Dragons open Region 5 play with win over Franklin

Warren’s Colin Blair controls possession during Thursday’s Region 5 opener at Franklin

FRANKLIN, Pa. – On the strength of six second-half goals, the Warren Dragons got Region 5 play off on the right foot with a 7-0 win over Franklin on Thursday.

Griffin Suppa scored all three of his goals in the final 40 minutes, Caleb Lindell had two goals and an assist and Luke Smelko scored his first varsity goal for the Dragons.

“In the first half we didn’t look too good; we had opportunities and just didn’t cash them in,” said Warren coach Denny Flatt. “We’re capable of playing a lot better. In the second half we made some adjustments and they paid off.’

While the offense found life in the second half, the defense was its usual dominant self.

Damon Navaroli, making his first varsity start, was part of that effort, as was Tyler Gustafson (center back). Tommy Harrington earned the shutout in net.

Warren’s Griffin Suppa pushes the ball upfield Thursday at Franklin. Suppa recorded a hat trick in the Dragons’ 7-0 win.

“We’ve only given up two goals in four games,” noted Flatt. “Our defense is playing really well.

The Dragons scored just before the end of the half, with four seconds left, as Lindell got his first off a feed from Navaroli. Andy Beyer scored at the 48:43 mark in the second half to make it 2-0 off a feed from Devon Navroli.

After that, Suppa began his scoring splurge, scoring all three of his goals in the span of four minutes.

The first came via Colin Blair, the second was unassisted and the third was courtesy of Devon Navaroli.

“Our ball-handling was sloppy at times (in the first half) and we didn’t string together enough passes,” noted Flatt. “We looked much better in the second half.”

Smelko’s marker came at the 69:50 mark off a feed from Lindell, and Lindell scored with just over a minute left, courtesy of Suppa.

In total, 21 Dragons saw varsity action.

“The bench played well and were able to get their feet wet,” noted Flatt.

Warren (3-1 overall, 1-0 Region 5) returns to action on Saturday, hosting General McLane in a non-region showdown at 11 a.m. at War Memorial Field.

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JV: Warren 6, Franklin 0

J.T. Blum recorded three goals as the JV Dragons rolled to a 6-0 victory.

Ben Berdine added a pair of goals, while Alex Nebinski had the other. Wesley Kiehl dished out four assists.

“Breakout game for J.T. Blum,” said coach Chris Darling. “And Ben Berdine, he always seems to be in the right position. The ball just seems to find him.”

Nebinski and Alex Ferry combined on the shutout in net, while Sean Duckett and Arick Allen helped to anchor down what was an excellent defensive effort.