Football - Norwin vs Franklin Regional

October 08, 2022

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Franklin Regional Crashes Norwin Homecoming with 35-0 Thumping 

It wasn't a masterpiece work of art for Franklin Regional. But at the end of the night, the Panthers painted their way to a convincing win as they thumped host Norwin 35-0 on Friday, October 7, on Homecoming Night at Norwin Knights Stadium in North Huntingdon. 

Franklin Regional won the toss and deferred, giving the Knights offense the first crack at the ball. After picking up a first down, the Knights punted on 4th-and-4, setting the Panthers up at their own 30. But Franklin Regional mishandled a snap out of the shotgun on third down, and the resulting loss set up a 4th-and 29, forcing the Panthers to punt back to the Knights. 

Franklin Regional capitalized on a mistake on Norwin's next possession when Ayden Hudock intercepted a Nicholas Urey pass and set the Panthers up in good field position. The Panthers worked the ball down to the 23 yard line, where Zach Bewszka carried into the end zone for the game's first points. Joey Bayne's PAT made the score 7-0 at 2:57 of the first.

Only 97 seconds later, with Norwin operating from their own 18, Hudock grabbed his second pick, on a pass by Luke Denny, returning this one to the house untouched for a double digit Franklin Regional lead. A penalty on the PAT kick forced a redo from long range, and Bayne missed on the second go around. Franklin Regional led 13-0 with 1:20 remaining in the opening quarter.

Norwin punted two plays into the second quarter, but got the ball back quickly when they recovered a Roman Sarnic fumble at midfield. The two teams then exchanged unproductive possessions with punts, and Norwin went to work on offense again. 

Norwin put Jackson Pons into their backfield and he ignited a spark for the Knights, hitting Stephen Rodgers with a 29-yard pass to the 7 yard line. Then Norwin appeared to get on the scoreboard, but Denny's 7-yard run that ended with him diving to the pylon was called back on a holding penalty. Norwin lost ground on the ensuing plays of the series, and Joey Castle's 40-yard field goal attempt on fourth down failed when it hit the crossbar.

Bewszka moved the Panthers to the Norwin 30 with a 39-yard run in the final two minutes of the half. But the Knights caught Sarnic for sacks a couple of times, setting up Franklin Regional with 3rd-and-25 from the 35 with 7 ticks left on the second quarter clock. Sarnic's pass into the end zone ended the half when Pons snatched it out of the air for an interception.

Following a halftime performance by the Franklin Regional marching band, Norwin crowned Jocelyn Boyd as Homecoming Queen and Mike Mihalov as Homecoming King.

Any hope that the Knights had as the third quarter opened faded quickly as Bewska took a pass 68 yards to the end zone on the second play from scrimmage. Bayne booted the PAT to make it 20-0 for the Panthers. 

Starting from their own 20 following the kickoff, Pons appeared to gain good yardage but fumbled the ball to the Panthers on the Norwin 44 after possessing the ball for only 10 seconds. Sarnic made them pay for the error on the next play, hitting Hudock deep for a 44-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-0 with Bayne's kick. 

Sarnic connected with Hudock for points one more time in the fourth quarter as they hooked up for 45 yards with 9:37 left to play. A Sarnic to Bewszka 2-point conversion pass bumped the Franklin Regional lead to 35-0 and triggered the mercy rule running clock for the remainder of the game. Starters were pulled from the game and Norwin never seriously threatened as the game ended with Franklin Regional recording the 35-0 victory. 

Next up for Franklin Regional (4-2, 3-0), who sits alone atop the Class 5A Big East Conference standings, is a home game with Class 5A newcomer Hempfield Area. Norwin (1-6, 0-3) faces Class 6A powerhouse North Allegheny in a non-conference game at home.

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

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