Sussex Central spanks Franklin

Published 12:50 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

Two weeks ago, Windsor found out that Sussex Central is for real. This week it was Franklin’s turn.

The Tigers rolled up 315 yards of offense, held Franklin to 144 yards (68 on one play) and manhandled the Broncos in every facet of the game in a 32-6 victory in Tri-Rivers District action Friday night.

Sussex (6-3) is one win away from a district championship. The Tigers face rival Surry County at home next Friday. The Tigers were ranked fourth in the region coming into Friday night’s action and have solidified a spot in the Group A Region A Division 1 playoffs.

Franklin (7-2) is in danger of dropping in the regional standings after the loss and finds itself in a must-win game at home against Windsor next Friday. Broncos head coach Darren Parker had harsh words for himself after the game.

“This one, this whole loss right here is on me. That’s it. We didn’t execute. I didn’t execute. It’s on me,” Parker said.

Sussex threw the ball just three times all game but pounded the turf. Earnest Crockett rushed the ball 25 times for 124 yards. Sharbre Judkins also ran the ball 14 times for 77 yards.

The Tigers opened the game by driving the ball all the way down to the Franklin 28-yard line. Quarterback Robert Harris ran the ball to the 5, then fumbled into the end zone for a touchback. The Broncos looked like they had a break but went three and out. Punter Tyler Childress fumbled a bad snap, giving Sussex the ball on the Franklin 11. Three plays later, Judkins rushed 10 yards for a touchdown at 3:55 left in the first quarter. Harris ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Sussex started a drive that lasted nearly six minutes and ended when Crockett burst up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown. Judkins ran in the extra point to up the lead to 16-0.

On its next possession, Franklin moved the ball down to the Sussex 12, but on a fourth-and-inches play, Franklin quarterback Donzell Shearin was sacked for a 5-yard loss and the Broncos turned the ball over on downs.

Trailing just 16-0 at the half, Franklin was still in the game, but Sussex quickly took that thought away. The Broncos went three-and-out to start the second half. After a 12-yard punt by Shearin, Sussex started on the Franklin 42. On the next play, Crockett bolted 42 yards for a touchdown at the 10:44 mark of the third quarter. Harris ran in the extra point, and just like that the Tigers were up 24-0.

The Broncos answered on their next possession when Shearin took the ball up the middle and raced down the left sideline for a 68-yard touchdown with 9:52 left in the period. At 24-6, the Broncos had a glimmer of hope.

But Franklin could not move the ball the rest of the second half.

“Basically, we just kept our fingers crossed,” said Sussex coach Curtis Jefferson. “They’ve got a good football team. … Every year we play Franklin, it’s going to be a knockout, bang-up affair.”