Football - Franklin Regional vs Hempfield

October 15, 2022

Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0791Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0791

Franklin Regional Claims Conference Title with 56-21 Rout of Hempfield on Senior Night 

In a season where the answer to the question "Who is the top team in the Class 5A Big East Conference?" seemed to change every week, Franklin Regional can clear space in the trophy case for the hardware that puts that query to rest. The Panthers put on an impressive performance over upstart Hempfield in securing their first conference title since 2013 with a 56-21 senior night rout of the visiting Spartans on Friday, October 14, at Panther Stadium in Murrysville.

Classification changes and conference realignments prior to the season set up the Big East conference to be one of the most competitive in the WPIAL. Recent WPIAL champions Penn-Trafford and Gateway were in the conversation from day one, and Hempfield created a buzz with their 5-0 start, the best in 50 years. Plum and Norwin round out the schedules in a rare geographically contiguous conference where all of the members share a border with another. Decades long rivalries and short travel distances for visiting fans make every game an upset opportunity for the hungry underdog. So while the early season buzz shifted weekly between Gateway, Penn-Trafford, and Hempfield, it was Franklin Regional who quietly came to work, lunchbox in hand, winning conference games and reigning at the top of the Big East when it matters most.

Packed stands on both sides and a large media presence that supported the pregame hype saw Hempfield open with a decent kickoff return to start the game. But after notching a quick first down, the Spartans offense stalled and they turned the ball over on downs to the Panthers in good field position. 

The Panthers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Quarterback Roman Sarnic got the ground game started with a pair of first down runs before handing off to senior running back Zach Bewszka for a 30-yard touchdown run. Joey Bayne added the first of his 8 successful extra point kicks to make it 7-0 at the 8:21 mark of the quarter.

The Panthers got their Sarnic to Ayden Hudock passing connection fired up on their next possession as a 41-yard strike made the score 14-0 with 3:54 on the first quarter clock.

Hempfield's continued troubles getting their offense on track led to another Franklin Regional possession and a pair of scores inside the final minute of the quarter. The versatile dual-threat Sarnic ran 16 yards before being upended and landing on his back in the end zone for the Panthers third touchdown with 51 seconds on the clock. Sarnic was the man on the scene again only 14 seconds later as he pounced on a Hempfield fumble at the Spartans 33 yard line. One play later, Sarnic found Hudock wide open in the end zone for the fourth Franklin Regional touchdown of the quarter with only 24 seconds having elapsed since their third score.  

The Panthers first possession of the second quarter was highlighted by Hudock taking a pass over the middle and sprinting 43 yards before being brought down on a shoestring tackle. Sophomore running back Kyle Dupill, pressed into service when Bewszka went down with an injury in the first quarter, got the Panthers next points with his 17-yard touchdown run at 7:52 remaining in the half.      

Hempfield fought back, finally getting on the scoreboard at 3:48 on the second quarter clock. Junior quarterback Keiran Lippman, pressed into starting duties following an injury to 1000-yard passer Jake Phillips against Gateway, hooked up with senior receiver Daniel Katonka from 26 yards out. Joshua Reilly added the extra point kick and the Spartans trailed 35-7. 

Hempfield quickly followed up with another Lippman to Katonka touchdown strike at 1:40 left in the half, and the Spartans faithful sensed a comeback in the making at 35-14. But Hudock put that idea to bed 13 seconds later when he returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the house. The teams went into their respective locker rooms at halftime with Franklin Regional comfortably in front 42-14.

Sarnic put the game into mercy rule running clock status with his 15-yard touchdown run two minutes into the third quarter. The versatile Hudock added the final touchdown for the Panthers when he took a handoff from Sarnic and ran around left end to paydirt from 8 yards away. The dynamic duo of Sarnic and Hudock were responsible for 6 of the 8 Panthers scores and a fumble recovery. It is rumored that they were also seen during pregame taping teammates ankles in the training room and collecting tickets at the gate, but those reports were unconfirmed. 

Hempfield's workhorse running back Gino Caesar found the end zone for the Spartans with a fourth quarter run from 5 yards out to make it 56-21, capping another 100 yards plus performance for the senior.  

Franklin Regional (5-2, 4-0) travels to North Hills next Friday for a non-conference game before their regular season finale at rival Penn-Trafford on 10/28. Regardless of the outcome against PT, the Panthers are assured of handing head coach Lance Getsy his first finish as the top dog in the conference by virtue of their early season win over Gateway. 

Hempfield (5-3, 1-2) needs to stop a 3-game skid that jeopardizes their playoff hopes following lopsided losses to Gateway, Seneca Valley, and Franklin Regional. They can right the ship with wins in their remaining conference games, next week against Plum and the season finale against Norwin on 10/28. Both games will be in front of the home crowd at Spartans Stadium, but as this season has proven, any matchup is a potential dogfight in the Big East Conference.  

Watch this link for a full gallery of action photos available for purchase or sharing the day after the game

Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8103Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8103 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0167Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0167 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0203Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0203 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0271Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0271 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0303Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0303 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8165Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8165 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0311Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0311 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0370Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0370 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0406Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0406 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0446Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0446 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0489Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0489 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0522Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0522 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0575Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0575 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0584Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0584 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0645Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0645 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0659Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0659 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0666Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0666 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0671Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0671 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0689Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0689 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0748Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0748 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0780Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0780 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0791Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0791 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0795Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0795 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0889Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0889 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0934Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0934 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0962Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0962 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0995Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_0995 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1040Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1040 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1083Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1083 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1107Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1107 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1158Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1158 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1196Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1196 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1278Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1278 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1306Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1306 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1328Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1328 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1370Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1370 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1391Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1391 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8407Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8407 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8449Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8449 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1469Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1469 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1487Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1487 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1500Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1500 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1525Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1525 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1622Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1622 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1628Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1628 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1652Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1652 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1654Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1654 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1676Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1676 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8464Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8464 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1695Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1695 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1711Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1711 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1729Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1729 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1739Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1739 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1775Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1775 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1796Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1796 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1812Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1812 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1825Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1825 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1858Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1858 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1882Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1882 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1959Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_1959 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8556Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8556 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2037Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2037 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2065Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2065 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2158Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2158 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2184Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2184 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2234Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2234 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2250Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2250 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2300Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2300 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2332Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2332 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2356Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2356 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2418Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2418 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2533Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2533 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2568Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2568 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2627Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-KR1_2627 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8670Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8670 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8734Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8734 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8783Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8783 Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8796Football_FR vs Hempfield_20221014-WP1_8796