Jeannette celebrated Senior Night the way it has numerous times this season, with another impressive victory.
The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (8-0, 8-0) made quick work of Mt. Pleasant (4-4, 4-4) on Friday night at McKee Stadium by scoring on their first six possessions en route to a 40-15 victory in WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference action.
The victory, along with No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic’s easy win at South Allegheny, sets up what is becoming the annual conference showdown next Saturday at Hempfield’s Spartan Stadium. This is the eighth consecutive year both teams enter the final game with first place on the line.
“We’re proud the way we played,” Jeannette coach Ray Reitz said. “The players did a good job and we’re happy with their effort.
“It was nice to be consistent on offense. We’ve been having problems the past few weeks.”
Jeannette’s special teams set up the first three scores by shortening the playing field. Jordan Hall, who scored two touchdowns, returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to set up Dane Vaughan’s first of two scores. Vaughan scored on a 10-yard run to give the Jayhawks a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to start the game,” Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner. “We felt we could be competitive, but we had no answer for them until we got into the locker room at halftime. Hall’s returns gave great field position.”
Hall’s 14-yard punt return to the Mt. Pleasant 47 set up the next score, a 2-yard run by Hall. The seven play drive was highlighted by a 26-yard pass from Cameron Baradziej to Toddy Harris to the Mt. Pleasant 9.
“Jordan is a horse on special teams,” Reitz said. “He’s tough to bring down.”
The lead went to 19-0 minutes later in the opening quarter after Hall returned a punt 22 yards to the Mt. Pleasant 22. Vaughan scored on the next play. Vaughan finished with a team-high 71 yards rushing in five carries. Baradziej was next with 63 yards.
“We came out and executed,” Vaughan said. “We played our game. We didn’t play to the best of our ability the past few weeks.”
And while Jeannette’s offense draws a lot of the attention, the No. 1 ranked defense forced the Vikings to go three-and-out on their first four possessions. Jeannette built a 33-0 lead with 8:23 left in the second quarter.
Hall (2 yards), James Derry (16) and Baradziej (56) scored touchdowns in the second quarter as Jeannette grabbed a 40-3 lead at halftime.
“We did a nice job defensively because they (Mt. Pleasant) are good what they do offensively,” Reitz said. “I’m proud the way they played defensively, but we have to turn it up even more.”
Mt. Pleasant put together a field goal drive after Derry made it 33-0 when Matt Remaley booted a 27-yard field goal.
In the second half, Jeannette’s defense forced two turnovers. Moziah Harris and Demetrious Cox came away with interceptions.
The Vikings, however, scored the only points of the second half. Mike Rosbosky raced 54 yards for a score in the third quarter and quarterback Rick Goughenour scored from the 1 on the final play of the game.
Rosbosky led the Vikings with 81 yards rushing. The Vikings actually outgained the Jayhawks, 252-235, but the majority of their yards came in the second half. They had a minus three yards on their first four possessions.