Frank Stettner has found a football home.
“I love it at Phillipsburg,” said the Stateliner senior running back and linebacker. “I knew as soon as I got here I’d love it. I am so glad I came to school here.”
And if Stettner, who spent three football seasons at Bethlehem Catholic, keeps playing like he did in the Stateliners’ season-opening 47-13 rout of visiting Franklin Friday night in a Mid-State 37 Delaware Division game, the love from the Maloney Stadium crowd for Stettner will be mutual.
The 6-foot, 200-pound senior scored two touchdowns the first two times he touched the ball in the Garnet-and-Gray, on 1- and 4-yard runs.
“That might be a record,” Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy said.
When Stettner wasn’t scoring touchdowns he was stuffing Warrior ball carriers with punishing, physical hits from his linebacker spot.
It’s a good way to make friends at Phillipsburg.
“He’s a really good player,” Stateliner senior linebacker and tight end Sean Morrosaid. “I’m glad we have him.”
Duffy uses Stettner in his “heavy” package around the goal line, and Stettner’s hard-churning legs and sledgehammer style suit that perfectly. It’d be easy to see Stettner becoming a specialty short-yardage back, though with junior Joe Green(133 yards Friday) and sophomore Abdul Salahuddin (52 yards), carries may be hard to come by.
But if it’s just the “heavy” package, Stettner will be fine.
“When they put me in down at the goal line, I want to be sure to score,” he said.
Stettner has already scored big with the Phillipsburg fans, to be sure. And while he did attend Becahi for ninth, 10th and part of 11th grade, he really is a Stateliner deep down.
“My grandfather, Frank, went to Phillipsburg, my mother went to Phillipsburg and my father played football for Phillipsburg,” said Stettner, who grew up in Harmony Township and attended school there before Becahi.
It’s no surprise, then, when Stettner said he loves the culture at Phillipsburg. That’s probably at least in part because he clicks with it like a long-lost key for a valued lock.
“Frank’s a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Duffy said. “He fits in well on the Phillipsburg team.”
Stettner played a significant role Friday in hemming in Franklin’s dangerous dual-threat senior quarterback Tony Scott, whose ability to improvise and keep plays alive made him a ceaseless worry for the Stateliners.
“We knew the quarterback was a threat,” Stettner said. “We just played hard and made sure we knew where he was.”
Stettner made an impression in his P’burg debut – and Phillipsburg has made one on him.
“It feels great to be a Stateliner,” Stettner said.
Brad Wilson may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.