No. 3 Jeannette cruises past Monessen into WPIAL quarterfinals
No. 3 Jeannette rolled over Monessen, 49-0, on Friday at McKee Stadium in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
In a game that included more than 20 penalties and saw Jeannette's Spencer John getting carted off the field with 8 minutes, 50 seconds left, there was little flow as big plays usually were followed by a flag.
“It's unbelievable, just nonsense,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said about the penalties. “Some of them were justified, some of them were not, but it's something we got to clean up. It was sloppy on both sides. First round of the playoffs, sometimes that happens. But believe me, I'm definitely not happy with it.”
Jeannette (10-1) will play No. 6 seed Rochester, a 34-14 winner over West Greene, in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
After the game, Hall said John likely had a dislocated knee after one of Monessen's longest plays — an 81-yard would-be touchdown run by freshman Elijah Davis that was wiped out by a block-in-the-back penalty before he crossed into the end zone.
Davis also caught a 53-yard pass in the second quarter in triple coverage, taking the No. 14 Greyhounds (3-8) to the 7-yard line before multiple penalties eventually brought them back to the 20.
Then Jackson Pruitt picked off Greyhounds quarterback Dwayne Howell on fourth-and-goal to thwart the Monessen drive.
“We have freshmen and sophomores in the backfield we're looking to come back strong with many years to come,” Monessen coach Mikey Blainefield said. “It was good for those guys to finish strong and have some momentum into the off season.”
All those penalties didn't stop Robert Kennedy from having a hand in three touchdowns, including two long TD throws and a 35-yard run. Kennedy finished 6 of 8 for 179 yards passing and 41 yards rushing on three carries. He also had an interception on defense in the first quarter.
The Jayhawks interchanged Kennedy at quarterback with Seth Howard, who also had a productive game with a 4-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. He also had a touchdown pass wiped off the board because of a penalty. He was on the receiving end of Kennedy's 49-yard touchdown pass, hitting him in stride over the top midway through the second.
“It was a little sloppy there,” Hall said. “I hate to say it's expected, but we had a big hangover from last week. But you know a win's a win. We'll take it and move on to the next step.”
The Jayhawks were in their 40th career playoff game Friday night, No. 2 all-time in WPIAL history behind Aliquippa (41), and earned their 731st career victory.
“They're always very well coached, full of talent,” Blainefield said of the Jayhawks. “I think they'll do well. Just got to stay away from those penalties.”
Alec Italiano is freelance writer.