Franklin wins, advances to state title game

Published 4:01 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sometimes in football, heart out trumps reality.

Franklin was outgained 327 to 271 and some internet pundits had the Broncos as 35 point underdogs coming into the contest. But when the scoreboard read zero, Franklin was a 22-21 come-from-behind winner over William Campbell in a Group A Division 1 semifinal playoff game on Saturday.

The Broncos now advance to the state championship game for the first time since 2004. Franklin will play Clintwood (12-1) at noon on Saturday in Salem.

It was Franklin that got on the scoreboard first. As William Campbell marched down the field, an interception by the Broncos’ Aaron Smith set up the first Franklin touchdown. On a 4th and 9 play from the William Campbell 30, Franklin quarterback Donzell Shearin was flushed out of the pocket. Under pressure he found Tyler Childress at the 1. Shearin ran the ball in from 1 yard out for the first Franklin score. The run failed, and Franklin held on to a 6-0 lead.

The Generals went back to moving the ball on their next possession, picking up a 27-yard run by Stanley Peerman and another 16-yard gain by quarterback Baron Adams. Adams scored on a 4-yard run and the extra point kick by Donald Byrd put the Generals up 7-6 with just over four minutes to play in the quarter.

The Broncos came back again in on their next series. Starting from the William Campbell 28, Franklin marched 11 plays and scored when Shearin raced 16 yards for the touchdown. Shearin also ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-7 lead with 10:16 left in the first half.

The game looked like it might end up in a high scoring track meet when the Generals scored again on their next possession. Again, using the spread offense, William Campbell was able to reel off big chunks of real estate. Huge running plays by Adams and Timmy Wright had Franklin baffled. But in the end, it was a 32-yard bomb from Adams to Terrance Younger, and an extra point kick by Donald Byrd that tied the game at 14-14 with 7:03 left in the half.

Franklin could not move the ball on its next possession, but finally got a defensive stop, and the game remained 14-14 at the half.

It didn’t look good for the Broncos when William Campbell quickly scored on its first possession of the second half. From the Franklin 45, Adams ran the ball 42 yards down the left sideline. One play later, Stanley Peerman crossed the goal from 3 yards. An extra point kick by Byrd gave William Campbell the lead at 21-14 with 9:39 to play in the third quarter.

Franklin did not get down and pulled a surprise on offense. On a 2nd and 6 play from its own 30, Shearin, who threw the ball just twice all game, connected with Derrick Thompson over the middle and Thompson raced 70 yards for a touchdown. Elliott Bottoms ran in the 2-pointer, and Franklin regained the lead at 22-21.

Then Franklin’s defense dug in. Franklin stopped William Campbell on a 4th and 6 play from the Franklin 28. On William Campbell’s next series, the Generals moved down to the Franklin 25. Shearin then came up with a huge interception to stop the Generals with 9:15 to play.

The Broncos, starting at their own 6, then killed six minutes off the clock in a drive that they did not score on, but pinned William Campbell back to its own 21. Shearin had a 50 yard scramble, which kept the clock running.

Franklin dug in for one final stand. The Generals moved the ball when Adams hit Brandon Adams with a 14-yard pass and a Franklin late hit moved the ball to the Franklin 47. But the Broncos stopped William Campbell on two running plays and two pass plays to preserve the win.

Shearin led the Franklin rushing attack with 105 yards on 13 carries. Hudson rushed for 75 yards on 17 carries.

William Campbell (11-2) was led by Baron Davis with 160 yards on 22 carries. Davis was also 5-for-9 for 59 yards through the air.

The Broncos (11-2) practiced Thanksgiving Day and Friday at 7 a.m. to prepare for the contest.

“We put the work in Monday through Friday. We believed in ourselves. They were out there at 7 in the morning and they were laying in the frost,” said Franklin head coach Darren Parker. “They busted their tales at practice.

“We don’t want any of the credit,” Parker added. “We give the credit to God. This is God’s work.”