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Steelton rides rollercoaster to victory over Jeannette! @jhawkathletics @RollersFootball

Written by: on Friday, November 27th, 2020


Steelton rides rollercoaster to victory over Jeannette! @jhawkathletics @RollersFootball


The Steelton-HIghspire Steamrollers completed their undefeated season and won their third state championship with a thrilling 32-20 victory over the always talented Jeannette Jayhawks. The game started a little slowly and a little strangely for both teams. Steelton’s star receiver Menki Flowers was shaken up on the opening kickoff.  The next two plays were turnovers. Daivin Pryor catch a short pass fumbled, pick up his fumble rambled 31 yards before losing another fumble. On the next play he picked off Jeanette’s first pass. Each team would get 5 possessions each in the opening quarter. Steelton would turn it over on downs on its next possession. Both teams would than punt the ball the next time they had it. Jeannette would draw first blood with a three play 57-yard drive. Jeanette quarterback Robert Smith Jr hit junior receiver Brett Birch for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Birch a big-time receiver already has a scholarship offer from Central Michigan. Steelton would come right back with an eight play 77-yard drive. On third and 25 freshman quarterback Alex Erby threw a short pass to junior Mehki Flowers who ran through half the Jayhawk defense on his way to a 50-yard touchdown. Flowers, a huge talent reportedly has over 21 scholarship offers, including Pitt and Penn State. The game was tied 7-7 at the 3:10 mark of the first quarter. Both offenses would suffer a sack and go three and out on their next possessions.     

Jeannette would end the first quarter with the ball. Their seven play 42-yard drive would end with Robert Smith Jr’s 28-yard field goal attempt hitting the left upright. The Steamrollers next drive ended when they faked a punt on fourth and eight from their own 36-yard line. The Jayhawks were not fooled and the play resulted in a one-yard loss. Jeannette would go 35 yards in five plays to take the lead. The big play was a 29-yard pass from Smith to senior Toby Cline on third and 18. On the next play Smith called his own number and took it in from four yards out. Smith’s extra point gave the Jayhawks a 14-7 lead. On the Steamrollers next play Erby was intercepted by Cline. Jeannette was unable to take advantage and punted the ball back to Steelton after just three plays. Steelton would now go on a fourteen play 82-yard drive that would use up all but eighteen seconds of the first half. The Steamroller offensive line took control on the line of scrimmage on the drive. Senior running back Odell Greene would carry nine times on the drive including the last one from a yard out. The game was tied at 14-14. The Jayhawks would run two plays and the half ended. 


Jeannette would start the third quarter with the ball and pick up one first down before punting. Steelton’s first drive of the half would end after four plays when Birch intercepted an Erby pass. The Jayhawks next drive started out well with an unsportsmanlike penalty against the Steamrollers and a big run by Smith. However, a holding call on the Smith run would put the Jayhawks behind the sticks and they had to punt. Steelton would now go on a thirteen play 80-yard drive. Odell Greene would have six more runs on this drive. A false start penalty would stall the drive inside the Jayhawk ten. Senior Bryan Hernandez would give the Steamrollers their first lead with a 22-yard field goal. Jeanette would now go on its longest drive of the game, twelve plays 55-yards using the final 3:51 of the third quarter. The drive ended on the Steelton 14-yard line when Smith’s pass to Birch was incomplete on fourth and three. 

The fourth quarter would be a roller coaster ride for both teams. Steelton would punt the ball back to Jeannette after just four plays. The Jayhawks would now drove 42 yards in six plays. The big play was a Smith to Cline hookup for 34 yards. On fourth and three from the Steelton 28 Smith was picked off by Daivin Pryor who ran down the right sideline weaving through Jayhawks for a 79-yard pick-6 touchdown. It was 24-14 Steelton with just 6:28 to go in the game.

Game over? The Jayhawks came right back with a two play 47-yard drive that took twenty seconds. Birch would set Jeannette up with a 42-yard kick return. Two plays later Smith somehow avoided a sack and threw to senior receiver James Sanders who darted in and out of Steelton defenders for a 47-yard touchdown. The kick hit the crossbars and it was 24-20 Steelton.


The Steamrollers needing to score started feeding Greene again. The six-play drive ended in a fumble at the Jeannette 25 with just over three minutes to go. Smith was called for intentional grounding after being hurried by sophomore Tyshaun Holland-Ali. With the ball at their own five facing a second and 30, there was a bad snap, Smith scrambled to pick up the ball and trying to avoid a safety threw wildly. The ball was intercepted by Odell Greene at the Jeanette 12. But a head ups play by Birch, who forced a fumble and recover it, saved the day for the Jayhawks. On the very next play, Smith now hit Cline for a 45-yard catch and run. Senior Damein Hammonds made a shoe string tackle to save the touchdown. Four plays later with Jeanette driving at the Steelton 26, Smith’s screen pass to Cline was deflected up into the air and intercepted by Hammonds who raced 72 yards for the game’s final score.


Pryor ran in a two-point conversion and with 1:27 to play it was Steelton 32-20.  Jeanette would get to the Steelton 35 as the game ended. This is why I always prefer reporting on the smaller schools’ games, most of the players play both ways and the games are more exciting. The fourth quarter was a rollercoaster of emotions. To sum it up just a great game! 



Jeannette  7-7-0-6=20 

Steelton 7-7-3-15=32 

J-Robert Smith Jr 34 pass to Brett Birch xp Smith (7-0) 

S-Alex Erby 50 pass to Mehki Flowers xp Bryan Hernandez (7-7) 

J-Smith 4 run xp Smith (14-7)

S-Odell Greene 1 run xp Hernandez (14-14) 

S-Hernandez FG 22 (14-17) 

S-Daivin Pryor 79 interception return xp Hernandez (14-24) 

J-Smith 47 pass to James Sanders xp failed (20-24) 

S-Damein Hammonds 72 interception return 2pts Pryor run (20-32) 

Big Game Players


Robert Smith Jr 44 yards rushing, 382 passing, 3TDs(1run, 2passing)

Toby Cline 7 rec 149 yds, 5 punts for a 48.0 average, an interception

Brett Birch 6 rec 98 yds TD, 73 yds kick returns, FF, FR



Odell Green 35 rushes 195 yds TD, an interception

Mehki Flowers 37 rushing yds, 56 receiving yds TD, an interception

MVP-Damein Hammonds state championship game : record 11 receptions , pick six and a game saving tackle

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