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Turnovers costly in Tigers’ defeat

October 13, 2012
By Matt Grubba - For the Mirror

MURRYSVILLE - Whenever Hollidaysburg appeared to have something going against Franklin Regional, something backfired for the Golden Tigers.

Hollidaysburg battled against a highly-touted Panthers team, but three costly fumbles and some big plays surrendered in the passing game allowed Franklin Regional to pull away for a Greater Allegheny Conference win on its homecoming night, 35-0.

Quarterback Brian Urban led the offense for Hollidaysburg (3-4, 3-3) with 75 yards rushing and another 26 passing, while Cornell running back recruit Dane Brown led Franklin Regional with 150 total yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.

The Hollidaysburg offense was stifled by a defense that entered the game allowing just seven points per game, but the Tigers' defense was up to the challenge, as nine of the first 10 possessions of the game ended in punts.

Holding a 7-0 lead with 1:54 remaining in the first half, the Panthers had Hollidaysburg's offense backed up to its own 6-yard line and facing a third-and-11.

Urban came through with a huge run that he bounced out to the left sideline, and he crossed midfield with the Franklin Regional defense giving chase.

Defensive back Chris Colucci caught Urban at the 34, and instead of simply tackling him, Colucci hacked the ball out of the quarterback's hands and the Panthers recovered.

"We've got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot," Hollidaysburg coach John Barton said.

"Offensively, that's been one of those things that we've got to shake, but in the same vein, when you've got a great team like Franklin Regional, they create some of those opportunities, too."

On the other sideline, Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta praised the individual play made by his cornerback.

"One of the best linebackers I've ever had, Carter Henderson, made just about his only mistake. He read the play wrong, went the wrong way, and they hit it," Botta said. "Colucci gave a great effort."

Two plays after the fumble, Brown caught a screen pass from Franklin Regional quarterback Nico Lodovico and broke at least two tackles on the way to a 51-yard gain. That set up an 11-yard touchdown scramble by Lodovico with 12 seconds left in the half and gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead.

Despite the late-first-half swing, Barton was pleased with the way his players took on a team that currently sits in a three-way tie atop the conference.

"I asked our kids to go out there with no fear," Barton said. "I told them to lay it on the line and play with a lot of enthusiasm. If you lose a play, go out and win the next play, and I thought they really did that."

Franklin Regional began the second half with the ball, and on its second play, the Hollidaysburg front got to Lodovico. The hit forced the ball to be underthrown, and Urban was there to intercept it.

On the Tigers' first play from scrimmage, however, they fumbled the ball away.

"It's not like we're buried. It's not like we're underwater," Barton said. "The thing I like about this team is that through adversity, they've continued to come back and work hard. If we keep that attitude, we can still achieve what we want to achieve."

Hollidaysburg will host 6-1 Mars next Friday on senior night.

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