Franklin Regional out to defend Big East Conference title
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 | 9:19 PM
Franklin Regional surprised many by winning the WPIAL Class 5A Big East Conference title in 2022.
The biggest stunner came in the third game when the Panthers upset Gateway, 16-7.
But the season didn’t end on a good note.
Franklin Regional finished 6-4 overall, including three losses in overtime.
Coach Lance Getsy hopes his team learned a lot from last year’s tough ending.
“We had all three of those overtime losses won,” Getsy said. “We just didn’t finish drives or turned the ball over. Woodland Hills was just better than we were in the playoff game.”
The Panthers graduated nine players from that squad but return numerous starters, headlined by senior Ayden Hudock, who will line up in various offensive positions, as well as junior linebacker Austin Kerns, senior linebacker Owen Sinclair and junior tackle Anthony Devola.
Key graduation losses include quarterback Roman Sarnic and running back Zach Bewszka.
Hudock proved to be a threat to score every time he touched the football. He had 42 catches for 957 yards and scored 15 total touchdowns — 11 receiving, two rushing and two on returns. Getsy said it’s key to get him the ball in space.
Kerns had a team-high 86 tackles, 47 solo, while Sinclair and Devola had 68 tackles. Devola also had 11.5 quarterback sacks.
Replacing Sarnic is one area Getsy has focused on this offseason, but there are other holes to fill as well.
“We have to solidify the offensive line and find a quarterback,” Getsy said. “You win or lose up front. That’s where you want to start.
“Chase Lemke has come a long way at quarterback. He’s a smart kid, he’s coachable, and he takes on a leadership role as well. He’s learning and has a lot of room to grow. He’s definitely a kid you can rely on.”
Getsy said Lemke is filling in some big shoes left by Sarnic.
“Chase can do a lot of things,” Getsy said. “I ask my quarterbacks to understand the offense. Being that Chase played wide receiver, he understands where receivers should be, how to move defenders with your eyes and knows when to hand off or keep the ball on running plays. ”
Lemke will play a big part in the team’s running game, along with Kyle Dupill and Jude Gentile. Dupill rushed for 164 yards last season.
“The key to our offense is not allowing opponents to key on the one running back,” Getsy said. “I feel we’ll be more successful with Kyle and Jude. I feel they can be a good one-two matchup for any team. I’m excited to see us run the ball.”
Getsy said keeping Hudock fresh and healthy will be important. He was held out of the Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7-on-7 tournament in July because his hamstring tightened up.
“Ayden is working hard on staying healthy,” Getsy said. “He’s had a great summer. He’s fast, he has great hands, he understands his reads, he understands how to find the open holes as a receiver, and he understands the different route combos as a defender. He’s one of the top athletes in the WPIAL.”
Other receivers Getsy is counting on are seniors Gunner Perez, Jamal V, Cole Brinker and Nolan Cowart
Sinclair, who started at center last year, will be moved to guard and Devola will play one of the tackle spots.
Getsy said there is good competition for the other line positions.
Franklin Regional returns eight starters on defense and Getsy is looking for big things from the group.
“With Owen in the middle, he’s a tremendous linebacker,” Getsy said. “He’s getting a lot of looks from Patriot League schools. He’s smart and he’ll hit anybody. When he hits you, you usually are going backwards.
“Austin is another kid I’m excited about in the middle. We have a lot of experience at linebacker, we have experience up front with three linemen back, and I like our outside linebackers and our secondary, led by Ayden.”
And just because Franklin Regional was conference champion in 2022, doesn’t mean it will repeat. Getsy said the conference is loaded.
“Gateway always has talent,” he said. “Penn-Trafford has a great program and a lot of talented kids. Plum’s going to be better. They gave everyone problems. Hempfield and Norwin have new coaches, but there is a lot of excitement there.
“The conference is tough as ever, and it will prepare you for the playoffs. It’s not going to be easy to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.”
Only the top two teams in the Big East Conference automatically qualify for the playoffs. The other two spots are earned through a wild-card system.
Coach: Lance Getsy
2022 record: 6-4, 4-1 in Class 5A Big East Conference
All-time record: 304-270-12
Date, Opponent, Time
8.25 Belle Vernon, 7
8.25 Thomas Jefferson, 7
9.1 at Latrobe, 7
9.8 Connellsville, 7
9.15 at Gateway*, 7
9.22 Shaler, 7
9.29 at Plum*, 7
10.6 Norwin*, 7
10.13 at Hempfield*, 7
10.20 North Hills, 7
10.27 Penn-Trafford*, 7
Passing: Roman Sarnic*
73-133, 1,187 yards, 11 TDs
189-1,008 yards, 14 TDs
Receiving: Ayden Hudock
42-957 yards, 15 TDs
• Franklin Regional has had two unbeaten regular seasons — 1998 and 2011 — and both years it was 9-0. The Panthers were WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A champions in 2005.
