Looking back: Broncos trample Red Raiders

Published 2:21 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2015

by Clyde Parker

September 11, 1965

The Franklin High School Broncos, for the first time in over 30 years, just defeated the Suffolk High School Red Raiders, Franklin’s long-time adversary, by a score of 27 to 7.

The game began with Suffolk kicking off to the Franklin visitors.

Early in the first quarter, Bronco halfback Doodle Underwood got things started the right way with runs of 12 and 8 yards. When the Broncos got the football within the Suffolk 20 yard line, they called on fullback Billy Atkinson five straight times. The fit fullback picked up 16 yards in four plays then dove into the end zone on a one-yard line smash. Then, Dickie Surace kicked his first of three extra points.

Although the Broncos dominated the game throughout the first three quarters, the score was still only 7 to 0 going into the final 12 minutes.

Following a Suffolk fumble on their second play from scrimmage, Frankie Rabil recovered on the Suffolk 28. Franklin picked up a first down on the strength of Atkinson and Underwood runs then surrendered the ball to Suffolk on downs.

Suffolk quickly completed a 25-yard pass from quarterback Bob Sweat to end Bob Small. Before Franklin fans had time to become alarmed, Bronco Welton DeShields intercepted a Sweat pass at midfield. Three plays later, Suffolk again gained possession when Franklin fumbled. The Red Raiders were forced to punt when the Broncos defense threw back every Suffolk attempt to advance the ball.

After a couple of no-gain plays by the Broncos, Doodle Underwood found a hole in the Suffolk line big enough to drive a peanut picker through and roared 76 yards to the goal line. This play, the longest gain in the game, was called back on a holding penalty. The Broncos, with a lot of their steam taken out, punted and the half soon ended without further distinction.

The third quarter was played between the two 30 yard lines. Neither team could get a sustained drive mustered. The final quarter was something else again. Before the period was a minute-old, Fred Hollowell romped into the end zone to cap a 60-yard drive.

Dickie Surace, again, booted the football squarely between the uprights to give Franklin a 14 to 0 advantage.

Suffolk took over but could get no more than a pair of first downs. Taking over at midfield, the Broncos began another scoring drive.

Underwood picked up nine yards around end, Hollowell gained 12 and Atkinson bulled his way for 16. With the running game going so well, quarterback Frankie Rabil caught the Suffolk defense napping with a ten-yard flat pass to Hollowell for a touchdown. The extra point try was blocked.

Following the kickoff, once again, Suffolk was stopped at midfield and the Broncos followed the same pattern. Several runs netted 20 yards then lefthander Welton DeShields lofted a picture-perfect pass to Hollowell that netted 30 yards and Franklin’s final score. Surace kicked the extra point.

With the score now 27-0, with only 36 seconds left in the game, Suffolk struck for their only touchdown of the game when Red Raider halfback Larry Ward scooted around right end for a 62-yard touchdown.

Shortly after the end of the game, Route 58 between Suffolk and Franklin was lined, bumper-to-bumper, with carloads of happy football fans.

It was a splendid victory for Franklin. Coach Roy Ledford, the only Bronco coach in modern memory to beat Suffolk, displayed a team well drilled in fundamentals with the desire and ability to play winning football.

Neither Rabil nor DeShields had much experience under fire. But, both boys played like veterans at Suffolk and both completed scoring passes. In fact, both completed all of their passing attempts. They both played on the defensive team.

It was the running game, however, that did most of the damage. Atkinson, Underwood and Hollowell picked up a total of 151 yards, a respectable sum for any trio of backs.

The defensive game, with minor exceptions, was equal to the task. End Danny Morgan, in his first game, made several vital tackles. Guards Tony and Dickie Surace, as always, were in on every play they could reach. All other Franklin linemen and defensive backs played heads-up football.

The coaches selected Bobby Eubanks, veteran tackle, as the outstanding player of the game. Eubanks was a bulwark in the Bronco line on both offense and defense.

At the other tackle, Frankie Whitehead aggressively turned back most of the Red Raider thrusts in his direction.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net