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Jeannette football scores late for WPIAL quarterfinals victory

Paul Schofield
| Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, 11:12 p.m.
Jeannette's Isaiah Winters catches the winning touchdown pass next to Rochester's Elijah Goosby late in the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Township.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Isaiah Winters catches the winning touchdown pass next to Rochester's Elijah Goosby late in the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Township.
Rochester's Noah Whiteleather carries past Jeannette's Anthony Johnson during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Rochester's Noah Whiteleather carries past Jeannette's Anthony Johnson during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy carries past Rochester's Parker Anthony (2) and Caleb Collins during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy carries past Rochester's Parker Anthony (2) and Caleb Collins during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Jeannette's Anthony Johnson defends against Rochester's Mahlik Strozier during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Anthony Johnson defends against Rochester's Mahlik Strozier during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy carries through the Rochester defense during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy carries through the Rochester defense during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Rochester's Mahlik Strozier carries through the Jeannette defense during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Rochester's Mahlik Strozier carries through the Jeannette defense during the first quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Jeannette's Isaiah Winters (1) celebrates with Marcus Barnes after catching the winning touchdown next to Rochester's Elijah Goosby late in the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Isaiah Winters (1) celebrates with Marcus Barnes after catching the winning touchdown next to Rochester's Elijah Goosby late in the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy eludes Rochester's Darius Goosby on a long run during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Robert Kennedy eludes Rochester's Darius Goosby on a long run during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Rochester's Darius Goosby stiff-arms Jeannette's Jackson Pruitt during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Rochester's Darius Goosby stiff-arms Jeannette's Jackson Pruitt during the third quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Rochester lineman Kadin Mersing celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal against Jeannette Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Rochester lineman Kadin Mersing celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the fourth quarter of their WPIAL Class A quarterfinal against Jeannette Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at Peters Twp.

Seth Howard wasn't on the Jeannette team at the start of the season.

But Jeannette coach Roy Hall was glad he joined after the first game.

With Jeannette needing a spark Friday in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals at Peters Township, Hall went to Howard, and he delivered.

Howard rushed for one score and threw the winning touchdown pass to Isaiah Winters with 54 seconds left to rally No. 3 Jeannette to a heart-thumping 30-26 victory over No. 6 Rochester.

The Jayhawks face No. 2 Clairton in the semifinals Friday.

Rochester dominated until about midway through the third quarter, building an 18-7 lead behind a strong running attack.

But Jeannette (11-1) never quit. The defense came up with a few key stops, and Howard led the Jayhawks to two scoring drives during the final 7:35 after Rochester took a 26-15 lead.

"Seth came in and did a great job," Hall said. "We knew he would, and we're glad he came out for the team.

"We had to come up with some big stops when we had to, and we had to move the ball and we did."

After Rochester junior tackle Kaden Mersing recovered a fumble by Caleb Collins in the end zone, Hall inserted Howard and Jeannette's offense found its groove.

Howard used his legs and arm to move the ball down the field and scored on a 9-yard run to trim the Rochester lead to 26-23 with 5:08 left.

Jeannette's defense forced a three-and-out, and a short punt set up Jeannette at the Rams 42.

A personal foul penalty against Rochester moved the ball to the 29. After a hold pushed Jeannette back to the 35, lineman Ian Smith took a lateral and rambled to the Rochester 24.

After Jeannette was flagged for a motion penalty, Jeannette was faced with fourth-and-10 when Howard tossed a strike to Winters for the winner.

"We found our groove, and we have to keep it going," Hall said. "We're not a one-man team. We have a lot of players who stepped up."

Jeannette got on the board quickly by taking advantage of good field position after a poor punt.

Sophomore running back Imani Sanders scored from the 3 to complete an eight-play, 35-yard drive for a 7-0 lead.

Then Jeannette went three-and-out on its next five possessions.

Meanwhile, Rochester, despite throwing two interceptions, got two touchdown runs by senior quarterback Mahlik Strozier for a 12-7 lead at halftime.

Jeannette was its own worst enemy in first half. A dead ball personal foul penalty turned a third-and-1 into a third-and-15 at one point, and Robert Kennedy struggled throwing the ball in the first two quarters. He was intercepted twice by Rochester senior linebacker Caleb Collins, the second coming at the Rochester 5.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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