Franklin Regional puts mercy rule into effect in rout of Belle Vernon
Final scores can be misleading.
Take Belle Vernon's 35-7 nonconference loss to Franklin Regional on Friday at James Weir Stadium.
Even though the mercy rule went into effect with 50 seconds left in the first half and the Panthers (4-1) up, 35-0, BV coach Aaron Krepps wasn't upset with the defense.
“We played well defensively except for two plays,” he said. “I thought the defense was outstanding. Our kids stepped up.”
Unfortunately, he couldn't say the same about the offense.
Two of Franklin Regional's touchdowns came on turnovers, and another came on a punt return.
“We had opportunities but couldn't capitalize,” Krepps said. “We didn't execute up front and it cost us.”
A good case in point came in the opening three minutes. The Leopards (1-4) had a fourth-and-1 on their 38 in a scoreless contest when Krepps gambled instead of punting.
Sophomore Anthony Levis, who went into the game with a 6.5-yard rushing average, was tackled for a 1-yard loss after failing to gain a yard on the previous carry.
On Franklin Regional's first play from scrimmage, Nico Lodovico threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Colin Jonov.
Two minutes later, the Panthers scored on their second scrimmage play when Dane Brown raced in from 47 yards. The second quarter was when the offense backfired.
A bad snap to BV sophomore quarterback Travis Snyder resulted in a fumble into the hands of Panthers linebacker Austin Duncan, who took it in from 9 yards.
Junior cornerback Charan Singh took the spotlight for the Panthers with two big plays in the final six minutes of the first half.
Singh picked off a Snyder pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown with 5:39 remaining.
With 53 seconds left in the half, Singh returned a Derek Verkleeren punt 52 yards for a touchdown to make the score 33-0.
In hope of putting the 35-point mercy rule into effect, the Panthers went for the two-pointer with Lodovico pitching to open tight end Carter Henderson in the end zone.
The lone score in the second half came early in the fourth quarter when Adam Ferita made a leaping catch in the end zone on a 27-yard pass from Snyder. It was the first touchdown allowed by the Panthers since their opening 21-17 defeat to Mars.
“Offensively we have to get things going,” Krepps said. “We have some holes up front and have to get the monkey off our back.”
Brian Herman is a freelance writer.