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Yough targets Jeannette in Interstate clash

| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 11:28 p.m.
Jeannette High School’s Shavonta Craft (center) breaks through the Southmoreland defense for a touchdown run in the first quarter Friday night Aug. 31, 2012. JEANNETTEsouthmoreland-04-090612
Jeannette High School’s Shavonta Craft (right) celebrates a touchdown run with teammates in the end zone on Friday night Aug. 31, 2012. JEANNETTEsouthmoreland-04-090612
Yough's QB Tyler Donahue runs for 76-yard touchdown as Charleroi's (2) Eric Johnson and Mitch Woytovich (32) try stop him. Jim Ference | Valley Independent

To be like Jeannette.

It's certainly not a new idea, but it remains a popular opinion just the same. The Jayhawks traditionally have been one of the top high school football teams in the PIAA. They rank second all-time in the WPIAL and seventh in the PIAA in victories with 677.

“They are what we want to be,” said Yough coach Mark Crovak, whose Cougars visit No. 3 Jeannette on Friday night in a Class AA Interstate Conference game.

Both teams are 2-0 and have been scoring a ton of points. Heading into their Week 3 clash, Jeannette has totaled 98 points (49.0 ppg.) and Yough has accumulated 84 (42.0).

More times than not, Jeannette's superior talent dominates games, sometimes leading to runaway victories.

But, according to coach Roy Hall, it doesn't mean that the Jayhawks take lightly their opponents.

“The thing is, we always have a target on our back,” he said. “Even if teams are 0-5, they always seem to come in at their best. They want to challenge us.”

In 2006, Yough aimed squarely at that target and came away with a scintillating, 35-21 triumph at home, handing Jeannette it's only regular-season loss. The Jayhawks went on to a 14-2 record, their only other defeat a heartbreaking, 29-28 decision to Wilson Area in the PIAA Class AA championship game.

Yough hasn't beaten Jeannette since, a span of five games in the series.

“We played (Yough) this summer in a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage, and we were behind but won it at the end,” Hall said. “I'm not saying we're the underdog, but they are very disciplined and well-coached, and I do believe they will be a stiff challenge.”

In 2011, Jeannette was 12-1, though it was shut out of the PIAA playoffs after losing to Aliquippa, 14-7, in the WPIAL Class AA championship game.

“They have the tradition and the championships (eight WPIAL and one PIAA crown),” Crovak said. “This is a huge step for us.”

In Jeannette's 50-0 rout of Charleroi last week, quarterback Seth Miller passed for 149 yards on just 5-of-7 completions. Two of those completions went for touchdowns. He also rushed 25 yards for another score and kicked a 27-yard field goal.

Yough's Christian Williams has averaged 157 yards rushing in two blowout victories over Charleroi and Brownsville, whom the Cougars defeated, 41-6, last week, when Williams gained 147 yards on the ground.

“We're trying to do the little things,” Crovak said. “We're going to do what we can do. One thing we can't do — and we tell our kids this — we can't control what the talent level is on another team. Regardless of that, all we can do is the best that we can.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dmackall@tribweb.com or 412-380-5617.

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