Top-ranked Jeannette uses quick start to rout Leechburg
It was no secret. When Jeannette needed a big play on offense, quarterback Seth Howard was up to the task. The senior threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns on nine completions in Jeannette’s 38-0 Class A Eastern Conference win over Leechburg on Friday at Veterans Memorial Field.
No. 1 Jeannette (2-0, 1-0) entered halftime up 18-0 as all three of Howard’s touchdowns came in the first half and were to three different receivers.
Senior receiver Isaiah Winters opened the scoring by catching an 8-yard touchdown. The longest touchdown came courtesy of a 43-yard strike to senior receiver Marcus Barnes that made the score 12-0.
Junior receiver Jackson Pruitt recorded a 40-yard touchdown catch of his own that made it 18-0. Pruitt finished the night with four catches for 113 yards and one touchdown.
Jeannette coach Roy Hall was pleased with Howard’s performance, but felt the offense has some work to do.
“He did that,” Hall said of Howard providing a spark to the offense. “The whole team was playing sluggish, and if we want a chance to win next week, we better clean it up and clean it up fast.”
Leechburg (1-1, 0-1) gave the Jayhawks offense some trouble early on. With the score 6-0, and Jeannette facing a fourth-and-1 from the Leechburg 41, junior Jacob Blumer sacked Howard at the Jeannette 25 putting the Blue Devils in position to capitalize.
“The kids were pumped, our sideline was pumped,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “We wanted to make something good happen out of that. We didn’t capitalize on it, but we needed to make something good out of that.
The drive stalled and a Leechburg field goal failed, keeping the score 6-0.
While Howard and the offense stole the show in the first half, it was the Jeannette defense and special teams that did the heavy lifting in the second half. It started as junior Zack Berginc returned the second half kickoff 80 yards for a score to put Jeannette up 24-0.
Later that quarter, senior Melik Gordan intercepted an errant pass from Leechburg sophomore quarterback Dylan Cooks and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown to put Jeannette up 30-0.
“It is a spark that you can use,” Hall said. “Special teams is a third of the game. You never know what play or what down is going to turn the game around.”
Blumer led the Leechburg offense with 32 yards rushing.