• Franklin Regional began playing football in 1962. Its first conference title came in 1995 when it won the Class 3A Greater Allegheny Conference. The Panthers have won or shared eight conference titles.
• The Panthers are 20-21 in the WPIAL playoffs and have qualified 18 of the last 19 years. They missed the playoffs in 2020.
• Their first playoff win was in 1984 against Steel Valley, 7-6. It also was their first playoff appearance.
No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.
1, Jake Virostek, QB/DE, 5-11/194, Jr.
2, Cole Brinker, WR/CB, 5-9/150, Sr.
3, Heath Sliva, WR/FS, 5-10/159, Jr.
4, Jude Gentile, RB/LB, 5-5/142, Jr.
5, Gunner Perez, DB/DE, 5-11/176, Jr.
6, Jamal V, WR/DB, 5-10/157, Sr.
7, Jake Gentile, WR/DB, 5-7/143, Sr.
8, Chase Lemke, QB/DB, 5-10/154, Jr.
9, Nick Purdue, RB/MLB, 5-9/155, Sr.
10, Macallister Bresnahan, TE/DE, 6-4/207, Jr.
11, Logan Mocharko, WR/QB/SS, 5-9/140, Jr.
12, Nate Collier, WR/DB, Sr.
13, Jay Austin, WR/CB, 6-2/164, So.
14, Nolan Cowart, WR/DE, 6-3/186, Sr.
15, Jet Taylor, RB/DB, 5-5/148, Fr.
16, Ayden Hudock, WR/CB/FS, 6-1/188, Sr.
17, Jake Weir, WR/LB, 6-1/148, Jr.
18, Austin Kerns, HB/LB, 6-0/193, Jr.
19, Jaylen Graham, WR/CB, 5-7/141, Sr.
20, Darwin Jones, RB/DB, 5-6/149, Jr.
21, Elijah Bennett, WR/DE, 6-0/168, Jr.
22, Joey Bayne, K/P, 5-9/165, Jr.
24, Kyle Dupill, RB/OLB, 5-6/200, Jr.
26, Tyler Pechar, QB/DB, 5-11/156, Fr.
27, Sam Siegman, TE/LB, 5-9/161, So.
28, Lorenzo Azzolina, QB/DB, 5-1/105, Fr.
32, Matt Moore, WR/LB, 5-10/148, So.
34, Mason Mullooly, RB/DB, 5-7/146, So.
35, Anthony Petrucci, HB/DB, 5-7/144, So.
36, Jack Silvis, HB/OLB, 5-10/160, Jr.
39, Taquann McBride, RB/LB, 5-10/183, So.
40, Lochlan Bresnahan, TE/OLB, 5-11/165, So.
42, Aaron Bennett, RB/OLB, 5-6/150, So.
44, Brent Hickey, LS/DE, 5-9/170, Jr.
45, Cole Devola, TE/DL, 5-11/213, Fr.
46, Keyan Morrison, WR/DB, 5-10/134, Fr.
48, Andrew Silvis, WR/DB, 5-7/136, Fr.
49, Gage Williams, RB/DB, 5-5/124, Fr.
50, Logan Priest, OL/DL, 5-11/220, So.
51, Connor Grant, OL/DE, 5-10/178, So.
52, John Ciecierski, C/G/DT, 6-1/264, Sr.
53, Tyler Vollero, OL/DL, 5-7/192, Sr.
54, Andrew Devola, OL/DT, 6-2/260, Jr.
55, Hunter Reinhart, OL/LB, 5-11/208, Jr.
56, Juliano Marion, TE/OL/DE, 6-2/215, Sr.
57, Owen Sinclair, OL/MLB, 6-1/230, Sr.
58, Jordan Yates, OL/OLB, 6-1/190, So.
61, Damian Priest, OL/DL, 5-11/193, So.
62, Emmanuel Pepala, OL/DL, 5-8/266, Jr.
63, Alex Payne, OL/DE, 5-10/206, So.
65, Isaac Marcano, OL/DL, 5-7/172, Fr.
66, Matthew Pampalone, OL/DL, 6-0/238, Sr.
67, Joey Eveges, OL/DL, 6-3/305, Sr.
70, Ronnie Schall, OL/DE, 6-3/199, So.
72, Tyler Ley, OL/DL, 5-9/189, So.
74, Ben Chiarizio, OL/DL, 5-8/170, Fr.
75, Troy Slezak, OL/DT, 6-0/237, So.
76, Michael Panchura, OL/DT, 5-11/230, So.
78, Dylan Corso, OL/DT, 5-11/236, Fr.
81, Evan Chadwick, WR/DB, 6-1/173, Fr.
83, Noah Simmons, RB/DB, 5-5/155, Fr.
86, Colin Mullooly, WR/DB, 5-6/151, Fr.
88, Austin McClure, WR/DB, 5-11/146, So.
99, Zach Seitz, K, Fr.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Franklin Regional
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