MELROSE PARK — Guerin may have found a quarterback Saturday during its wire to wire 34-14 Metro Suburban East win over Walther Christian.
Sophomore quarterback Richie Zacharias, playing with a fever, snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down and found junior wideout Keith Franklin (6-4, 190) twice for touchdowns to lift the Gators to the victory.
Not everything went well for the young QB, as the Broncos sacked Zacharias twice and also intercepted him two times, including once that resulted in an 85-yard TD return by junior Corey Pugh. He would later add another pick of Zacharias in the fourth quarter.
“Yeah, I wasn’t feeling too well, but if you’re sick, you got to keep on going,” Zacharias said. “We got the win and that’s all that matters. … I don’t blame me being sick for anything. If I have to play being sick, that’s on me. I have to keep going and try my hardest.”
The TD strikes to Franklin went for 29 and 16 yards, respectively. Franklin actually set up his first score. Kevin Smith dropped back to punt for the Broncos (0-7, 0-4) and Franklin blocked the kick after a high snap. The Gators (3-4, 2-1) took advantage and would go into halftime with a 27-8 lead.
“We just set up a game plan in practice to block the punt,” Franklin said.
Guerin coach Glen Kozlowski is high on Franklin’s abilities.
“Keith is a great player and he’s only going to get better,” Kozlowski said. “He’s a junior that has a lot of upside, so we’re excited to have him here.”
Guerin’s lone score in the second half came with 8:07 left, when Julio Roldan raced 25 yards to the end zone.
With this win, Guerin kept its playoff hopes alive. It heads to Ridgewood on Friday in a do-or-die situation for both teams.
“Ridgewood is the same as us,” Kozlowski said. “We kind of like it right now. We’re a little better with our backs against the wall. At this time of year, we’re all in the same boat. Ridgewood’s in the same boat, too. So it’ll be a great game for both teams.”