PITTSBURGH -- Class 5A could prove to be the strongest in the WPIAL this season and two of the top teams will be featured this week when the C. Harper Auto Group Friday Night Rivals Powered by IGS Energy season continues with Gateway facing Franklin Regional.
The Panthers host the Gators in a matchup of undefeated teams, live at 7 p.m. on 22 the Point and streaming live on 22thepoint.com.
After winning a WPIAL championship a season ago, Gateway is off to a 6-0 start and enters as one of the top-ranked Class 5A teams in the state. Returning double-digit starters including Syracuse wide receiver commit Courtney Jackson, the Gators haven't been tested yet, outscoring opponents 273-34 through six games. Gateway is coming off of back-to-back shutouts over Ringgold and North Hills.
“This matchup is both a great challenge and a great opportunity for our program," Gateway Head Coach Don Holl told 22 the Point.
"I have a ton of respect for Coach Botta, his coaches and players, and the Franklin Regional program as a whole. They have great players who are extremely well-coached and play outstanding football. We are excited and very much looking forward to the challenge of competing with them and also showcasing our football team, band, cheerleaders and student section on Friday Night Rivals on 22 The Point.”
After graduating a large senior class which led them to the 2018 WPIAL quarterfinals, Franklin Regional hasn't lost a step, starting the season 5-0. Led by senior quarterback Adam Rudzinski, the Panthers are navigating a difficult conference with ease so far, aside from a narrow 17-14 victory at Greater Latrobe in Week 2.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be selected for such a great occasion," Franklin Regional Head Coach Greg Botta told 22 the Point.
"Facing Gateway will be a huge challenge. The talent and skill they possess could be the best in the state. However, the coaching staff and the players are excited about the opportunity to play such a great team. We will do our best to rise to the challenge . The excitement is in the air at Franklin and with the players."
Friday's winner will take over first place in the WPIAL's Class 5A Big East conference, and will also earn Route 22 bragging rights.
TIME: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5.
WATCH: 22 the Point (WPNT) (Comcast 812, Dish/DirecTV 22, Verizon FiOS 510, Armstrong 105, Atlantic Broadband 707, Laurel Highlands 422, Citizens 812, Consolidated 710, Shentel 207, Time/Warner 1022)
ONLINE: The broadcast will stream on http://22thepoint.com/.
ANNOUNCERS: Josh Maurer (play-by-play), Geoff Arnold (analyst), Jordan Conigliaro (sidelines).
SOCIAL MEDIA: #FridayNightRivalsPGH, @22ThePoint, @JordanC_WPGH.
2018 PITTSBURGH FRIDAY NIGHT RIVALS SCHEDULE
***ALL GAMES AT 7 P.M. ON 22 THE POINT, WPNT-TV***
Friday Oct 5 Gateway at Franklin Regional
Friday Oct 12 Hopewell at Central Valley
Friday Oct 19 Bethel Park at Peters Township
Friday Oct 26 Pine-Richland at North Allegheny