Jeannette hopes to challenge for Interstate title

Paul Schofield
| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Jeannette football coach Roy Hall could use the 2012 season-ending, 56-0 loss to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals as motivation for the 2013 season.

He isn't.

Hall is using the last-second, heartbreaking, 18-15 loss to Washington that cost the Jayhawks the Interstate Conference title as motivation. That's when Washington's Shai McKenzie returned a blocked punt in the final seconds to pull out the win.

“We played a great game and did a good job containing Shai,” Hall said. “It was a tough loss.

“What I do remember about the Aliquippa game was after the game, one of our younger players said, ‘Now we know how other teams feel after we win.' ”

Jeannette finished 10-2 in 2012 and posted playoff wins against South Allegheny (40-7) and Beaver (47-15).

If Jeannette wants to challenge for the conference title, many holes must be filled.

Hall is working hard trying to find replacements for the majority of his team's offense. Gone are running backs Jordan Edmunds, Shavonta Craft, Chiron Alexander and Anthony Canady along with quarterback Seth Miller.

Hall likes to spread things around on offense to keep opponents guessing.

The Jayhawks' coaching staff will be looking for players such as Terell Canady, Damone Morton, Zack Altieri, Quentin Rickard and Mike Edwards to pick up the slack in the running game. Julian Batts and Michael Wise will battle for the quarterback spot. Wise also would play tight end if Batts wins the job.

Because Jeannette comfortably won games, many of those players saw playing time late in games.

“We have to stay healthy,” Hall said. “I like our chances of making the playoffs. We could make a run at the title. This team is in great condition.

“Because Julian has been the point guard on the basketball team, I believe he has the leadership abilities to lead the team.”

Back on offense are center Cody Streussnig, guard Edwards and tackle Matt Howard. Tackle Chris Smith (6-foot-6, 270 pounds), who is receiving Division I looks, is expected to contribute. Hall said the senior has changed his body with hard work in the weight room.

Hall also expects Morton, who is garnering Division I attention, to play a bigger role at receiver, halfback and linebacker.

Defensively, linebackers Edwards, Wise and Morton are returning starters. Batts, Altieri and Canady return in the secondary and Howard and Smith on the line.

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