’ve ever seen. Tre is also a great receiver for us.
51 RT Dominic Myers 6′ 205 Sr
53 RG Cameron Felbaum 6’1″ 212 Soph
60 LG Drake Petrillo 6′ 180 Jr or
55 LG Zander Malik 5’8″ 185 Jr
58 LT Jalen Jones 6’1″ 208 Sr
This is a specialty here, only one guy starting was there at the beginning of the year. We’ve lost one or two to injuries, and changed some things around, but they are pests. We tell them be pests. Get in guys faces.
80 DE Anthony Johnson 6’5″ 205 Jr
54 NG Cameron Felbaum 6’1″ 212 Soph or
65 NG Oakley Tyger 6’2″ 240 Sr
58 DE Jalen Jones 6’1″ 208 Sr
AJ is the strength of that groupl He’s got a motor that just doesn’t stop. Sometime I’d like to weigh him before and after a game. I bet he loses 5-10 pounds. Cam does a great job as well as Jalen
6 OLB Tre Cunningham 6’3″ 165 Sr
1 OLB Isaiah Winters 6′ 180 Jr or
7 OLB Melik Gordon 6′ 165 Jr
51 LB Ian Smith 6-2 190 Sr
22 LB Zack Berginc 5’5″ 145 Jr
52 LB Hunter Yates 5’10” 180 Sr
36 LB Justin Cramer 6′ 190 Soph
We sub a lot, but Justin Cramer, he’s the key to our defense. He’s a wrestler so he’s strong and gets after it. Ian, he’s good enough to be one of our skill guys. He’s fast and gets to the play quick
15 CB Jackson Pruitt 6′ 170 Soph
3 CB Robert Kennedy 5’10” 175 Sr
2 S Marcus Barnes 6’4″ 180 Jr
I mean, Kennedy has like 12 or 13 interceptions so he knows where to find the ball. Barnes I feel is one of our best defensive players out there.
Kicker Tre Cunningham
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