Broncos eye home playoff game

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 10, 2007

WINDSOR—The ability to make the big play when it counts is the signature of a great football program. Franklin High School proved Friday night it can still play with the big boys.

Leading just 20-12 in the third quarter, the Broncos broke several big plays on offense and defense and went on to beat Windsor 40-12 in a regular-season-ending Tri-Rivers District football game for both teams.

The Broncos (8-2) have secured a Region A, Group A, Division 1 playoff spot. The state power rankings will come out on Monday. Speculation is that Franklin will have a home game Friday night and it could be a rematch against Colonial Beach, a team the Broncos lost to earlier in the season. The Drifters beat West Point 47-6 Friday night.

&uot;Now you go into the second season, the most important season,&uot; said Darren Parker, Franklin head coach. &uot;You lose then you go home for a year.&uot;

For Windsor (6-4), the season ended on a sour note, despite the best campaign in a long time for the Dukes.

The Broncos opened a 20-6 halftime lead despite the two teams being almost even in total yardage. The difference was Franklin making quality defensive stops and Windsor committing costly penalties.

Franklin opened the scoring on its first possession when Antonio Smith ran 63 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown at 9:28 of the first quarter. James Jervey missed the extra point kick to keep the Franklin lead at 6-0.

Windsor then went on a 17-play drive, which resulted in no points.

With the ball on the Franklin 6, the Dukes committed two false-start penalties. On a fourth-and-goal from the eight, Franklin dropped Brooklyn Presson for a 7-yard loss on a pitchout.

Franklin took the ball on its own 15 and ran 11 plays for its next scoring drive,

scoring on another big play. Quarterback Donzell Shearin bolted 44 yards up the middle for a touchdown with 8:25 left in the half. Jervey’s kick made it 13-0.

Again, on its next possession, Windsor moved the ball down to the Franklin 6 but could not score. On a third-and- goal from the Franklin 6, Franklin’s Lacurt Boone sacked Kwamane Harris for a 10-yard loss.

Harris then threw an incomplete pass to end the drive.

The Broncos again took advantage on big plays. Shearin hit Malik Brown with a 34-yard pass down to the Windsor 37. Two plays later, Isaiah Hudson bolted 31 yards for a touchdown with 1:23 to play in the half.

Jervey upped the lead to 20-0.

Then, the momentum seemed to shift Windsor’s way. With no time left on the halftime clock, Harris threw up a prayer toward the Franklin end zone, which was caught by Chris Horne for a 36-yard touchdown. The lead was down to 20-6.

Windsor surprised Franklin to start the second half with an onside kick. Kicker Ryan Acey recovered his own squib and the Dukes marched

49 yards for a touchdown.

Presson plunged two yards over the goal line with 5:39 to play in the third quarter to cut the Franklin lead to 20-12.

The momentum didn’t last long. On the Broncos’ next possession, Franklin’s Elliott Bottoms raced 42 yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown.

After stopping Windsor on the Franklin 11, Hudson bolted 89 yards all over the field for a touchdown with 10:25 to play in the game to give the Broncos a 33-12 lead.

After the game, a visibly disappointed Bruce Carroll, Windsor head coach, said that his team hurt itself with mistakes.

&uot;No disrespect to Franklin; their kids played hard. But we were inside the 12 three times and made mistakes that hurt us. I thought we could move the ball and score and we made mistakes. We stopped ourselves,&uot;

he said. &uot;When they got the ball back, we couldn’t stop them. That’s something we’ve got to fix in the offseason.&uot;

Execution is something that Parker has preached all season. Franklin was near perfection Friday night.

&uot;We wanted to execute to perfection. Not to take anything away from Windsor; they have a good team. We made a couple of adjustments as a staff and with this offense, sooner or later, something is going to happen,&uot; Parker said.

&uot;We preached at halftime that we wanted to perfect things. We took our time, stayed confident and did what we had to do.&uot;

For the Broncos, Hudson rushed for 128 yards on five carries, Smith gained 111 yards on the ground on seven carries, and Bottoms ran for

82 yards on nine carries.

For the Dukes, Harris rushed for 120 yards on 25 carries and was

11-for-22 for 126 yards through the air.