Jeannette, GCC ready for prime time appearance
Not so long ago, when the Terrelle Pryor-led teams at Jeannette were steamrolling their way through the WPIAL, there were multiple opportunities for the Jayhawks to enjoy television exposure.
The cameras will be rolling again Thursday night for No. 4 Jeannette (7-1, 6-1), which welcomes arch rival Greensburg Central Catholic (6-2, 5-2) for a Class AA Interstate Conference matchup on Root Sports in the regular-season finale for both playoff-bound teams.
“I try to do anything I can to boost the kids up to play better,” said Jeannette coach Roy Hall, an assistant on those Jayhawks teams that played for back-to-back PIAA championships, winning in incredible fashion during a 16-0 run to the 2007 Class AA title.
“We watched the Aliquippa game last week (the top-ranked Class AA Quips routed Beaver Falls, 66-7, last Thursday on Root Sports' weekly showcase game), and I told them, that'll be us next week on the big stage.”
Jeannette has won three games in a row after losing a close decision Sept. 28 at No. 3 Washington, 18-15, while GCC is seeking its seventh consecutive victory following a pair of losses to Washington and Mt. Pleasant to open the season.
“After we got through those first two weeks, we tried to relay to the kids the importance of not giving up,” said Dan Mahoney, who is in his first season of sharing the GCC coaching duties with Matt Federico.
The two had been assistants on former longtime coach Muzzy Colosimo's staff — Mahoney the defensive coordinator and Federico the offensive coordinator — before taking over the program, when Colosimo was replaced by the school's administration.
“We wanted to string together some wins,” Mahoney said. “The kids played hard and stuck together. We told them, ‘Look, let's get it down to the Jeannette game and go from there.' ”
Well, here the Centurions are, headed to the playoffs again, despite the loss of Colosimo and a host of players, including leading rusher Jordan McCrae — now at Connellsville — who transferred to their home school districts.
Jeannette is coming off a 38-7 victory over Waynesburg on Oct. 19 and trails Interstate Conference leader Washington (8-0, 7-0) by one game. But even with a possible Washington loss to Waynesburg on Friday, Jeannette is eliminated from the conference title race by virtue of its loss to Washington.
Yet, there's still plenty for which to play against GCC, Hall said.
“Sometimes, there are games that settle bragging rights,” he said.
In this case, bragging rights between the two neighboring schools, located just five miles apart. Jeannette squeaked by GCC, 13-10, in 2011, the Jayhawks' only victory in the series in the past four seasons.
“Both schools love to play against each other,” Mahoney said.
They'll again have a chance to show it on Thursday night to more than just the fans attending. They'll get to show it in prime time to a regional TV audience.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.