Freeport surprises Jeannette
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Freeport's Curtis Hughes ran as hard as he could down the sideline, hoping no one on Jeannette's team was fast enough to catch him.
As he neared the end zone, a defender dived to take him down but couldn't.
His 70-yard fumble recovery in the first quarter helped the 11th-seeded Yellowjackets to a 30-22 upset of No. 6 Jeannette in a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game Friday night at Jeannette's McKee Stadium.
It was the team's first postseason win under third-year coach John Gaillot -- and first since 2002. Freeport (7-3) advanced to play No. 3 South Fayette (10-0) next week. Jeannette ended its season at 7-2.
The Yellowjackets' opportunistic defense forced three Jeannette turnovers and turned them into 14 first-quarter points. Gaillot said he wasn't sure whether Hughes was going to score the touchdown that put his team ahead by two scores.
"Honestly, I didn't know Curtis could run that fast," Gaillot said. "That play was huge."
Jeannette coach Roy Hall said his team made some unforced errors.
"Turnovers were a big factor; execution was a big factor," Hall said. "Not tackling was a factor, and stupid penalties were a factor. To be honest, it looked like Freeport wanted it more than we did."
Quarterback Demetrius Cox fumbled twice in the first quarter, and both turned into Freeport touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Brendan Lynch found Derek Durand for a 23-yard touchdown, and Hughes returned the fumble for the second.
The Jayhawks cut the deficit to 17-14 before halftime when Cox recovered a Jake Campbell fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Campbell, who led all rushers with 86 yards on 23 carries, redeemed himself in the second half. He scored touchdowns on runs of 1 and 21 yards to extend the Yellowjackets' lead to 30-14.
"We just told Jake he needed to run harder," Gaillot said. "And he went out and did that. Everyone did great, from the line on down."
The Jayhawks rallied in the fourth quarter. Cox, who finished with 206 passing yards, led Jeannette down the field and scored on a 5-yard run with 2:04 left to cut the margin to 30-22.
The Jayhawks stopped the Yellowjackets and got the ball back, but Lynch intercepted Cox with 40 seconds left to end it.
"We didn't do anything differently in the second half than we did in the first," Hall said. "The only difference was execution. We just ran out of time."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.