Shaler rallies to defeat Franklin Regional in double overtime on homecoming

Saturday, September 24, 2022 | 5:26 PM

Shaler had a homecoming to remember Saturday, rallying to defeat Franklin Regional, 42-41, in double overtime. The win gives the Titans a 3-2 record at the season’s halfway point.

“It’s one of those games that adds to the homecoming tradition and lore,” Shaler coach Jim Ryan said. “It’s one for the ages. It adds to their legacy and all of the memories that go along with this.”

Ayden Hudock helped produce points for the Panthers in the first quarter, catching a 22-yard touchdown and running for a 4-yard score. The Panthers led 13-0 after one.

A Keegan Smetanka 69-yard touchdown pass to Joe Desabato got Shaler on the board in the second quarter. But Franklin Regional quickly answered with a 10-yard touchdown run from quarterback Roman Sarnic.

From there, the Titans would outscore the Panthers, 20-7, for the rest of regulation.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” Franklin Regional coach Lance Getsy said. “I think we realize it has to stop. I thought we moved the ball well, but it wasn’t consistent enough because of penalties.”

A 78-yard touchdown catch by tight end Brandon London made the score 20-14 at halftime. London later capped a 13-play third quarter drive with a 3-yard catch, helping to tie the score 20-20.

“He’s a baller,” Ryan said. “He’s a guy that, when you need him, he makes stuff happen.”

Running back Luke Cigetti scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Titans their first lead. After the early struggle, Shaler had turned things around.

“That’s the kind of group these guys are,” Ryan said. “They keep lining up for the next play. These guys have been playing together for a long time. I think that adds to the chemistry and the confidence in one another.”

A touchdown by Sarnic with less than a minute remaining forced overtime. Sarnic later scored on each overtime possession for Franklin Regional. He ended the day with four touchdowns.

“He asked for the ball and said he was going to get into the end zone,” Getsy said. “When you have a kid with that mentality, you’re going to feed him.”

Despite Sarnic’s efforts, the Titans also scored on each of their overtime possessions. After its second, Shaler successfully converted a 2-point try, with London making the winning catch. The

Putting this one behind them, the Panthers will play their second conference game next Friday at Plum.

“We need to get more consistent in practice,” Getsy said. “Until we get more consistent with our mentality in practice, these things are going to keep happening.”

Shaler will start its conference slate against Woodland Hills next week. Ryan is hoping Saturday’s win can serve as a momentum boost.

“I wanted homecoming to slingshot us into the section,” Ryan said. “Franklin Regional is no joke. That’s the confidence that we need to go into conference play full speed.”

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