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Jeannette advances to State 1A Semifinals with thrilling win over Imani

Written by: on Sunday, November 26th, 2017


Your WPIAL 1A Champions the Jeannette Jayhawks Photo – Darnell Graham, click for full album

The 2017 WPIAL Class ‘A’ Championship would turn out to be a thriller from Robert Morris University this afternoon. Roy Hall’s Jayhawks would defeat Imani Christian 35-34 to capture the WPIAL Championship.

The first quarter would witness the two teams exchange punts. On the 3rd possession in the contest, Imani Christian would open the scoring on a drive of 49 yards in 7 plays at the 3:44 mark, when Asante Watkins would score from 2 yards out. The 2 point conversion would fail, 6-0 Imani Christian.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jeannette’s Zack Berginc fumbled the return and Imani Christian’s Sam Fairly would take the ball off the turf and return it 44 yards for another Imani touchdown. A failed 2 point conversion would then place the contest at 12-0 at 3:33, in the first quarter.

Jeannette would continue to struggle moving the football on the next possession going 3 and out.

The Jayhawks however would finally break their scoring silence in the 2nd quarter when Robert Kennedy would take over the QB duties and on a broken play would scramble and find Marcus Barnes for an 18 yard touchdown, making the score 12-7.

Jeannette’s momentum after the score would result in an interception on the 5th play of the next series by Marcus Barnes, setting up the Jayhawks at their own 13. Jeannette would then go 11 plays spanning 85 yards ending in another score by Tre Cunnningham on a 27 yard pass from Seth Howard. This would issue Jeannette on top 14-12 at the 3:17 mark of the 2nd quarter.

Another Jayhawk touchdown with 1:09 remaining in the 2nd from Seth Howard to Isaiah Winters from 51 yards would place the contest at 21-12 at the half.

The second half would see plenty of fireworks, when both teams would continue to exchange big plays.

Imani would connect on a 32 yard catch & run by R.J. Hart placing the Saints back into the contest at 21-20 Jeannette with 6:25 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Jeannette would fumble with 1:07 in the 3rd when Seth Howard would lose control on the scramble and RJ Hart for the Saints would dive on top of the loose ball at the Jeannette 15 yard line. Setting up the Saints inside the Jayhawk redzone.

The Saints would then score 3 plays later when Asante Watkins would trot in from 11 yards out, putting Imani back on top 28-21 with :09 seconds remaining in the 3rd.

Jeannette would go 3 & out on the next series, and a short punt would give Imani good field position at the Jeannette 48. However a strip sack by Jalen Jones of the Jayhawks would give Jeannette the ball back with 8:38 in the 4th and trailing 28-21.

8 plays later, Jayhawks Robert Kennedy would go from the right hash to the left hash from 3 yards tying the contest at 28 all with 5:19 on the clock.

Just shy of a minute later, Robert Kennedy would intercept Tawan Wesley’s pass at the Imani 33 yard line and would return it to the 19. Kennedy would then cap off the interception with yet another touchdown. This time it was from 11 yards out, pushing the score to 35-28 with 4:23 left to go.

Imani would not go quietly as RJ Hart would catch a huge pass of 33 yards down the Jeannette 7 yard line with 2:15 remaining. A few plays after, Ray Jackson would haul in a pass from 12 yards out, now making the contest. Imani would then go for a 2 point conversion as they did not have a place-kicker for extra points. The conversion would fail as a pass would be deflected by Robert Kennedy 4 yards deep into the endzone. Imani would attempt an on-side kick that would not travel the required 10 yards, thus sealing the Jayhawks championship.

Jeannette head coach: “Our kids battled, they battled, we have saying 4-5-6, don’t quit” “They were up by 12, we come back, it was back and forth, it was just a great game” “This is a team effort” “I was not confident until that clock hit all zeros”

Final Stats:


J: Kennedy 21-123; Sanders 1-3; Howard 13 –Minus 49;
I: Reed 8-75; Watkins 21-63; Yates 1-1;

J: Howard 8-15, 185; Kennedy 2-3, 30;
I: Reed, 9-13-1, 118; Wesley 3-9-1, 42;


J: Barnes 4-48; Cunningham 3-65; Sanders 2-51;
I: Hart Jr. 7-105; Jackson 3-52; Watkins 2-3;

Our final here, Jeannette 35 – Imani Christian 34.

Jeannette will move into the PIAA SemiFinals next Friday versus District 10 Farrell Steelers on Friday night at 7:00pm from Seneca Valley Highschool. Stay tuned to for full details.

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