Franklin Regional gets off to quick start on way to rout of Connellsville

Friday, September 9, 2022 | 10:13 PM

A week of practices spent on the fundamentals of football yielded few positive results for Connellsville in Friday’s non-conference home opener against Franklin Regional at Connellsville Stadium.

The Panthers scored on their first offensive play of the game and never looked back on their way to a convincing 40-0 win over the Falcons.

For Connellsville, Franklin Regional’s first play from scrimmage epitomized the game. The Panthers’ Ayden Hudock got behind the Connellsville defense and made a nice catch of a pass from Roman Sarnic on his way to a 65-yard touchdown and a quick Franklin Regional advantage.

“We prepared for that long pass all week,” Connellsville coach Chad Lembo said, noting he and his fellow coaches knew Hudock would be a major player in Franklin Regional’s attack. “We really focused on fundamentals all week, but it just keeps coming back to blocking and tackling.”

Connellsville (1-2) did neither particularly well as Hudock hauled in four passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Zach Bewszka ran for 189 yards and a score on 17 carries. Sarnic added eight carries for 102 yards and two scores. Sarnic also completed 5 of 13 passes for 124 yards.

For Franklin Regional (1-1), it was a get-right week after a tough loss to Latrobe in its season opener last week.

“It was a day of us getting better, and we were really focused on ourselves,” Franklin Regional coach Lance Getsy said. “We had our playmakers make some plays, but we still have to shore up a few things.”

Defensively, the Panthers were dominant. Connellsville’s leading rusher was Bruce Giles, who was limited to 58 yards. Anthony Piasecki completed one pass, a 7-yard strike to Jayden McBride.

“Any time you get a shut out, it is a big thing for our defense,” Getsy said. “It’s a big confidence booster, and I’m really proud of the guys.”

While Franklin Regional walked out of Connellsville Stadium with a satisfying win, the Falcons are left searching for a lot of answers.

After Hudock’s initial touchdown, the Panthers struck two more times in the first quarter. Hudock caught an 11-yard scoring strike from Sarnic before Bewszka added a 2-yard touchdown run to help the Panthers take a 21-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Sarnic added a 5-yard touchdown run before kicker Joey Bayne, who was perfect on all five of his extra-point attempts, booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 31-0 at the half.

In the second half, the Franklin Regional defense added an exclamation point to its performance with a safety on a tackle in the end zone. Connellsville did manage to shut down a couple of Franklin Regional drives in the third quarter, but Sarnic capped the scoring late in the quarter with a 45-yard touchdown run.

For the Falcons, it’s two lopsided losses in a row, but Lembo noted the team will continue to try to work to get out of the funk.

“It looks like we just have to go back and work on the fundamentals again until we get them right,” Lembo said.

Connellsville will look to get back to .500 next week with a game at Trinity. The Panthers are home to Gateway.

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