Jeannette celebrates success in style with win over Wilkinsburg
Joe Mucci recalls the 1968 Jeannette football season, his first as head coach, as if it were in the recent past.
The Jayhawks won their first four games — they had won two the previous two seasons combined — and ascended to No. 1 in the state. Never did Mucci dream that in late September 2015 he'd join players and coaches past and present to celebrate program win No. 700. The accomplishment was honored prior to Jeannette's 44-6 win over Wilkinsburg on Friday at McKee Stadium.
“I never kept track of the number that we had, so when they started saying 700, it blew me off my feet,” said Mucci, whose teams won 150 games during his 18-year tenure.
The celebration began Friday afternoon with a pep rally at the high school auditorium and continued prior to kickoff with a ceremony that included the assembly of former coaches, players, cheerleaders and band members. Postgame fireworks capped the evening.
Jeannette (4-0), ranked fifth in Class A, secured win No. 702 without difficulty Friday.
After each team fumbled on its first possession, Jeannette orchestrated a seven-play, 33-yard drive that ended with Jefferson Jones scoring a touchdown on a 5-yard run. Quarterback Gio Vanne Sanders connected with Kareem Hall for the 2-point conversion.
On Wilkinsburg's next possession, Mark Wormack intercepted quarterback Daniel Scott and returned it 44 yards for a 14-0 lead. By halftime, Jeannette led 37-0.
Coach Roy Hall said he was pleased with the effort.
“You always like to score when you touch the ball,” he said. “We were inside the red zone two or three times and turned the ball over once and had some miscues. Once you get the ball inside the 20, and you get those opportunities, you want to score.”
The Jayhawks haven't allowed more than seven points in a game this season.
Wilkinsburg (0-4) dressed only 15 players. After injuries to several starters, including quarterback Daniel Scott, the Tigers didn't have substitutes from midway through the fourth quarter. Their only touchdown on the last play of the game when Dremar Everette connected with Stephon Byrd on a 23-yard pass.
“I'm mostly impressed with just the determination of those guys,” coach Michael Fulmore said. “We talk about this being like life, and you have to finish. That's what we try to do.”