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Franceschelli catches on

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LHS senior wide receiver makes impact

By Robert Howey

 

Lancaster High School senior wide receiver Austin Franceschelli is making the most of his senior season.

At the same time, the 5-9, 160-pounder will tell you he wishes the Bruins’ record – 2-7, 0-5 – was better.

Still, Franceschelli’s contribution can’t be overlooked.

Through nine games, he has 11 catches for 152 yards, a 13.8-yards per catch average, a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

“This is my senior year to show what I got,” said Franceschelli, a two-year varsity member. “You can go to me.”

The Bruins have this season, with his first career catch going for a touchdown in Lancaster’s 19-7 win over Central of Pageland in week three.

“That was pretty exciting,” he said. “When I caught it in the end zone, I got hit and I just wanted to hold on.

“When I got to the sideline, it hit me that my first high school catch went for a touchdown,” Franceschelli said. “That was pretty cool.”

Actually, Franceschelli’s first points as a varsity player came in the Bruins’ opener at county rival Andrew Jackson.

After the Bruins’ first score, he was the holder on the conversion kick and bobbled the snap.

“That was pretty much my fault, so I just picked up the ball, dodged a tackler and got in the end zone for the two points,” he said.

Franceschelli’s chance to contribute is the result of hard work over the last year.

LHS assistant coach Joe Watson has seen it all come to fruition.

“Franceschelli has done a good job in the weight room getting stronger and working hard this summer in 7 on 7 drills to help his game,” Watson said. “He has done what we asked of him and made some good third-down catches for us this season that have helped us offensively continue to stay on the field and move the ball.”

Franceschelli said he saw it as a way to contribute.

“I wanted to make the team better,” he said. “I was doing it to help us be prepared for the season.”

Franceschelli’s weight room work includes a 225-pound bench press, 320 squat and 410 dead lift.

“Fran’s gotten a lot stronger which has helped him  make an impact with our football team,” LHS coach Bennie McMurray said. “He also has good wheels and is dedicated to do all he can for the team. He’s stepped up with his opportunity to play. Fran has seized the moment in his senior year.”

With only two weeks left in the LHS season, Franceschelli said the Bruins must make the most of their chances to halt the slide.

“If we play like we’re capable and take advantage of our opportunities, I think we can win tonight at Rock Hill,” Franceschelli said. “We tend to put our heads down when things go bad, but we have to keep our heads up and keep fighting.”

Franceschelli not only meets the challenge on the field, but also in his studies with a 3.8 grade point average and a No. 21 ranking in the LHS class of 2014.

“My grades will get me a lot father than football,” he said. “I try to keep my grades going. If I don’t, then my parents will kick my butt.”

As for the football season, he had his share of rewards.

“It’s new for me and I wish I had a few more catches,” he said. “It’s been fun and I love helping and being able to contribute to the team.”