Latrobe-FR matchup to answer questions about game-scrimmage debate

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 | 6:36 PM

Which is more beneficial for a high school football team in Week Zero: playing an actual game or participating in a scrimmage?

The PIAA gives schools the option, and most play a game. A few don’t.

One of the big questions heading into Friday’s nonconference matchup between Latrobe and Franklin Regional is which team benefited more in Week Zero: Latrobe, which played a game against Derry, or Franklin Regional, which locked horns with a talented Belle Vernon squad in a scrimmage?

Latrobe unveiled a talented running back, Central Catholic transfer Robby Fulton, who scored five touchdowns and ran for 209 yards in a 55-0 win. The Wildcats were able to work out some first-game jitters.

“I can see benefits in both,” Latrobe coach Ron Prady said, “and I can see drawbacks. We got to run our special teams at full speed. We did have too many turnovers, and if that happens this week, we’ll be in trouble.

“We haven’t seen them in game situations, so we didn’t pick up their tendencies. They are big up front and physical. We’ll have to match that.”

Prady was pleased with the play of the Wildcats’ other two running backs — sophomores Alex Tatsch and Brady Prohovic — and with how sophomore quarterback John Wetzel handled the offense.

Franklin Regional went against the athletic Quinton Martin, and Panthers coach Lance Getsy was pleased the results. The Panthers were effective against the Leopards defense, the coach said.

“I was pleased with how the offense moved the ball,” Getsy said. “Our quarterback play was really good, and our running game was solid. We saw a lot on offense on what we could do.

“Defensively, we saw who’s going to be physical and who’s not. A lot of things came out of both scrimmages that will help us prepare for this week.”

Getsy said Roman Sarnic looked sharp at quarterback, Zach Bewszka ran well and Ayden Hudock showed sure hands at receiver.

“I’m not concerned that they have a game under their belt,” Getsy said. “We played a game. It just was a half. Belle Vernon is a tough team, and it definitely was a test. They are picked to win Class 3A and made it to the championship game last year. It was very good competition.”

Getsy said he was impressed with Fulton.

“He’s physically gifted,” Getsy said. “He’s fast, and he’s powerful. He’s a good football player.”

Prady was an assistant coach at Penn-Trafford last season. He viewed the tape and knows what happened between Latrobe and Franklin Regional last season.

The Panthers and Wildcats were involved in a wild game. Latrobe raced out to a 40-13 lead in the second quarter, only to watch the Panthers score 27 consecutive points for a 41-40 victory.

The key moment was the final play of the first half when the Panthers successfully converted a hook-and-lateral, with Tyler Bewszka scoring the touchdown.

“They were in great shape at halftime and couldn’t get anything going in the second half,” Prady said. “Franklin Regional got it rolling in the second half, hit some big plays and Latrobe couldn’t stop them. We can’t let that happen again.”

Getsy said the only thing that game will provide his team is the mentality to never give up.

“You are always in it no matter what,” Getsy said. “It’s a new season, new kids for both teams. They have a whole new system, but we changed things up, too. We’re not going to look the same way as we did last year. You can’t hold on to too much.”

Prady said getting a chance to play another team from Westmoreland County is exciting.

“Playing Franklin Regional means more to the players and fans than playing South Fayette,” Prady said. “It’s good that the WPIAL scheduled that way. It creates more interest.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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