No. 9 Franklin Regional rebounds behind Zanotto, Birty
Franklin Regional hoped to bounce back from last week's season-opening loss to Knoch, while Hollidaysburg wanted to keep the momentum going after a lopsided victory over Yough in Week 1.
When the dust settled in Friday's Greater Allegheny Conference game, Franklin Regional stood tall with a 33-7 victory over the Golden Tigers.
With the win, No. 9 Franklin Regional (1-1, 1-1) avoided its first 0-2 start since 2003, its final year in Quad A.
“We've faced a lot of obstacles early on with things like injuries and the loss (to Knoch), but the kids were resilient,” Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. “I am very proud of them.”
Franklin Regional's ground game was effective against the Golden Tigers (1-1, 1-1), racking up 381 yards rushing on 39 attempts.
Maryland recruit Brett Zanotto, who left last week's 22-7 loss at Knoch in the third quarter with an injury, played only on the offensive side of the ball and had a team-best 156 yards on 16 carries and touchdown runs of 44, 17 and 3 yards.
“I wasn't sure about Brett until the doctor cleared him for offense,” Botta said. “Losing him last week on both sides of the ball is a big key. It was nice to see him run hard like we know he can.”
Panthers junior quarterback Santino Birty added 114 yards on 10 carries, and senior tailback Dom Giannangeli, who missed the game against Knoch because of injury, entered the game in the second half and added 77 yards and a 17-yard touchdown run on five carries.
“Franklin Regional did a nice job with their run game,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said. “They had a nice read-option scheme. We had guys in pretty good position most of the time, but we just didn't tackle well.”
Franklin Regional led 13-7 at halftime, and it could have been more.
The Panthers had a first-and-goal at the Hollidaysburg 1 early in the second quarter. However, two fumbles, including one recovered by the Golden Tigers, scuttled FR's scoring chances.
Hollidaysburg closed the gap late in the second quarter on a fourth-down 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Bickley to wideout Chris Gildea. Bickley finished the game 9 of 21 for 48 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also paced the Golden Tigers' rushing attack with 72 yards on 11 carries.
But Franklin Regional junior Jacob Ross returned the second-half kickoff 96 yards for a 20-7 lead.
“It's a battle in this conference every week,” DeLattre said. “We have seven more games, and we have seven more tough teams.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.