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Jeannette freshman a standout at quarterback, safety

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit
Gio Vonne Sanders is a freshman quarterback and safety for the Jayhawks.

Gio Vonne Sanders, a freshman quarterback for Jeannette, had an opportunity to start under center in his first season as a varsity Jayhawk.

Sanders has been playing football for around nine years, having gotten his start in the Greensburg Midget Football program. His father, James Sanders, played football in high school and the sport is a family thing now that three out of five of his younger brothers also play football now.

“It's fun,” being the oldest of six boys, Sanders said. “They all play midget football now, except the youngest. They're still too young.”

Sanders came to Jeannette late last year as a middle school student and this is his first year in the Jeannette athletic program.

“I like it,” he said. “I like our coaches for football.”

Sanders works most closely with Coach T.J. Detruf and said, “He's good. He teaches a lot of stuff and shows leadership on the field.”

Head Coach Roy Hall, “works us hard,” said Sanders. “He tries to make us the best, to make us win no matter what.”

This year's team, Sanders said, is very close and worked very hard while reaching for a better outcome to the season last week.

“The goal is to not turn over the ball, take no penalties and just score,” Sanders said before the game against rival Greensburg Central Catholic. “It's going to be an intense game with lots of hard hits. It reminds me of the (NFL rivalry between the) Steelers and Ravens.”

Unfortunately for the local fans the Jeannette game did not have the happy ending that the Steelers found the week before, as GCC earned a big victory against the Jayhawks.

“We have the talent, we just have to show it,” he said.

Sanders plays quarterback and safety, but he prefers working on the offensive side of the ball.

“It makes you feel like you're leading the offense,” he said.

When junior quarterback Julian Batts missed a game with an ankle injury this season, Sanders was called upon to lead the team.

“It was a fun experience.”

He became a quarterback when a midget team he belonged to didn't have one. Now he's been in the role for two years and feels comfortable in the position.

As a safety, Sanders enjoys the opportunity to make big plays, including interceptions.

Off the football field, Sanders is a wrestler and is thinking of adding track to his schedule in the spring. Football is his favorite sport, though, and he said, “I started with it as my only sport. It's being with friends after school and it's just my favorite.”

After high school, Sanders wants to attend college to study either sales and marketing or communications and media. He is hoping to get a scholarship to continue playing football at the next level.

Sanders is the son of James and Terra Sanders and the oldest brother to Imani, James, Noah, Majhi and Dehstin.

“I want to thank my parents for bringing me to practice and bringing me home and inspiring me to keep playing and trying my best,” he said.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

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