Big plays pace Jeannette in quarterfinal victory over Beaver
By Dave Mackall
Published: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 11:02 p.m.
Jeannette has another postseason date with top-ranked Aliquippa.
Shavonta Craft rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Jordan Edmunds returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score Friday at Hampton High School to establish a night of big plays that carried fourth-seeded Jeannette to a 47-15 rout of fifth-seeded Beaver and into the WPIAL Class AA semifinals.
“We're hungry for a rematch,” Craft said, referring to defending-champion Aliquippa (11-0), which mauled Mt. Pleasant, 43-6, in the quarterfinals. The Quips defeated Jeannette, 14-7, in the 2011 championship game.
“I'm hoping we're jelling at the right time,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said, “because we're going to need an even better performance next week.”
Jeannette (10-1), whose only loss is a three-point decision to third-seeded Washington during the regular season, capitalized on the Bobcats' sloppy play, recovering four fumbles and intercepting two passes.
One of the fumble recoveries by Seth Miller resulted in a 63-yard touchdown in the third quarter after Jeannette built a 40-0 halftime lead.
“That shocked me that we got off to such a fast start,” Hall said. “But I also have to say that our game plan coming in was to get on the board quickly, and that's what we did.”
Edmunds took the opening kickoff for the Jayhawks and apparently was stopped after advancing only a short distance. But he broke free and raced untouched the rest of the way for an 85-yard return and a 7-0 Jeannette lead.
“The first minute of the game always scares me,” Beaver coach Jeff Beltz said. “That's when you're trying gauge the speed and judge the surroundings. When things start to snowball like it did tonight, I'm not sure anyone is built to overcome that.”
Brandon Krautz recovered a fumble by Beaver quarterback Austin Ross on the Bobcats' third play, and Edmunds finished Jeannette's second possession with a 5-yard touchdown run to give the Jayhawks a 14-0 lead.
Jeannette, seemingly in total control, went for the jugular vein with an onside kick that was recovered by the Jayhawks' Jason Goulding. But eventually, Miller's 40-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.
Beaver (9-2) failed to sustain another drive when Anthony Fidurski fumbled and Edmunds recovered for Jeannette, leading to Craft's 1-yard touchdown run that put the Jayhawks ahead, 21-0.
On Beaver's next attempt, Ross' pass was intercepted by Jeannette's Chiron Alexander, and Anthony Canady later scored on a 43-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half to give the Jayhawks' a commanding 27-0 advantage.
Beaver finally pushed its way deep into Jeannette territory but gave up the ball on downs, and Jeannette drove nearly the length of the field, with Craft taking the ball into the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown run for a 33-0 Jeannette advantage.
With Beaver desperately attempting to get on the board, Ross completed two passes to Jalen Lawson, but the second — a 30-yarder — resulted in another Jeannette touchdown, when Lawson fumbled the ball away to Miller, who picked it up and rambled 63 yards for another TD.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.
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