Franklin Regional routs Elizabeth Forward
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After nursing an ankle injury the last few weeks of the season, there were some doubts whether running back Dane Brown would be an effective weapon for the Franklin Regional offense in the playoffs.
Elizabeth Forward certainly will attest that Brown's ankle is just fine.
Brown went over the 4,000-yard mark in his career with a 41-yard first quarter touchdown run, the second of three he scored in the first half, to lead eighth-seeded Franklin Regional (8-2) to a 44-7 victory over No. 9 Elizabeth Forward in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. Brown finished with 22 carries for 148 yards and four touchdowns, and now has 4,092 yards in his career.
“It was pretty awesome,” Brown said of reaching the career milestone. “I got an ovation from the crowd, my family was all in their normal spot and it was really special to get it here at home.”
Franklin Regional will play top-seeded Thomas Jefferson (10-0) in the quarterfinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at a site to be determined. The Panthers have lost their last two postseason meetings with the Jaguars since pulling off a 31-14 upset in the 2005 WPIAL Class AAA championship game at Heinz Field in their state championship season.
“It's always been battles and (Jaguars coach Bill) Cherpak does a great job and he gets his team fired up,” Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. “But we're down to eight now and any of those eight teams can win it and I believe we're one of them.”
Franklin Regional dominated the line of scrimmage and harried Elizabeth Forward junior quarterback JaQuan Davidson at every turn. Davidson, who came into the game with 1,024 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground this season while running the Warriors read-option, was held to minus-5 yards on six first half carries.
“We knew coming in that they were big up front and we faced similar sized fronts and had a little bit more success,” Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne said. “We had problems with the odd-stack all year, they shut down our running game and we tried ot go to the passing game.”
Elizabeth Forward (6-4) had a couple of special teams gaffes cost the team in the first quarter and helped Franklin Regional jump out to an early lead. On the Warriors first drive, a bad snap was muffed in the end zone by punter Brandon Janicki, who was forced to run it out and only got to the Panthers 12, four yards short of a first down. Brown ran both plays and converted the second carry into a 7-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 4:59 into the game.
On the next Warriors drive, Davidson tried a fourth down pooch punt at the Franklin Regional 38, but the ball was blocked and the Panthers recovered at the Elizabeth Forward 41. After an incomplete pass, Brown took a handoff and broke several tackles for a 41-yard score that gave Franklin Regional a 14-0 lead.
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.