FHS dodges a bullet

Published 9:22 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

FRANKLIN—“Bent but not broken,” remarked Franklin head coach Darren Parker as the Franklin Broncos slipped by a fired up Mathews Blue Devils team 22-21 in the final minutes of a dog fight football game at Armory Park field on Friday night.

The Broncos struggled the whole game and saw the flags fly against them 11 times for 96 yards while the Blue Devils were penalized 11 times for 63 yards.

The game opened with the Blue Devils blocking a punt on the Broncos first possession of the game. On their first drive, Mathews advanced the ball to the Franklin 20 yard line where they turned the ball over on downs. On the Bronco possession, Martinez Hill fumbled and the Blue Devils took over on the Franklin 8 yard line.

At 6:23 in the first quarter, Chris Davis ran the ball across the goal line for the first touchdown. The kick failed.

Franklin started its next drive on its own 8 yard line. Bronco running back Roderick Ricks broke free for a 28 yard run and it seemed that the Broncos were back in stride, but that was short lived as Franklin faced a 4th and 13. Going to the air Bronco quarterback Trey Kigler could not connect and the Blue Devils took over again.

Neither team could generate any major drives until late in the second quarter as the Blue Devils, starting at the 50 yard line, drove to the Franklin 27 yard line with seconds remaining in the half. The Franklin defense stiffened and forced the Blue Devils to attempt a 27-yard field goal. On the attempt the Broncos blocked it and the half ended with the home team down 6-0.

Returning to action in the third quarter, the Broncos took the opening kick-off. After a holding penalty by the Blue Devils, the Broncos snapped the ball from their 40 yard line. On the first play, Bronco running back Lavon Evans powered through the line, breaking free and was off to the races for a 60-yard touchdown run. For the point after, Evans crossed the goal line again to put the Broncos ahead 8–6.

The lead was short-lived. On the kick-off, the kick was short and the Blue Devils’ Chris Davis returned it 60 yards for a TD. Davis also ran the point after and the score changed with the Blue Devils taking the lead, 14–8.

The picture got dimmer for the Broncos as the Blue Devils scored again with 6:36 in the third and kicked the extra point to go ahead 21–8.

Late in the third quarter the Broncos started another drive on their 20 yard line. Moving the ball on the ground and in the air the Broncos advanced the ball to the Blue Devil 3 yard line. Lavon Evans crossed the goal line to put the score at 21–14 in favor of the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils started their next drive on their 34 yard line. Eating up the clock but not able to move the ball because of a fired up Franklin defense, the Blue Devils punted. The Broncos, with time running out, started a crucial drive on their 20. Driving, the Broncos quickly reached the 3 yard line. Faced with a 4th and goal, Parker called a time out to get the Broncos plan ready. The call went to Lavon Evans, and he carried the pigskin across the goal to put the score 21-20 in favor of the Blue Devils. The Broncos’ Evans got the call again and scored on the two-point conversion to put the Broncos ahead 22-21 with 7:47 remaining in the game.

It was now the Blue Devils turn with the ball. Starting on their 43 yard line, they drove to the Franklin 31 where they fumbled the ball and Franklin recovered. The Franklin offense held on to eat the clock.

Coach Parker’s final words were, “God is great.”

Leading the rushing for the Broncos was Lavon Evans with 22 rushes for 157 yards. He was followed by Melquan Mitchell with 11 rushes for 62 yards. Franklin finished the game with 319 yards on the ground and 20 yards in the air.

Franklin (3-0) plays at Middlesex Friday.