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Updated 10/31/08

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Hurricanes move on in playoffs

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Tonight’s first round playoff game at Taggart Stadium opened with the Hurricanes scoring after just two plays. The Canes scored again less than a minute later after just four more plays had been run. In just 2 minutes and five seconds helped by two fumble recoveries, New Castle with only one offensive possession had a 13-0 lead. The Canes’ team speed would lead to two more touchdowns in the first quarter and New Castle easily moved on to the second round of the WPIAL playoffs with a 53-20 win over Franklin Regional.

            Franklin Regional received the opening kickoff and on their second play from scrimmage fumbled. Brandon Burley scooped up, the ball like an infielder, at the 44 yard line and sprinted to the end zone putting the Canes ahead 7-0 after the PAT.

            The Panthers ran only one play on their second possession fumbling again with the Canes recovering at the 20 yard line.

            A nine yard run by Burley and a penalty on Franklin Regional set the Canes up at the six yard line and Michael Bongivengo carried the ball to the end zone to put New Castle up 13-0 after a failed attempt for two points on the PAT.

            Franklin Regional took the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field mixing running and passing.  The key play of the drive took place with 5:03 to play in the quarter. From the five yard line the Panthers appeared to score but the touchdown was called back due to an illegal procedure penalty. From the 10 yard line a quick pass over the middle by Franklin Regional was tipped and grabbed out of the air by E. J. Padula at the one yard line. Padula sprinted toward the sideline picking up blockers and didn’t stop running until he reached the opposite end zone for a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown. At the 4:46 mark the Canes led 21-0 after a two point conversion by Bongivengo.

            The Panther’s next possession was a three and out and the Canes took over at their own 15 yard line with 3:01 to play in the first quarter.

            After a 15 yard run by Keith Keene and a 15 yard reception by Michael Razzano, Keene broke through the line and went 55 yards for a score. At 2:04 after a kick by Jqajuan Jay, New Castle led 27-0.

            New Castle didn’t let up in the second quarter as Razzano intercepted the Panthers at the Canes’ 48 yard line setting up first and 10 at the Franklin Regional 45.

            It took just one play for the Canes to score as Keene went 45 yards for the score at 8:16. The PAT was good and New Castle led 33-0.

            Franklin Regional’s next possession was just one play again and resulted in a fumble which the Canes recovered.

            This time Bongivengo called his own number and sprinted 37 yards for the touchdown. Another good kick by Jay and New Castle’s lead was up to 40-0 with 7:34 left to play in the second quarter.

            The Panthers finally got on the scoreboard hitting a 22 yard TD pass with 4:41 left in the half. That score made the score 40-6 after a failed two point try but more important for Franklin Regional it removed the Mercy Rule option in the second half with the difference in the score less than 35 points.

            An onside kick by the Panthers was recovered by New Castle and after just two plays Keene on a 48 yard run got the Red Hurricanes down to the two yard line. Bongivengo punched it in from the two giving the Canes a 40 point edge after a failed PAT.

            The half ended that way and the Panthers would face a running clock in the second half in their effort to come back.

            Franklin Regional got back on the scoreboard at the 7:37 mark but Canes answered with a 61 yard run by Justin Fleo making it 53-13 Canes after a blocked PAT.

            The Panthers won the battle of the reserves when they ran back the ensuing kick off 80 yards making the final score 53-20 Hurricanes.

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