Westmoreland high school boys soccer notebook: Franklin Regional suddenly in seeding talk

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 5:19 PM

One game does not a season make.

But can one loss make a playoff seeding?

Franklin Regional (7-1) took a rare defeat this week, falling to Section 4-3A neighbor Plum, 2-1, to snap the Panthers’ 45-game unbeaten streak in the regular season.

South Fayette and Thomas Jefferson have tied high-toned Franklin Regional since late in the 2017 season, but only Plum was able to defeat the Panthers, the two-time defending WPIAL champions.

The question now is, should everything else chalk out and the teams go on and split the section title, which will get the lower seed? Or, what if Mars stays unbeaten heading into the postseason?

Who is No. 1?

A lot can happen between now and then, but it’s worth a throw-in to speculate.

Franklin Regional has something other teams don’t: reputation and recent success.

“We have to see what happens,” Franklin Regional coach Rand Hudson said. “This is only one game, and we’ll bounce back. Plum is a really good team, and you have to look at Mars as maybe the new No. 1.”

Teams are playing fewer nonsection games, which could weigh into playoff seedings. Section strength might be more heavily weighted than ever before.

Hudson noted his team plays Norwin and Seneca Valley, Class 4A teams, late in the season. By then, with the schedule crunch, teams may opt not to play those type of games so they can rest and recoup for the postseason.

West Allegheny and Belle Vernon also could have something to say in the Class 3A playoffs. But Franklin Regional has garnered enough respect and built enough equity to last a long time.

“They’re the best team in the WPIAL and probably the state,” Plum coach Rafal Kolankowksi said. “I’m proud of our kids for staying focused and getting the job done. That is an outstanding team they have.”

Double duty

Southmoreland senior Andrew Rodriguez had a nice couple of days at Russ Grimm Field. Last Friday, he connected on a 32-yard field goal in a 13-10 loss to Mt. Pleasant, then came back Saturday afternoon and recorded a hat trick as the Scotties soccer team blanked McGuffey, 5-0. “A-Rod” is one of the bigger athletes on both teams at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds.

Double duty II

Belle Vernon has a dual-sport athlete of its own in junior Tyler Mocello. A starting defender on the soccer team, Mocello qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A individual golf championship set for Tuesday at South Hills Country Club.

MP scored upon

Mt. Pleasant went 400 minutes without allowing a goal, but the Vikings surrendered two in their only loss of the season, 2-1 against Charleroi on Monday. Charleroi (8-0) improved to 6-0 and moved a game ahead of the Vikings (5-1, 5-1) for first place in Section 3-2A.

GCC-WT, Round 1

WPIAL Class A defending champion Greensburg Central Catholic played Winchester Thurston on Tuesday for the first time since the teams met in last year’s WPIAL final and PIAA semifinals.

The top-ranked Centurions scored a 3-2 win in Carbon over the No. 2 Bears. Amazingly, the last fives games the teams played have been decided by one goal.

They have a quick turnaround because they play again Monday at Winchester Thurston.

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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