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Trib HS Insider Q&A: Gateway's Darin Franklin

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| For the Tribune-Review
Gateway running back Darin Franklin (5) breaks away from the McKeesport defense on his way for a long run against McKeesport in the second quarter on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at Weigele-Schaffer Memorial Stadium. Ronald Vezzani Jr.
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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Gateway's Darin Franklin has scored five times in the past three weeks, including a 74-yard touchdown run Friday that proved to the WPIAL that the senior tailback has recovered from knee surgery last December to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. His season started a few weeks late, but Franklin (5-9, 195) has 441 yards and six TDs on 58 carries for No. 2 Gateway. A college prospect before the injury, Franklin is making up for time lost.

Q: What has this season been like for you?

A: It's been an uphill battle, basically. Coming back from my knee injury was hard. But my coaches helped me out along the way and so did my players, encouraging me to just keep working.

Q: Were you ever worried?

A: No, I knew I was still the same me at the end of the day. I just kept getting stronger and eventually I came back.

Q: How did the injury happen?

A: It was the North Allegheny game (in the WPIAL semifinals). I just made a cut and I fell. I kind of expected it because I'd had a knee injury throughout the whole year, so it was just, like, when? I was actually kind of thankful that it happened because it gave my leg a chance to restart.

Q: Can you describe your rehab process?

A: For the first three months or so, I couldn't do anything. I could just get therapy and ice it. After that I started slowly jogging and then basically learned how to do everything again.

Q: Did you expect the recovery to be shorter or longer?

A: I thought it was going to take longer, actually. I've seen the guys on TV. Some of them were just coming back around the time that I did, so I was kind of excited that I was on schedule.

Q: Was there a moment where you knew the knee was healed?

A: After the (Week 6) North Allegheny game, when I officially took my ACL brace off and just started playing without it. I felt like it was mentally holding me back. The brace in my mind made me think there was something still wrong with my knee, when actually it was all healed up fine and ready to go.

Q: Do you have something to prove to college recruiters?

A: Of course. I just have to show them I'm still the same player. Maybe even better than I was last year.

Q: What are your playoff expectations?

A: I expect for us to just keep getting better every week and get to Heinz Field.

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