Franklin faces old foe

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

After Saturday’s emotional win over Colonial Beach in the Group A Region A championship, Franklin now faces an opponent who stood in its way during the Broncos’ 2004 title run.

The Broncos will host William Campbell High School at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Armory Stadium in a Group A Division 1 championship semifinal game. The winner advances to the Group A Division 1 championship game at Salem City Stadium on Dec. 6.

Franklin defeated the Generals 34-0 in the state semifinals in 2004. The Broncos went on to win the state championship.

William Campbell played in the Region B championship game last Friday night, so the Franklin coaches were able to scout the Generals. Franklin head coach Darren Parker said the 2008 William Campbell team is similar to the 2004 version.

“They run the same offense as they ran when we played them in 2004. They have a spread offense and a fast team,” Parker said. “Defensively, they have a lot of guys going both ways.”

William Campbell’s only loss this season was the first week. The Generals fell 28-14 to Thomasville High School in North Carolina. Since then, Campbell has won every game. Of note was a 41-0 thrashing of Sussex Central during the second week of the season.

The Generals went through the Dogwood District at 6-0. They beat Riverheads 64-6 in the regional semifinal and then whacked Buffalo Gap 35-7 in the Region B championship game. Last season, William Campbell lost in the second round of the playoffs.

William Campbell has scored 501 points over its 12 games, an average of nearly 42 points per game. The Generals also have a tough defense, allowing just 76 points all season, or about 6 points per game.

Franklin will try to bring down the General scoring machine.

“We play by the motto that offense wins games and defense wins championships,” Parker said. “Defense is what is going to get you to the next week. We will be stressing a lot of defense this week.”

Franklin will obviously have the advantage of not having to travel and playing to a home crowd.

“We have a great home crowd. It’s always great to play at home. We feed off our crowd. We’re going to have a lot of energy coming in. Once we hear the fans, that will boost the energy a lot,” Parker said.

n When Parker described last Saturday’s win over Colonial Beach as a war, that was an accurate description, particularly the second half. Like a battle from the World War II era, the contest became a game of field position. Two events in the second half that sealed the win for Franklin:

Trailing 14-8, the Broncos marched down the field in the third quarter, but failed to score from the 2 yard line. I turned to Frank Davis who was shooting pictures near the end zone and said, “that’s not so bad. There is plenty of time left in the game and they have them pinned back at their own end zone.” On the next play, Franklin recovered a Colonial Beach fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

The other event was a blocked punt by Franklin’s Dequan Frazier. Although the Broncos later fumbled and did not score, they again had Colonial Beach pinned back at its own 4.

Colonial Beach is a quaint little town. I finally got to see some of it in the daylight. This was my third trip there, and I’d prefer not to go back. Every time I go, there is some extreme weather, usually cold. I can’t imagine how cold Saturday’s game would have been if it was played at night. Interestingly, the Colonial Beach bench had portable heaters. I’ve never seen that at a high school game before.

The Chowan University basketball teams are not out to a good start. The men’s and women’s teams are both 0-4. The men’s team has had some stiff competition, playing two NCAA Division I schools and the third-ranked Division II school. The Lady Hawks lost to Francis Marion University 117-35 and had 54 turnovers. Yikes!

High school basketball is under way. You will be seeing more local basketball previews soon in upcoming editions of The Tidewater News.