Franklin Regional’s Colin Jonov returns the ball 70 yards on a interception Friday against Montour.
By Ryan Riordan / Tri-State Sports & News Service
Despite having five starters suspended for violating team rules, Montour led Franklin Regional by a touchdown after the first quarter.
But in the end, Charan Singh was too much for Montour.
Singh, Franklin Regional's senior quarterback, rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 85 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted a pass as the fourth-seeded Panthers (9-1) beat No. 13 Montour (5-5), 42-21, in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round playoff game.
"I love the ball in [Singh's] hands," said Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta. "That's why we moved him [to quarterback], because he's such a threat throwing and running."
The Panthers made it look easy on their first drive. Singh returned a punt 35 yards inside Montour's 25. Three plays later, Singh faked a run and threw a jump pass to Jake Lauer for a 4-yard touchdown to put the hosts up, 7-0.
But the Spartans came back and scored twice within 1:19. First, Tynen Greer ran untouched into the end zone from 20 yards out to tie the score.
Then the Spartans recovered an onside kick, leading to a 9-yard touchdown run by David Haseleu to give Montour a 14-7 lead.
"We said we weren't going to leave anything in the bag tonight," said Montour coach Lou Cerro.
Montour had to take some risks without five starters, including two of its top weapons in Cole Macek and D.J. Payne. Macek was the Spartans' second-leading rusher this season behind Greer with 602 yards, while Payne led the team in receptions (23) and receiving yards (509).
"Lou rallied those kids and that community," Botta said. "He sent a message to that area and probably through the WPIAL. I'm so proud of him for what he did. This is what you do and I hope every other high school coach does the same.
"It's a shame those kids let their football team down. I'm sure it would have been a heck of a lot different game if those kids were here."
The Panthers offense took over on the second play of the second quarter, when Singh kept it on a zone-read play and ran 38 yards for a tying score.
"If the end slants down I keep it, if the end comes to me I give it," said Singh. "The end has been coming down a lot lately, so then it's just me and the safety."
After the Panthers got the ball at the Montour 35, they went to their wildcat package, with Brett Zanotto taking the snaps. Zanotto kept it three consecutive times and scored on a 3-yard run to give the Panthers a lead it never relinquished.
Greer tried to respond, but his deep pass to Carswell was intercepted by Colin Jonov, who returned it 70 yards to the Montour 4.
"That was the biggest play of the game," Cerro said.
Singh scored two plays later to give the Panthers a 28-14 lead heading into halftime.
On the second half's first play from scrimmage, Jonov took a handoff 55 yards for a score.
Montour answered a minute later as Greer hit Zachary Herskovitz on a 55-yard touchdown pass. Greer finished 15 of 29 for 177 yards. He also rushed for 75 yards.
But Greer couldn't pick up a yard when he needed to, as he was stopped short of the first down by Zanotto on a 4th-and-inches in Franklin Regional territory early in the fourth.
Singh hit Jonov on a 43-yard touchdown on the fifth play of the drive to put the game away.
Jonov finished with 128 yards from scrimmage. Paul Emanuele and Zanotto had 78 and 76 yards rushing, respectively, as the Panthers rushed for 360 yards.
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