No. 9 Knoch braces for No. 6 Franklin Regional
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Knoch and Franklin Regional haven't played since last year's WPIAL Class AAA semifinals in a game that went down to the final seconds and drew about 8,000 to Valley Memorial Stadium.
Their last matchup could be viewed a couple of ways.
On the surface, it was an instant classic, destined for an A-K Valley highlight reel because of its magnitude and thrilling finish.
“We have called a lot of good games over the years, but that may be the best in terms of the finish,” Knoch longtime radio broadcaster Scott Briggs said.
Or maybe Knoch's 9-7 win was simply a series of three-and-outs interrupted by a few big plays, one of which happened to be a last-second field goal.
Purists and casual observers, have at it.
Either way, ninth-ranked Knoch hopes for the same result Thursday night when the teams — both 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the Greater Allegheny Conference — play in front of a Root Sports television audience. It will be the first live televised home game in Knoch history.
“From a coach's perspective, if we play good defense, we feel we can play with anybody,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “It comes down to two heavyweights going 15 rounds. Whoever is left standing, wins.”
Last year, Kory Wood, who has since graduated, kicked an 18-yard field goal as the final seconds ticked away to springboard Knoch to its first WPIAL championship game appearance since 1992.
Knoch hit a 72-yard pass play to Ben Tackett with 2:47 left. That set up a series of rushes to the Panthers' 1. Knoch nearly lost a fumble but recovered with 3.8 seconds left to set up Wood's field goal.
Both teams have had a short week of practice, Knoch following its first loss of the season, 20-17 at Hampton.
Knoch was missing two key linemen last week. Senior center Travis Fogel (shoulder) and senior guard Joe Colonello (illness) didn't play but could return Thursday.
No. 6 Franklin Regional, meantime, hopes to benefit from the return of senior running back Dane Brown, who has missed three games with an ankle injury.
Brown, who rushed for 1,960 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior, saw limited time in his initial return last week. He threw a touchdown on a half-back option against Knoch last year but was limited to 61 yards rushing.
“Our defense will have its hands full,” King said. “They're as good as they were last year. I don't think our kids will be intimidated. If there's a heart beating in your chest, you want this game.”
And speaking of defense, the Panthers' has been stellar, allowing a Class-AAA-low 31 points in five games.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Pirates notebook: Hart ‘down a few days’ after cutting foot
- No franchise tag for Steelers’ Worilds
- 4th suspect in shooting of Homewood security guard surrenders
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget
- Tax on shale-gas drillers would punish industry, Turzai says
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- LaBar: Is Brock Lesnar leaving WWE again?
- Mark Cuban cast as president in ‘Sharknado 3’
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency