Franklin, Southampton look to get hot in postseason

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

After the dust settled from the last week of the Virginia High School League’s football season, Franklin High School and Southampton High School found out that they were postseason-bound, each as a No. 13 seed in their respective division’s eastern brackets.

The two teams were fresh off of facing each other, and Southampton was able to contain Franklin’s second-half resurgence and pick up the win.


Franklin (3-7) will travel to Dendron to play No. 4 seed Surry County High School (8-2) in the VHSL Division 1A Eastern Playoffs.

“We lost a tough one this past Friday night against Southampton,” said Head Coach Darren Parker. “We’ve got to bounce back. It’s playoff time and records are out. It’s 0-0 for everybody.”

Facing the Surry Cougars is going to be an advantage, Parker said. Though the Cougars beat Franklin at Armory Field 26-22 earlier this season, Franklin has defeated Surry five of the last six years.

“We lost to them in the regular season, but it was a very close game,” Parker said. “We are just going to go back and fix the mistakes that we made in that game, and those that we have made since. As coaches, we are looking at the small things, like don’t get penalties. The small things will turn the table on you in the playoffs.”

But Franklin has a group of seniors who have been to the postseason every year of their careers.

“I think one of the biggest things is that as a team, we are used to being in the playoffs,” Parker said. “Some teams are just happy to be in them. But when we enter the playoffs, we enter to go all the way.

“We’ve got a lot of veterans who have played in the semifinals, played in the quarterfinals. We know all about that, and that’s a big thing for us.”

Parker also wanted to thank Bronco fans for traveling all season, and for continuing to travel as they go into the playoffs.

“On Friday, we are looking forward to seeing them in Surry,” Parker said. “I want to thank the fans for all of their support, and we are looking for five more games. That’s what we are looking for, 1-0 every Friday. Always, God is great.”


Southampton (4-6) will face the No. 4 seed Poquoson Islanders (8-2) in the VHSL Division 3A Eastern Playoff Bracket.

The two teams met in the beginning of the season, and the Islanders beat Southampton 33-13. Head Coach Willie Gillus said Poquoson is formidable, but he liked the Indians’ chances.

“In the first meeting, we played them tough early,” Gillus said. “But in the second half, we made some turnovers. They didn’t make any mistakes and they got on top of us.”

The Islanders run the football very well, but they also can throw when it’s an option, Gillus said. On defense, they are disciplined and stingy.

“We are going to have to be able to control them down in the trenches, where most games are won and lost,” Gillus said. “The lines are going to have to be on their best game this week.

“We are going to have to sustain our blocks, and control our gaps on defense. It’s going to be a challenge, but I like our chances against a very good team.”

Last year, it was a goal to reach the post season, and that continued to be a goal this year, so of course, Gillus said the team is excited to have accomplished that goal. Now, they want more.

“Now that we are in it, we are looking to come in and play our best football,” he said. “The team is playing very good right now. We’re peaking, and that’s great come playoff time.”

Everyone around the program is excited too, and Gillus said he hoped to see fans travel to Poquoson High School on Friday for the 7 p.m. kickoff.

“The guys have been working very hard this week, and they are excited about playing in the first round of the playoffs,” he said. “I am hoping people get behind this team and support us on our quest to the state championship.”