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Franklin Regional fortunate in win over Hollidaysburg

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 11:24 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional running back Matthew Yurko (38) eludes Hollidaysburg defenders on his way to the endzone on a 3rd quarter touchdown run during their WPIAL Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference game at Franklin Regional's Panther Stadium on October 12, 2012. Franklin Regional shutout Hollidaysburg 35-0. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Two of Franklin Regional's worst plays turned into the biggest swings in the Panthers' favor Friday night.

Dane Brown led No. 6 Franklin Regional with 150 total yards and two touchdowns, and the Panthers' defense recovered three fumbles to give Franklin Regional a 35-0 Greater Allegheny Conference win at home against Hollidaysburg.

The Panthers (6-1, 5-1) were holding a 7-0 lead and had Hollidaysburg (3-4, 3-3) pinned back on its 6-yard line with 1:54 left in the first half. On a third-and-11, Hollidaysburg quarterback Brian Urban broke a designed run down the left side past midfield.

Defensive back Chris Colucci chased him down at the 34-yard line and hacked the ball out of the Urban's hands, which allowed the Panthers to recover after a 60-yard run.

“One of the best linebackers I've ever had, Carter Henderson, made just about his only mistake. He read the play wrong, went the wrong way, and they hit it,” Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. “Colucci gave a great effort. He made a big play to strip that ball. He did exactly what he needed to do to get the ball back and change the momentum.”

Two plays later, Brown took a screen pass from quarterback Nico Lodovico for a 51-yard gain, which set up Lodovico for an 11-yard touchdown scramble with 12 seconds remaining before halftime.

On the Panthers' second play from scrimmage in the second half, Lodovico was hit as he threw a deep pass, and Urban intercepted the underthrow.

But on the next play, the Panthers turned another negative into a positive, as Urban fumbled in the backfield and Franklin Regional recovered.

“We've got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Hollidaysburg coach John Barton said.

“Offensively, that's been one of those things that we've got to shake, but in the same vein, when you've got a great team like Franklin Regional, they create some of those opportunities, too.”

Franklin Regional kept control from there, with rushing touchdowns by Brown, Matt Yurko and Paul Emanuele on its next three drives.

“If we execute and do the things we need to do, we'll be successful,” Botta said. “I think we got the message, and we played a lot better in the second half.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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