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WEST VIEW, Pa. — In a game full of turnovers, Clairton could never find its footing, while Jeannette took advantage of six Bears turnovers and a blocked punt to capture the WPIAL Class 1-A Championship, 45-14, at Martorelli Stadium on Saturday.
The problem with the turnovers cropped up early and often for the Bears, as a star running back Dontae Sanders fumbled on the opening drive of the game. Clairton was able to precent that turnover from leading to Jeannette points, but on the second Clairton drive, quarterback Jone Sanders was stripped of the ball and Jeannette’s Taishaun Jamison scooped it up and went 40 yards for a touchdown to put the Jayhawks.
Jeannette then used an onside kick, which was recovered by Roberto Smith, Jr. to set up another short field, and Jayhawks quarterback Brad Birch ran 19 yards to put Jeannette up 13-0 after a missed extra point.
On Clairton’s next possession Smith. intercepted a pass and returned it to the Clairton 18-yard line. Four turnovers by the Bears in the first quarter led to a 21-0 Jeannette lead as Birch connected with Kaelan Piscar for a 17-yard score. Birch than made a nifty run for the 2 point conversion to put the Jayhawks up by 21.
Clairton finally held on to the ball and got for a touchdown on a 5-yard touchdown scamper by Greg Lee to cut the lead to 21-7.
After a Smith field goal pushed the Jayhawk’s advantage to 24-7, Jeannette blocked a Clairton punt and Jaydin Canady returned it 25 yards for a score. Tyler Horn hit Toby Cline on the 2-point conversion to put Jeannette up 32-7.
After holding Clairton on a three and out, Jeannette score on a 1 yard run by Smith. With Birch sidelined due to injury, Smith continued his amazing game by hitting Kaelan Piscar for 31 yards to put Jeannette up 45-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Clairton added a touchdown at the 7:08 mark as Jonte Sanders hit Brooklyn Cannon on a 26-yard play to make it 45-14.
The WPIAL championship is the ninth overall for the Jayhawks and second in three years on the heels of a 2017 Class-A title. The Jayhawks also won Class-2A titles in 1971, 1981, 1983, 2005 and 2006 and Class-3A championships in 1939 and 1956.
The Jayhawks will face the winner of Redbank Valley and Reynolds in the PIAA quarterfinal.