Franklin Regional's triple threat carries day in win over Montour
Franklin Regional quarterback Charan Singh can be a nightmare for opposing teams.
And he was Friday in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Singh rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, passed for 85 yards and two scores and intercepted a pass to lead Franklin Regional (9-1) to a 42-21 victory against a short-handed Montour (5-5) squad.
The Panthers will play West Mifflin in the quarterfinals at a time, date and site to be determined. Montour coach Lou Cerro suspended five starters for the game for a violation of team rules.
Singh and Montour quarterback Tynen Greer put on a show for the fans. Greer completed 14 of 28 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 76 yards and a score.
“He's the best quarterback we've faced all season,” Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. “Mine played pretty well, too.”
Singh returned a Montour punt 38 yards to set up the first score, a 4-yard jump pass to tight end Jake Lauer.
“Our offensive coordinator noticed their safety liked to blitz close to the goal line,” Singh said. “This was a big victory for the program.”
But Montour didn't quit as Cerro decided to gamble a couple of times. He went for it on fourth down, tried a couple onside kicks and had a few gadget plays.
“We weren't going to leave anything in the bag,” Cerro said. “We had nothing to lose. I'm proud of the way the team responded. You can't make mistakes against a team like Franklin Regional.”
Those gambles paid off in the first quarter and helped Montour grab a 14-7 lead.
Montour scored two touchdowns in a 1:15 span by converting a fourth-and-8 on the first touchdown drive and then recovered an onside-kick to set up the next score.
Greer scored on a 20-yard run after hooking up on a 19-yard pass to Tyler Carswell on a fourth-and-8 to tie the score. Then David Haseleu scored on a 9-yard run after Greer and Carswell hooked up on a 36-yard pass.
“I knew he would have his team ready. He told me before the game we'd have our hands full,” Botta said. “Montour has a lot of tough kids. I was concerned after they took the lead, but I wasn't worried because we moved the ball pretty well the first time we touched the ball.”
Franklin Regional took control with a 21-point second quarter. Singh went 38 yards to tie the score at 14-14 on the second play of the quarter. After a short punt, Botta inserted junior Brett Zanotto, and he ran the wildcat, covering the 35 yards on three runs, including a 3-yard run, to put the Panthers up 21-14.
Colin Jonov, who like Singh is very dangerous when he touches the ball, returned an interception 70 yards to set up Singh's 1-yard run for a 28-14 lead.
Franklin Regional had a chance to increase its lead late in the second quarter, but Singh's pass was intercepted by Stephen Fedyshyn at the Montour 3.
Jonov pushed the third-quarter lead to 35-14 when he took a reverse 55 yards for a score.