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Thomas Jefferson uses early season doubts as motivation

When Thomas Jefferson opened the season with a loss at Ringgold, a loss that snapped a 24-game conference win streak, it was an upset.

When the Jaguars then lost their second game of the season to Belle Vernon, a defeat that ended a 58-game home win streak dating to 2004, it was a disaster.

“People at school and other people that used to play for the football team, they were upset, and they were like, ‘Oh, it’s a disgrace that you guys lost the home winning streak,’ ” said junior running back Quinton Hill, who has 1,250 rushing yards. “It was just terrible to let so many people down. We were disappointed in ourselves, too. We definitely felt some embarrassment from that.”

But Thomas Jefferson (9-2) used that as motivation, going undefeated from there into the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals against Franklin Regional (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hempfield.

With Thomas Jefferson as such a perennial powerhouse — having won WPIAL championships in 1980, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 — the high expectations led to major early season doubts. But coach Bill Cherpak said he has been impressed with how resilient his players have been.

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