One more step

Published 9:05 pm Thursday, December 4, 2008

FRANKLIN—There hasn’t been a bigger game for Franklin High School’s football team since 2004.

After last Saturday’s victory, the Broncos find themselves in a position to bring home the hardware.

The Broncos will play Clintwood High School in the Group A Division 1 state championship game at noon Saturday at Salem City Stadium. Franklin is the Region A champion, and the Greenwave are the Region D champion.

Franklin reached the championship game by beating William Campbell, the Region B champion, 22-21. Clintwood defeated Region C champion Holston 41-21 in the other semifinal game.

Clintwood is near the border of Kentucky in the far southwest region of the state. The Greenwave are familiar with play at this level. Clintwood lost last year’s Group A Division 1 championship game to Buffalo Gap 28-19. Clintwood was also a power in the 1970s, appearing in the Group A championship game four times with victories in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

The Greenwave are another powerful offensive team, rolling up 556 points in 13 games, or an average of about 43 per game. Clintwood is giving up about 11 points per game. Franklin has been able to slow down its three playoff opponents and is allowing an average of 12 points per game in the postseason.

Clintwood’s lone loss of the season came Oct. 10, when the Greenwave dropped a 28-27 decision to non-district opponent Gate City. Gate City reached the Group A Region D Division 2 finals.

Clintwood has also had two other close contests against Lonesome Pine District opponent Burton. Clintwood beat Burton during the regular season, then had a scare in a 22-19 win over Burton in the Region D championship game.

Franklin head coach Darren Parker met with Clintwood head coach Rick Mullins on Sunday at Liberty University in Lynchburg to exchange game films.

“They have some size, they have some speed, they are well coached,” Parker said. “They are mostly a running attack, but they will throw. They do some play action and throw to the tight end. Like I told coach Mullins, you don’t reach this level if you’re not good.”

Parker said his players are focused.

“We have to make sure we take care of ourselves this week, Monday through Friday, and stay focused and stay disciplined,” he said. “The coaches are going to meet three or four times this week and watch the same film maybe 25 or 30 times. As a staff, you have to do that this time of year.”