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Friday December 9 2022
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CoGo's Feature Matchup: Knoch at Franklin Regional

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With the AAA playoff picture clearing, Friday’s tilt between Franklin Regional and Knoch looms large. The Panthers are tied for the best record in the conference but face perhaps their toughest remaining challenge this weekend when the Knights visit.

Panthers coach Greg Botta knows the squad that he is up against is better than their 3-2 record.

“This is the most important game on the schedule. They are physical and getting better each week,” said Botta. “Historically this has been a close game. Turnovers and field position will play a lot into it.”

Aiding Franklin Regional in their quest to finish the year on top of the Greater Allegheny Conference is a potent rushing attack. Charan Singh, Brett Zanotto and Paul Emanuele have all rushed for more than 200 yards this season.

“I’d feature Zanotto. He’s physical and has a great running style, but he is the MVP of our defense. He controls the middle,” Botta said. “Emanuele is a senior who is quick and elusive, but they are difficult on the defensive side of the ball. If you scheme us zone wise, it will be tough no matter who is running.”

Singh is more than just a running threat, as well. The senior quarterback has passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the first five weeks of the season.

“We have to be balanced in what we do defensively. We can’t take chances and we have to have contain,” said Knights head coach Mike King. “The linebackers have to be schooled in gap-control. Our guys can’t do too much or leave their areas of responsibility.”

Knoch isn’t without a playmaker of their own at quarterback, though. Daniel Farinelli has thrown for more than 600 yards, good for the fourth highest total in AAA. He has also tossed six touchdowns.

“We are not going to stop them. They have a good quarterback who throws and runs. We want to stop the run and let them throw,” said Botta. “We are strong in our secondary, so it’s pick our poison and try to just slow them down.”

Adding to Botta’s headache is running back Cody Milsom, who has rushed for over 90 yards in four straight games.

“He’s an incredibly durable player and intense competitor,” King boasted. “To run the football in this conference takes a tough kid, so I can’t say enough CoGo'sabout him.”

The two squads will face off Friday night at Franklin Regional High School.

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