Football - Franklin Regional vs Shaler
Franklin Regional routs previously unbeaten Shaler 55-7.
What a difference a week can make. Seven days after being stung by a 20-point loss to border rival Gateway, Franklin Regional responded with a 55-7 rout of previously unbeaten Shaler in a WPIAL Class 5A non-conference battle on Friday, September 22, at Panther Stadium in Murrysville.
The game started on a fast pace with both teams putting up quick scores. The Panthers scored first on a Chase Lemke to Ayden Hudock 51-yard touchdown pass only 2 minutes and 26 seconds into the game, with Joey Bayne kicking the PAT. Shaler responded a minute and 40 seconds later when Joe DeSabato grabbed a 38-yard touchdown pass from Keegan Smetanka. Riley Douglas booted the PAT, and the game was knotted at 7-7.
It was as close as Shaler would get for the rest of the game. Franklin Regional went on a 48-point unanswered scoring run, in which all aspects of their game - offense, defense, and special teams - made big contributions to the victory. The Panthers' scoring barrage began with a pair of Chase Lemke short touchdown runs, one late in the first quarter and one early in the second, and Bayne's PAT's made it 21-7 Franklin Regional. When a penalty called back a Kyle Dupill touchdown run for the Panthers, Dupill simply repeated the scoring run with no penalty flags thrown, and Bayne booted the PAT for a 28-7 lead. Austin Kerns gave Franklin Regional a 35-7 lead at intermission when he scooped a Shaler fumble off the carpet and ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown inside the last 30 seconds of the first half.
Franklin Regional continued to pour it on throughout the second half. Hudock's 9-yard touchdown run put the game into mercy rule status with over 8 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Even with the running game clock, the Panthers had enough time to add a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns to their total. Senior Nick Purdue scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown, but the PAT kick failed. Elijah Bennett's 15-yard interception return for a TD, and Joey Bayne's 7th PAT kick at 4:40 to play ended the scoring, as the Panthers beat Shaler with a final score of 55-7.
Franklin Regional (3-2, 0-1) is back in conference action next Friday night as they travel to another longtime border rival, Plum. Next up for Shaler (4-1, 0-0) is the opening contest in their conference schedule, as they will host Woodland Hills on Saturday.
Follow this link for a gallery of over 400 action photos from this game, available for purchase or social media sharing.
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