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WPIAL

Penn-Trafford Tops Franklin Regional in OT Classic, 28-21

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Images by Jared Todhunter

HARRISON CITY, Pa. — The Penn-Trafford Warriors came through with a playoff-saving victory over the Franklin Regional Panthers 28-21 in the final game of the 2022 regular season on Friday.

With the win, the Warriors find themselves in a potential wildcard spot heading into WPIAL playoffs. Following the loss for the Panthers, they still sit comfortably as the No. 1 seed from the WPIAL Class-5A Big East Conference. The Panthers split the rights of the Big East conference crown with the Gateway Gators.

A rivalry matchup between the defending champions and the current top-seed had all of the makings of a tense, hard-fought game. On the opening kickoff, the Warriors’ Tommy Kalkstein returned the ball to the Pathers side of the field which helped kick-start the P-T offense. On the same drive, Temple commit Conlan Greene scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown to start the scoring.

The Panthers answered with an opening-drive touchdown of their own. After an 11-play drive, Franklin quarterback Roman Sarnic ran for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.

The defense for both squads then began to step-up as the next two drives ended in a punt and a turnover-on-downs. On the Warriors third drive, they struck fast with a 30-yard touchdown from Greene to junior Carmen Metcalfe. On the play, Greene was pressured and forced to scramble out of the pocket to make a strike to Metcalfe, who then made a few people miss in route to a score.

The Warriors had a chance to jump out to a sizable-lead heading into halftime as they were driving into Pathers territory with a healthy mixture of the run-and-pass. This was until Andrew Devola forced a fumble with under 20 seconds left with his sack of Greene, effectively ending the first half. The score was 14-7 in favor of the Warriors leading into halftime.

Franklin Regional scored 1:08 into the half on a throw by Roman Sarnic that had a chance of being intercepted. Playmaker Ayden Hudock made a juggling-catch and ran it in for a game-tying touchdown.

Late in the third quarter the craziness of this game began to ensue.

It appeared as if the Panthers were going to take the lead on a 33-yard touchdown run by Zach Brewszka but the play was called back due to a holding call. The drive delievered another crazy play as the Panthers were facing a 4th-and-7 from the Warriors’ 31-yard line when Sarnic looked to be sacked but he managed to escape the pile of players and ran for 17 yards and a first down. He capped the drive off with a 5-yard touchdown, his second rushing touchdown of the night, giving the Panthers a 21-14 lead.

On the following drive, Greene was intercepted by Owen Sinclair and the Warriors hopes began to look bleak. That was until Carmen Metcalfe forced a fumble, and Greene recovered it, giving the ball back to the Warriors.

Penn-Trafford used this spark and tied the game on a 3-yard touchdown run by Owen Demeri. The score was now 21-21 with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter.

Sarnic looked to lead the Panthers on a game-winning drive late in regulation, but Tommy Kalkstein had other plans. Kalkstein intercepted Sarnic’s pass to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Warriors began with the ball and scored on a Greene rushing attempt. The Panthers could not match the touchdown, ending the game with a score of 28-21.

As the regular season wraps up, the playoffs are around the corner. The official bracket and matchups will be announced at 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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