California’s Spencer Petrucci scores against Jeannette in a WPIAL Class A first round game Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.
An earthquake in a running game was too much for Jeannette to overcome as California ran past the Jayhawks for a 44-6 victory in Friday’s WPIAL Class A first-round game at Trojans Stadium.
The Trojans piled up 367 yards of total offense, all on the ground, with Spencer Petrucci and Jake Layhue doing the damage.
Petrucci entered the game with 1,340 yards rushing and left the field over the 1,500-yard mark as he carried 22 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a fourth touchdown on a 67-yard kick return.
“He’s deceptively fast,” California coach Ed Woods said of the senior running back. “He keeps running north and south, and he can shake tacklers and get away. He was one of those kids who never gave up. ”
Petrucci wasn’t the only one punishing the Jayhawks’ defense, as Layhue, the California quarterback, finished with 145 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
“Having that one-two punch is very difficult for a defense to handle,” Woods said. “Especially when one of the two is the quarterback.”
Layhue was a passing weapon for the Trojans, but they didn’t need to try to pass on Friday.
“If they can’t stop us from running the ball, we don’t have to throw it. We’re going to keep running it,” Woods added.
The Trojans led 6-0 after the quarter after Layhue’s 6-yard run on the game’s opening drive. California (10-1) marched 59 yards in 10 plays, chewing up nearly seven minutes.
California exploded for 22 second quarter points, using big plays to spark the offense.
After a Jayhawks punt to start the quarter, Petrucci ran 37 yards to the 3-yard line. In the next game, he was there to make it 12-0.
Jeannette quarterback Payton Molter, who was a game-time decision due to an injury, was stripped of the ball by Layhue on the ensuing drive. Three plays later, Petrucci found the end zone again with a 44-yard touchdown run. A 2-point run from Layhue made it 20-0.
“We scored a lot of points, but this defense really came together,” Woods said. “It’s a whole new system with a new defensive coordinator with coach (Darwin) Manges, and they’ve been great all season. They are very strong and athletic all over the field.”
After another Jayhawks punt, the Trojans marched 77 yards in seven plays for another touchdown. The drive started with a 34-yard run from Layhue and ended with a 10-yard scoring plunge from Petrucci. Another Layhue conversion made it 28-0 at the half.
“I’m very happy with the offensive line,” Woods said. “Jeannette has some really good defensive lineman and tackles on that unit. It was something we were a little worried about going into the game. The line did a great job of holding their blocks against in their good size.
The Jayhawks and Molter came out of the locker room and immediately got on the board.
The senior quarterback connected with Noah Sanders on a 43-yard touchdown pass to cap off a quick five-play drive. The PAT hit the upright to keep it 28-6.
The Jayhawks (7-4) tried to connect on a soft line-drive onside kick, but Petrucci was in the right place to scoop it up on a bounce and took it 67 yards for his fourth touchdown of the night. Lee Qualk hit a 2-pointer to make it 36-6.
Both teams were forced to punt on their next drives and a Jayhawks drive was halted by Layhue’s second interception of the night.
Layhue forced all three Jayhawks turnovers, and the Trojans added sacks by Petrucci, Malachi Peak and Fred Sherman.
Layhue added a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left in the third quarter to start the running clock.
“This is a team I was really excited about earlier in the summer,” Woods said of his Trojans. “I know what everyone says about Tri-County, but Mapletown started it last year with a first-round win. I think the conference is better this year, and we know what we are kind of a team.
“Now, we go next week.”
The Trojans will face No. 3 Bishop Canevin in the quarterfinals next Friday.
Tag: California, Jeannette