Broncos win Region A Championship
Published 5:05 pm Sunday, November 28, 2010
FRANKLIN–Franklin fought off a last-minute, attempted come back by Sussex Central to win the Region A Championship 26-20 before a standing-room only crowd at Armory Field Saturday.
Sussex Central Head Coach Curtis Jefferson remarked after the game that he felt the momentum had turned in favor of his Tigers, and they were going to score.
But with less than one minute left in the game, Franklin’s Tyrel Pope chased, caught and tackled Tiger quarterback Tyquan Johnson on a fourth down play to end all hopes for the Tigers.
The Broncos will host Region B Champions Riverheads High School from Staunton on Saturday at Armory Field. The Gladiators advanced after defeating Altavista High School 42–14.
The Broncos were led in rushing by Melquan Mitchell with 121 yards and Martinez Hill with 93 yards. For tackles, Delvontae Boone had 11 and Jonathan Boone had 10.
In passing, Trey Kigler was 5-for-6 for 91 yards. On the ground, the Broncos rushed for 276 yards.
The Tigers won the coin toss and chose to receive the opening kick-off. Starting from their 48-yard line, they moved the chains to the red zone on their first offensive series. Johnson scored on a keeper, but the 2-point conversion failed.
The Broncos, after falling on a short kick, started their first drive on their own 43-yard line Kigler completed a pass to Justin Grant to move the chains into Tiger territory.
Grant then out ran all defenders to score on a 35-yard run. The Broncos’ 2-point conversion failed, and the score was tied 6-6 with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, the Tigers easily covered 68 yards and scored on 26-yard run by Sharheem Taylor. The kick failed.
The Broncos, receiving another short kick-off from the Tigers, started their next possession on their own 35-yard line. Kigler connected on a pass to Prince Lockhart to move the chains.
Soon Hill scored on a 1-yard run and added the 2-point conversion on a run, putting the Broncos on top, 14–12.
For the next Tiger possession, the Bronco defense forced a Tiger punt, but during the drive, Hill fumbled, and the Tigers recovered the ball.
With time winding down for the first half, the Tigers made it to the 3-yard line with about one minute left. The Tigers drew a penalty flag for unsportsmanlike conduct that moved the ball back to the 25-yard line.
Advancing the ball again, the Tigers were on the 11-yard line with 3.1 seconds remaining in the half. With time for one play, Johnson threw a high pass to the end zone, but Grant knocked it down to ground to end the half.
On the Tiger kick-off in the second half, the Tigers pulled off an onside kick and took possession of the ball on the Bronco 48-yard line. The Tigers advanced the ball on the ground to reach the red zone. Once again, another penalty on the Tigers moved the ball back to the 18-yard line.
Key defensive plays by Trevis Dunn and Cameron Elder resulted in a major loss of yardage by the Tigers. Forced with fourth and goal, the Tigers’ pass was complete, but the runner was stopped on the 9-yard line, and the ball went over to the Broncos on downs.
Starting on their own 9-yard line, the Broncos went to work on the ground and in the air. On a critical fourth down play, Kigler connected with tight end Ryan Petrasek, who dragged some defenders with him as he gained enough yards for the first down and some.
Reaching the red zone as time advanced to the final quarter, Kigler snuck the ball across the goal line to advance the Broncos’ lead to 20-12.
The Tigers on their next possession fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Elder.
Starting on their 17-yard line, the Broncos moved the ball down the field and scored what many thought would give Franklin the win. With 6:37 remaining in the game, Mitchell broke up the middle and scored a 58-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed, giving the Broncos had a 26-12 led.
But the Tigers did not throw in the towel. Taylor scored on an 8-yard run and added the 2-point conversion to close the score to 26-20.
The Broncos expecting the onside kick obtained the ball, but could not keep their drive going. The ball went back to the Tigers on their 17-yard line with 2:20 remaining in the game.
Running and passing the ball, the Tigers moved down the field to their 46-yard line. With less than one minute remaining, it came to a fourth down play for the Tigers. Scrambling while looking for an open receiver, Johnson was under hot pursuit by Pope and Elder. Pope then single handily grabbed a hold and swirled Johnson to the ground to end all hopes for the Tigers.
Although the Broncos committed more penalties, Coach Jefferson remarked that the Tigers’ penalties came at times when they were in striking distance to the goal. He was proud his team’s efforts.
“That’s how it is with football,” Jefferson said.
Franklin Coach Darrin Parker added his famous remark “God is great.”
“We beat a great team, and now we will move on to next week,” Parker said.