Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Knoch Readies for Big Exam

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Knoch Readies for Big Exam

Article excerpt

There is one downside to playing on television on a Thursday night for members of the Franklin Regional football team rather than having a traditional Friday night game.

Sunday was not the customary day of rest for the Panthers. Instead, they began preparing for their next game a day earlier.

"We had to bring the kids on a Sunday, which they weren't too happy about, but then it evens up because we'll give them Friday off," Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. "They can go on dates or watch football somewhere else and get a chance to do things on a Friday night they wouldn't normally get a chance to do during the season."

Franklin Regional and Knoch will have their work cut out for them Thursday night in a key Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference game at Knoch's Knights Stadium in Saxonburg that will be televised by Root Sports.

Both teams are 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference, where they are in a four-way tie for second place with Hampton and Hollidaysburg. Mars Area is in first place with a 5-0 record.

Franklin Regional and Knoch come in on different ends of the momentum spectrum.

Franklin Regional began the season ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class AAA by the Post-Gazette but was beaten at home by Mars, 21-17, in the season opener. The Panthers responded by winning four games in a row.

Knoch won its first four games before losing at Hampton, 17-14, last Friday night.

"One of the great things about football and sports in general is that it gives you a chance to learn through adversity," Botta said. "Losing the opener was a tough way to start the season, but our kids learned some lessons from it and have gradually gotten better each week since that game."

Knoch coach Mike King was also glad to get back to work a day earlier, hoping the early start would wipe away the taste of the season's first loss after the Knights won their first four games by an average margin of 28.8 points.

"You don't learn a whole lot in blowouts," King said. "We need to learn to adjust in close games. We have to refocus. It's a good chance to put the last game behind us and focus on Franklin Regional, which has an outstanding team. …

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