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3A Sectional 31 Round 1- Greensburg 27, Franklin County 26

Greensburg-  Friday’s 3A Sectional 31 football opening round game was not decided until Greensburg’s Corbin Mathews intercepted his second pass of the night.  It came with under 30 seconds to play on Franklin County’s final and potentially game winning drive as the Pirates held on to win 27-26 at Shriver Field.

This game was part of our Margaret Mary Health Fall Sports Webcast Schedule and can be seen again in 720p HD by clicking here.

All the indicators were there for this rematch to be close between the two EIAC schools.  Greensburg beat Franklin County in Brookville on September 27 by a touchdown.  That was one of the last five meetings which have been decided by an average of six points.

Both teams came into the postseason with a 5-4 record overall, finished 2-1 in their conference and went 2-1 in October.  The current Sagarin Ratings suggested the visitors from Brookville were a slight three-point favorite after factoring in a home field bonus for the Pirates.

Friday’s game more than lived up to its cozy expectations.  It was close. It was competitive.  It was a great game.

The Wildcats opening drive saw one first down but no more as Pirate middle linebacker Eric Lowe added to his team-leading tackle total (77 entering play) with a third down stop for a loss to force a punt.

Greensburg took possession at its own 34 and scored in seven plays.  The setup was a third down, 34-yard quarterback sweep to the left by Toby Brogan which placed the ball on the FC 15.  Jalen Woods then took the handoff from Brogan and shot through a gap off right tackle for a 15-yard touchdown.  Ben Bausback kicked his 24th extra point of the season and GCHS led 7-0 with 5:33 to go in the first quarter.

On Franklin County’s next series, the Wildcats faced a 4th-and-2 on its own 40.  The Cats rolled the dice and fell short of the first down marker as Lowe tackled the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage.

Taking over on downs at the FC 40, the Pirates scored in just 92 seconds.  Big plays were a 15-yard burst up the middle by Brogan and a 14-yard off tackle tote by Woods to the one.  Brogan then went in standing up on the drive’s fourth play.  The PAT was good and Greensburg now led 14-0 with 1:03 left in the opening period.

The Wildcats’ offensive woes continued on their next possession.  After three plays totaling three yards, Franklin County looked to punt, but that attempt was blocked by Daimon Austin giving his Pirates great field position at the FC 34.

It looked like the hosts were well on their way to going up three scores.  After an offensive holding penalty, a pass from Brogan to Avery Moore went for 28 yards to the Wildcat 10.  But Franklin County’s defense finally came up with a stop and a big play.

Forcing the Pirates into a field goal opportunity from close range, the Wildcats’ Kaden Erfman and his 6’2” frame slipped through the Pirate line to block the 24-yard try.  The ball was recovered several yards behind the attempt and was carried to the Franklin County 46 by Zach Jewell.

It was just the type of play the Brookville boys were in need of as they later turned the special team’s gem into seven points.

Up to this point, Greensburg’s defense had held Franklin County’s leading rusher Hunter Tschaenn (1318 yards entering play) in check.  But on the second play of this series, Tschaenn was on the back end of a reverse and ran the ball down the right sideline for 33 yards to the GB 21.

Story continues.

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