Broncos ready to gallop

Published 8:35 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Franklin’s Martinez Hill grinds out yards in the first half of the Region A semifinal game last Friday against Colonial Beach. - Frank Davis

FRANKLIN—Come Saturday, Franklin High School football fans can expect a tough game on the ground against Sussex Central for the Region A title.

The winner of the 1 p.m. match-up at Armory Field will advance to the state playoffs.

“It will be a close game, a very physical game,” said Franklin Coach Darren Parker, whose Broncos are 10-1 for the season and this year’s Tri-Rivers District champions.

“I’m hoping we come out with a win,” said Sussex Central Coach Curtis Jefferson. “I’m guessing it’s not going to be easy. Coach Parker does a great job with his kids. He always has them ready to play. We will try to give them a good football game.”

Both teams finished 3-1 in the district. The Tigers are 7-3 for the season and placed second in the district.

Sussex Central defeated Charles City 52-44 and Franklin whipped Colonial Beach 45-12 in the Region A semifinal games on Nov. 19 to advance to Saturday’s game.

The Broncos three weeks ago defeated Sussex Central 12-6 at home.

“Statistically, if you look at the game, we had the edge,” Jefferson said. “They just made more plays than we did. On paper, we had better numbers, and we had to go a little further.”

On the ground, the Tigers rushed for 220 yards to the Broncos’ 187. The Broncos had 15 first downs compared to 13 for the Tigers.

The Broncos have no injured players, and this week’s practices are going well, Parker said.

“It’s been a great week,” Parker said. “The kids are very excited and have been executing on offense, defense and with special teams.”

He called the Tigers a well-coached team.

“Coach Jefferson does a great job,” Parker said. “They’re very physical. What it will boil down to is who wants it most. Every year, we battle it out (with Sussex Central).”

The Tigers have one key player who may not play Saturday’s game due to ankle and leg injuries. Jefferson would not identify the player.

The Tigers will be paying special attention to 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior Bronco wide receiver and defensive back Justin Grant. They’ll also be looking out for Martinez Hill, the 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior who rushed for 144 yards on 19 carriers against Colonial Beach last week.

Jefferson expects a battle.

“We like to run the football. They like to run the football,” he said. “We will see who can run the football better.”