Broncos fall 6-2

Published 10:14 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

SUSSEX—Pride and a probable conference title were on the line Friday night, and when the frost cleared, it was Sussex Central in the winner’s column. It wasn’t pretty, but the Tigers scored a late-game touchdown to knock off Franklin 6-2 in a Tri-Rivers District game.

Barring an upset by Surry County next week, the Tigers will win the Tri-Rivers District and will likely take the top seed in the Group A, Region A playoffs, which start Nov. 20. Franklin (7-2), which was ranked third in the region coming into the game, will now probably have a road playoff game. The Broncos blew a chance to vault over both West Point and Sussex into first place, because West Point, the second place team, finished the season with a 22-18 loss to King William Friday night.

Friday’s game featured nine turnovers, several killer penalties, and plenty of defense.

After a scoreless first half, it was defense that got Franklin on the scoreboard. Franklin quarterback Trey Kigler threw a pass which was picked off by Kayshahn Brown at the Sussex 2. On the next play, Sussex’s Jabari Turner took a handoff in the end zone, but was met by Franklin’s Aaron Smith, who dropped Turner for a safety. The Broncos were looking good with a 2-0 lead and the ball with 4:41 to play in the third quarter. The Broncos could not capitalize, though, and went three and out on offense.

On their last drive of the game, the Tigers finally put together some meaningful offense. Quarterback Tyquan Johnson hit a wide open Turner with a pass in the flat, which went for 35 yards. Three plays later, Turner burst for 17 yards down to the Franklin 13. The Broncos’ defense dug in, and with the help of an offsides penalty, moved the ball back to the 8. But three plays later, Turner dove into the end zone from 4 yards out. The 2-point pass failed, and the Sussex lead held at 6-2 with 5:50 to play.

The Broncos had one more chance. On a 4th and 6 on the Franklin 36, Kigler’s pass was caught by Shaquan Cook down to the Sussex 46 to keep the drive alive. On another 4th and 10 play, Kigler’s pass to Cook was incomplete, but the Tigers had 12 players on the field, giving Franklin a first down on the 30. Lavon Evans’ gutsy 17-yard run, breaking three tackles along the way, put Franklin down to the 13. But Franklin, could not take the lead when Kigler’s pass was dropped by Justin Grant in the end zone and Kigler was sacked for an 11-yard loss on fourth down to put the game away.

The teams did not look like they were battling for the playoffs when both squads combined for eight turnovers in the first half. Sussex’s (8-1) Turner rolled up 102 yards rushing in the first half, but the Tigers had nothing to show for it.

It was Turner who ran the ball from the Sussex 27 to the Franklin 5 and then coughed it up to the Broncos at the 11:46 mark of the second quarter.

The Broncos (7-2) had no real scoring opportunities in the first half and had just 87 yards of offense — 67 of that came on one run by Evans. Franklin had just 38 yards of total offense in the second half

Evans finished the game with 111 yards on 16 carries.

The Franklin defense held Sussex to just 87 yards of offense in the second half, and held Turner to just 27 yards.

The Broncos finish the regular season at Windsor at 7 p.m. Friday.