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U.S. Steel Game of the Week: Ready for the Big 5-0

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The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars look to continue their perfect season against the Uniontown Red Raiders in a Big Nine divisional matchup Friday night in Jefferson Hills.

Each team enters coming off victory, after Thomas Jefferson resoundingly defeated Belle Vernon 35-0 and the Red Raiders escaped their contest with Trinity on top 29-24.

In the 2012 game, the Jaguars defeated Uniontown 49-8.

Despite the disparity in record, head coach Bill Cherpak has his squad focused on fundamentals.

“We’ve got to control the ball and not give up big plays,” Cherpak said. “Those will be key factors.”

The Jaguars have a chance to make a little bit of history on Friday. A win over the Red Raiders would run Thomas Jefferson’s home winning streak to 50 games. The Jaguars have not lost a game on their home field since 2004.

“There’s not one person that even knows that,” Cherpak said. “I’m sure our kids don’t know.”

Through Thomas Jefferson’s first seven games, the Jaguars have dominated their opposition. The closest final score came in a 21-point, 31-10 win over Ringgold in the season-opener on Aug. 30.

Since, no team has come closer than 33 points, a 45-12 Thomas Jefferson victory over Hollidaysburg Sept. 13.

Three of the Jaguars’ wins this season have been shutout triumphs, while six have been by 33 points or more.

Thomas Jefferson has racked up 304 points this season, good for an average of 43.4 points per game which leads Class AAA. On the other side, the Jaguars have allowed their opponents to score just 50 total points in 2013 (7.1 per game). Their average margin of victory is over 36 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders own a point differential of minus-174 in 2013 by virtue of their 116 total points scored against 290 allowed. Uniontown’s defense allows over 41 points per game, which could entail a blowout in order at the Red Raiders’ expense.

“Their record can be confusing,” Cherpak said. “I see a big offensive line, they have good skill players. They make mistakes at the wrong time.”

The Jaguars are led by running back/linebacker Chase Winovich, a three-star recruit committed to play at Michigan next fall. Behind Winovich, Cherpak said the Jaguars look to control the game by establishing the running game.

“I think if we can run the ball effectively, that’s a big thing in our favor,” Cherpak said.US Steel

Winovich’s last game at TJ Stadium comes this Friday, as the game also represents Senior Jaguars.Night for the

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