Broncos fall to Lunenburg Central
Published 11:43 am Saturday, November 21, 2015
In a game that featured 741 combined rushing yards, 99 points and 28 penalties, the Franklin Broncos fell in their first game of the state playoffs, losing an offensive shootout to the Lunenburg Central Chargers by a score of 57-42.
The Broncos were bit early and often by the penalty bug, committing 22 infractions that cost them not only 127 yards but extended several scoring drives for the Chargers. On Lunenburg’s opening possession alone the Broncos committed four penalties, creating a short field for the visitors and leading to the Chargers’ first score. The Broncos rebounded quickly when Jack Sykes ran the ball in from the Chargers’ 27-yard line on only their second play from scrimmage.
From that point on, it was a back and forth affair, as the two teams traded scoring blows, neither taking a commanding lead. Lunenburg’s double-wing running attack gave the Franklin defense fits all night. The Chargers ran the double trap to near-perfection, running multiple handoff and misdirection plays that often left Franklin defenders unable to identify the ball carrier until he was in the Franklin secondary. For the game, the Chargers tallied over 417 yards on the ground while completing their only pass attempt for two yards.
But while Lunenburg Central relied on a precision running game, the Broncos countered all night with their customary style of smash-mouth football. Franklin amassed 324 yards from their rushing attack, but used timely passing plays to both extend drives and provide quick scoring strikes. Quarterback Darrien Duck completed four of six passing attempts for 96 yards and three touchdowns, including a 60-yard strike to Javonte Baker to give the Broncos a 22-14 lead just before the end of the first quarter.
The two teams exchanged scoring drives in the second quarter, each adding two touchdowns to go into halftime with Franklin leading 34-27.
The Broncos were unable to make the halftime adjustments needed to stop the Chargers running attack, and each squad added a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Broncos entered the fourth quarter with a 42-36 lead over the visiting team, but penalties and a costly turnover quickly turned the tide in Lunenburg’s favor.
The Chargers Dashawn Moore scored with 10:35 remaining in the game, and when Lunengurg added the extra point they took a 43-42 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Chargers running back Keaun Baskerville scored at the 6:28 mark in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 49-42 and the extra point was blocked. But on what would turn out to be the Bronco’s last possession, Darrien Duck threw an interception that was returned to their 32-yard line with five minutes remaining in the contest.
The Chargers slowly ground out one last scoring drive, crossing the goal line one final time with only 43 seconds left and sealing the victory 57-42.
In addition to Duck’s passing totals, Javonte Baker led the Broncos offense with 101 rushing yards and one touchdown. Quayshawn Jefferson added 69 yards and one touchdown. Jack Sykes added a third rushing touchdown and 38 yards on the ground.
Keaun Baskerville, who ran for 194 yards and four touchdowns on 22 attempts, led Lunenburg Central’s offensive attack. Dashawn Moore added 143 yards and two touchdowns, and Malik Foster Scored twice on four rushing attempts.
Franklin head coach Darren Parker was unavailable for comment after the game.
“It certainly was a high scoring game without much defense,” said Central’s head coach Will Thomas.
“But our defense really stepped up when it counted. There should be no shame on the other sideline. They’re a really good team.”
The Chargers will face the winner of tonight’s Riverheads-Altavista game next Friday.