With conference title clinched, Franklin Regional football exceeding expectations

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Saturday, October 22, 2022 | 11:01 AM


The Franklin Regional football team played its best game of the season when it needed it the most.

The Panthers scored on their first five possessions Oct. 14 and rolled to a 56-21 victory against Hempfield to clinch at least a tie of the WPIAL Class 5A Big East Conference title.

Franklin Regional were scheduled to play a nonconference game against North Hills on Oct. 21 and end the regular season with a game at rival Penn-Trafford on Oct. 28. No matter the outcome, the Panthers will finish first in the conference because they defeated Gateway earlier this season, 16-7.

A victory over Penn-Trafford would keep the reigning WPIAL and PIAA champion Warriors out of the playoffs.

“Winning the conference was huge for us,” Franklin Regional coach Lance Getsy said. “Everyone picked us last in the conference.

“It was the best we’ve played all season. Everyone stepped up big and did their job. The boys were excited and focused.”

Junior wide receiver Ayden Hudock scored four touchdowns. He caught two touchdown passes, ran for a score and returned a kickoff 87 yards for another TD.

Senior quarterback Roman Sarnic threw for 199 yards and two scores and rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown.

Senior running back Zach Bewszka opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run, but he injured his shoulder and did not return. Sophomore Kyle Dupill filled in and ran for a touchdown.

“Kyle did a great job,” Getsy said. “I liked what I saw from him.”

Sarnic said: “Kyle has been waiting to get a shot. He blocked well and competed. We’re confident he’ll do well.”

Franklin Regional two losses – to Latrobe and Shaler – were in double overtime.

Getsy said the team has made steady improvement, especially the underclassmen.

Franklin Regional is starting numerous sophomores and juniors.

Junior linebacker Owen Sinclair, sophomore tackle Andrew Devola and sophomore Austin Kerns are a trio of defensive players who are always around the football. Devola has 8.5 sacks and Hudock has three interceptions.

Hudock is a ballhawk in the secondary. He had two interceptions against Norwin, returning one for a score, while his other set up the game’s first touchdown.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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