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Wednesday, March 31, 2021 | 4:25 PM


Jeannette could be losing two of its best football players.

The Birch brothers, Brad and Brett, appear to be on the move to a new school.

Jeannette Superintendent Matt Jones confirmed the district received a request from Gateway for the Birches’ records to facilitate their enrollment there.

The process could take some time. Jeannette can contest the transfer and the WPIAL could request a hearing with the family and the schools before granting approval.

The boys’ father, Bob, said the move is not a football issue and the crux of their transfer runs deeper. He has a new job which requires travel, so he would prefer his sons live with their mother in the Gateway School District.

The parents are divorced.

“It’s a family-related financial issue,” Bob Birch said. “I just want what is best for the boys. My job requires some travel, and I can’t be (home) all the time. Sometimes financial issues arise and family takes precedence over people wanting to win football games.”

Brad Birch is a fast-rising freshman quarterback who already has a scholarship offer from Oregon, and junior Brett Birch is a standout wide receiver and defensive back.

Both players earned Pa. Football Writers all-state honors in the fall after leading the Jayhawks to the program’s 10th WPIAL title and a PIAA runner-up finish in Class A.

Both are active on the 7-on-7 circuit with the 412 Elite program.

“It’s devastating,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “It’s a major blow to our program. It will now be in the hands of the WPIAL. I was not told officially by the family. (Jeannette) told me they enrolled at Gateway.”

Brad Birch, the first freshman to start at quarterback for Jeannette, threw for 1,676 yards and 30 touchdowns. Brett Birch had 46 receptions for 669 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Hall said word traveled fast.

“My phone blew up with messages from other WPIAL coaches (who heard about the pending transfer),” Hall said. “They don’t think this is right either.

“I don’t wish anything bad on any kid. You just wonder about some things. They’re going to be two of our top players here. Why would they want to leave?”

Gateway, located in Monroeville, is a top Class 5A program. The Gators won WPIAL titles in 2017 and ‘19 and made the semifinals three other times under coach Don Holl and his staff.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Tags: Jeannette