Franklin Regional using semifinal loss as motivation
Franklin Regional came within seconds of playing for a WPIAL Class AAA football title in 2011.
A long pass, a controversial non-fumble call and a last-second field goal helped Knoch defeat Franklin Regional, 9-7, in a semifinal-round game at Valley High School.
Franklin Regional players felt they had recovered a fumble before the game-winning field goal. It was the one that got away.
That loss was tough to take for Franklin Regional players, especially the ones returning this season.
And for added incentive for this season, Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta has a photo of the scoreboard hanging in the locker room to remind them of the score.
“Sure it's a motivator,” Botta said. “One of the goals is to play at Heinz Field, and we want the players to remember the feeling after that loss.”
Franklin Regional is well stocked for that run.
Heading the list of returnees are running back Dane Brown, quarterback Nico Lodovico, middle linebacker Carter Henderson, tight end Adam Mihoci, wide receiver Charan Singh and linemen Luke Fleck, Sean Miller and Joey McGuire.
Botta had to replace members of the defensive secondary, wide receiver corps and a couple inside linebackers. There also are five new assistant coaches that Botta hired.
“I'm concerned about the transition and how they work with the players,” Botta said. “We have to get the players to believe in the new coaches.”
One change Botta is thrilled about is the new conference.
Gone are the Keystone Conference trips to Fayette County to play Albert Gallatin, Uniontown and Laurel Highlands. It's back to the Greater Allegheny Conference. The Panthers, along with Greensburg Salem, Derry and Hollidaysburg, join Highlands, Indiana, Mars, Knoch and Hampton from the Greater Allegheny.