Senior midfielder Kranick setting the table for Franklin Regional attack
For a moment, think of Franklin Regional soccer player Auston Kranick in basketball terms, as a point guard.
He sets up the offense. He controls the tempo. He directs the symphony when the ball crosses that center line.
“Yeah, but he is a point guard who can score,” Panthers coach Rand Hudson said. “He does a little of everything for us.”
To emphasize a point on being patient last year, Hudson told his team the only way to eat an elephant was take one bite at a time. The Panthers dined sufficiently in the WPIAL but remain hungry in the state bracket. Kranick has helped to set the table.
A senior midfielder and all-state player, he is the leading scorer for the Panthers (19-0-1), who moved into the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals with a 5-1 victory over Bellefonte on Tuesday night in North Huntingdon.
Franklin Regional, fresh off its first WPIAL championship in boys soccer, will take on District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (20-1) in the quarterfinals Saturday at Slippery Rock High School for a spot in the state final four.
A blue Nike band wrapped around his head, Kranick scored his 18th goal of the season against Bellefonte. He delivered a pinpoint assist -- his 10th -- to freshman Anthony DiFalco in the WPIAL championship, a 1-0 win over West Allegheny.
“He settles the game down and helps to set the tone,” Hudson said of Kranick. “We can dip him into the midfield. He can get us possession and then run out.”
An Arsenal FC Cup player, Kranick said his role for the Panthers is threefold.
“A need to be a leader, a goal scorer and someone who helps us create chances,” he said. “I know what kind of guys I have around me. If we continue to play our game, we know no one can touch us.”
While many Panthers likely will play in college -- senior Matt Kimmich is headed to Grove City; DiFalco already is turning heads -- Kranick could be the lone Division I prospect in the senior class. He said he has serious interest from Seton Hall and Louisville.