Westmoreland County football notes: Franklin Regional sneaking up on Class 5A foes

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 6:03 PM

Is that Franklin Regional hiding in the tall grass of the Class 5A Big East Conference?

The Panthers are the team nobody is talking about yet as they quietly sit 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big East Conference.

Their only loss is to No. 2 Gateway, but they have taken care of business otherwise as they take aim at a 17th consecutive WPIAL playoff appearance under longtime coach Greg Botta.

“We lost our whole offensive line except one guy,” Botta said. “We knew we had some skill back there and thought those guys could have a great year. Our quarterback, Trevor Brncic, is making good decisions. I’ve said we’ll go as he goes.”

In Franklin Regional’s third straight win last Friday, running back Brandon Zanotto rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns and Brncic, also a senior, finished 9 of 13 for 137 yards and three scores as the Panthers brushed aside Connellsville, 42-21.

The Panthers held Falcons star tailback Ky’Ron Craggette under 100 yards. They blanked Bethel Park the previous week, 14-0.

“Zanotto and (Colton) Johns are running the ball well for us, and we have five receivers who are playing well and getting timing down with Brncic,” Botta said.

The Panthers also have benefited from the addition of Lance Getsy, the new offensive coordinator and former Charleroi head coach. He is now teaching at Franklin Regional, where he served as an assistant for two years before he took the Charleroi job.

Getsy’s brother Luke, a former Steel Valley and Akron star quarterback, works as the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers.

Franklin Regional is enjoying the early success but knows it will be tested in the coming weeks. It has Woodland Hills, Latrobe and Penn-Trafford left. The latter two games, however, will be played in Murrysville.

Southmoreland-Yough fireworks?

After last week’s results, it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict a shootout between Southmoreland and Yough on Friday night in Herminie.

Both teams like to throw the ball.

Yough rallied repeatedly but could not overtake Mt. Pleasant in a 43-32 loss, while Southmoreland beat Derry, 28-20.

Yough and Southmoreland feature big-play offenses led by playmaking, senior quarterbacks — Gamal Marballie for Yough and Zach Cernuto for Southmoreland.

Marballie, who moved to quarterback last week after starter Tristan Waldier was injured, completed 13 of 18 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, all to C.J. Waldier, who had 10 receptions.

Cernuto, who has Division III interest from Wooster and Waynesburg, threw for 270 yards and three scores. He is the Scotties’ all-time leading passer with more than 4,000 career yards.

Fralic Award

Organizers are finalizing plans to present the Bill Fralic Memorial Award again this year to the WPIAL’s top lineman.

Logan Danielson of Thomas Jefferson was the inaugural winner last year and was honored at a banquet at Oakmont Country Club.

The committee chose a finalist from each of the six classifications and voted on a winner.

Coaches have been contacted and are urged to submit nominees for this year’s award.

The class chairmen of the committee are Hempfield’s Rich Bowen (6A), Fox Chapel’s Tom Loughran (5A), Thomas Jefferson’s Bill Cherpak (4A), South Park’s Marty Rieck (3A), Apollo-Ridge’s John Skiba (2A), and Riverview’s Trevor George (Class A).

This year’s banquet will be Dec. 5 at Longue Vue Club in Verona.

Latrobe’s week off

When Gateway had to shut down because of covid-19 cases at the school, it had to postpone last week’s game against Latrobe.

That left Latrobe scrambling to find an opponent, a venture that never came to fruition, leading to an unsolicited bye week for the Wildcats.

The team looked at it as extra time to fine-tune some thing.

On what would have been game night, the Wildcats held a practice at Memorial Stadium.

“It was a nice change of pace in terms of practice,” coach Jason Marucco said. “I told our guys that we absolutely took advantage of the bye week and got better even though we did not play a game. We had some extra time to self-scout in all three phases of the game and prepare for our game at Connellsville this week.”

Runs in the family

Cade Yacamelli is becoming a household name at Penn-Trafford.

The junior running back leads the Warriors with 349 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He ran for 132 yards and a touchdown last week in a 38-6 win over Woodland Hills. He added a receiving touchdown, a fumble recovery and an interception in the victory.

Yacamelli has football in his blood. His grandfather, Melvin Yacamelli, played Division I football at Maryland. The elder Yacamelli went to Clairton High School.

Muzzy time

Derry will play at Valley Friday in New Kensington. The game will match Muzzy Colosimo, the former Greensburg Central Catholic coach, against a Westmoreland team not named Burrell for the first time since he has been in charge of the Vikings.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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