Surry downs Franklin in in defensive battle

Published 8:34 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

Javonte Baker almost breaks one before being held up by Surry’s Caleb Parson, who looks to make the stop from his back. -- Frank Davis | Tidewater News

Javonte Baker almost breaks one before being held up by Surry’s Caleb Parson, who looks to make the stop from his back. — Frank Davis | Tidewater News

by Jeffrey J. Ziegler/Contributing writer

When Franklin and Surry County get together for a football tilt, it’s usually a good ‘ol backyard brawl. Friday night was no exception. But it was the Cougars who used a 14-play scoring drive at the end of the first half to down the Broncos 16-12 in the first round of the VHSL Division 1A Eastern Playoffs.

Franklin (3-8) won the game on the stat sheet, but it was the Cougars (9-2) who executed when it counted. Franklin outgained Surry 257 to 119 on offense, held the Cougars to just 18 yards rushing, and had 8 minutes more in time of possession. But it was Surry who advances to the second round, with a home game next week against Colonial Beach.

Franklin took the opening kickoff and immediately stalled out on offense. On a fourth and 4 play from the Franklin 31, the Franklin coaching staff decided to go for it on fourth down. Javonte Baker was stuffed on the run and the Cougars took over on downs.

Surry wasted no time in taking advantage. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Timothy Marsh hit Ahkeem Briggs with a 33-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars up 6-0 with 10:16 left in the first quarter. The gamble did not pay off for the Broncos.

“We’re gonna gamble. We believe in our kids and any fourth down, we’re going to ride with our kids,” said Franklin head coach Darren Parker. “If we don’t get it, it’s on me as head coach. I trust my kids and my coaches, and I’m going live and die with them.”

Franklin squandered an opportunity on its next possession. The Broncos moved the ball all the way down to the Surry 6, but fumbled the ball away on a second and goal play.

The Broncos did hit paydirt on their third possession. Senior Corey Porter scored on a 29-yard run with 1:27 to play in the first quarter. The two-point run failed, and the score remained tied at 6-6.

After a Surry three and out, the Broncos continued to move the ball and put together a 90-yard, 6-minute drive. Tyree Jones took a handoff and ran 8 yards up the middle for the score with 5:47 to play in the half. The two-point run failed, but the Broncos held a 12-6 lead.

Surry countered with a long drive of its own. The Cougars went to the air and Marsh hit Steve Smallwood with a 15-yard pass down to the Franklin 2. On the next play, Marsh plunged over the middle and scored to tie the game at 12-12 with 1:11 to go in the half. Marsh was able to run in the two-point conversion, giving Surry a 14-12 lead going into the half.

Both teams’ defenses clamped down in the second half and both offenses had trouble moving the ball. It was a defensive play early in the third quarter that led to the only scoring in the half.

To open the half, Surry started with the ball on the Franklin 23 because of a short kickoff due to a Franklin penalty. The Broncos defense, however, held fast, giving up just 7 yards and forcing the Cougars to give up the ball on downs.

Franklin’s offense also went nowhere. Baker set up for a punt, which was blocked by Edward Bynum out of the end zone for a safety. Surry led 16-12 with 7:10 left in the third quarter.

Individually, Quayshawn Jefferson rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries, Baker added 62 yards on 22 carries, and Darrien Duck ran for 52 yards on 13 carries.

“Our kids played to the end. We are proud of our kids. We just came up on the short end tonight,” Parker said. “I couldn’t ask for any more from my seniors. For the young guys, we gotta go back and regroup and get ready for next year. That’s the bottom line. God is great and the Broncos will be back next year.”