Tyrone prepares to face star QB in semifinals

When you consider the quarterbacks Tyrone’s John Franco has coached or coached against in a tenure that has now extended into its fifth decade, there have been some very good ones.

In the early 90s there was Steve Taneyhill at Altoona, a player who would start four seasons at South Carolina. Later in the decade there was Central’s Christian Bridenbaugh. In the early 2000s his teams went head-to-head with Seton LaSalle’s Bill Stull, a player who set national passing records and would go on to start at Pitt. A few years later he coached his own son Stevie, who passed for nearly 7,000 yards and became a defensive starter at IUP.

When it comes to the top throwers in the commonwealth, Franco has seen them all, and he rates Central senior Jeff Hoenstine among the elite.

“Hoenstine is one of the best players, not just Central Pennsylvania and District 6, but the state has seen over his four-year career,” Franco said. “He’s a phenomenal player, no doubt about it. He’s the guy who makes everything go. They’ve got some other good ball players. But the thing that gets you is you can have them completely defended, and he just goes haywire and finds a way to make a play. They are a threat from anywhere on the field because of number 2. He is just one of the best football players I have ever seen in this area, and I have seen a lot, maybe more than most. He may be Number 1.”

That’s hefty praise for Hoenstine and a sobering assessment of the challenge facing Tyrone Friday when the Golden Eagles host Central in the District 6 3A semifinals at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field. At 8-2, Tyrone enters as the No. 2 seed, while Central, also 8-2, is No. 3 and the two-time defending champion.

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