Franklin overcomes slow start to remain unbeaten

Franklin overcomes slow start to remain unbeaten


For nearly 15 minutes, undefeated Franklin High looked out of sorts on the road Thursday night.


For nearly 15 minutes, undefeated Franklin High looked out of sorts on the road Thursday night.

Summit running back Dee Hunter feasted off short gains on a scoring drive that was extended by a FHS penalty on fourth down. On offense, a sack stalled the Rebelse first possession, which ended in a punt.
But just when it appeared Summit would be taking a 6-point lead into the second quarter, Franklin showcased superb time management.

On the first play of their second drive, which started with 1.6 seconds left in the opening quarter, the Rebels found the end zone. Quarterback Joe Critchlow connected with a wide-open Ben Hagaman and the big tight end scrambled for a 36-yard touchdown as the period ended. The score provided a spark for Franklin, which scored twice more in the half and cruised to a 49-12 victory.

eWe got our composure back,e said Hagaman, who caught two touchdowns. eWe were a little flustered in the beginning and I think that comes since weere a young team. We got our composure and we started throwing the ball a little bit. They had a lot of guys in the box so we started airing it out a little bit and it worked out pretty well.e

eVideo: Summit Coach Scot Keaslere

Critchlow made the most of his 12 attempts, completing nine passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns to help the Rebels improve to 7-0 and 4-0 in District 11-AAA play.

After picking up three first downs on its first drive, including one when a FHS defender jumped offsides on a fourth-and-one, Summit earned just one first down until late in the third quarter. The Spartans (1-7, 0-4 11-AAA) added another touchdown late in losing their seventh straight game.

e(Summit) put it to us. We didnet come out with the same intensity they did,e Franklin coach Donnie Webb said. eThen we finally decided to match their intensity. But hats off to Summit. No quit in them. They came out and took it to us. It was a very ugly first two series but after that we seemed to clean it up and play a little better.e

After jumping in front on the quick-strike to Hagaman, Critchlow picked up where he left off in the second quarter. He took advantage of a short field and two Spartan penalties in capping off a five play, 58-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Hagaman.

With 1:51 left in the first half, he propelled the Rebels to a two-touchdown lead when he fired a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Luke Hill.

eHe was lighting it up,e Hagaman said of Critchlow.

Hunter gave Spartans fans some hope on the opening drive.

The 5-foot-9 senior rushed nine times for 40 yards, rushing more than 5 yards just twice. His 1-yard touchdown capped off a 13-play, 70 yard drive which lasted more than six minutes.

eWe came out, we drove the football and I was real impressed with how we played,e Summit coach Scot Keasler said. eDee Hunter ran his tail off, starting with the opening kickoff and he pretty much carried us down the field. We blocked well. We just couldnet really generate anything after that. Struggling in the passing game makes you one-dimensional and it is really hard to get production consistently on offense that way.e

Video: Franklin tight end Ben Hagaman

Summit failed to complete any of the eight passes thrown by Hunter and J.C. Dryden. The only throw by the Spartans that didnet hit the ground went into the wrong hands. Early in the third quarter, FHS senior Nick Hutchins jumped the route, plucked an interception and rumbled 25 yards for his first career touchdown and a 35-6 lead.

Less than two minutes later, Critchlow zipped a short pass to Parker Pinnell. The closest Summit cornerback bit too early in attempt to bat away the pass and left Pinnell with nothing but green as he outraced the Spartans to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown.

The Rebels also added two rushing scores a 1-yard burst from Malik Grimes and an 8-yard scamper by reserve Brice Milam in the final two minutes. Eight Franklin rushers combined for 174 yards, led by 58 yards from Colton Black. FHS finished with 393 total yards.

eI hope that weere balanced,e Webb said. eI hope that weere able to run the football and (Critchlowes) able to make plays in the passing game with the receivers we have. It is a team game, definitely. (Critchlow) knows that and he is a good team leader.e

Franklin returns home next week to play Ravenwood in a pivotal District 11-AAA matchup, with both teams atop the league at 3-0. Summit will try to break out of its losing slump on the road against Brentwood.

Franklineeeeeeeeeeeeeee eee ee7eeeee ee14eeee 21eeeeee 0 e’ee 49
Summiteeeeeeeeeeeeeee e eeee6eeeeeee 0eeeee 0eeee eeeee6 e’ee 12

First quarter

SHS Dee Hunter 1 yard run (kick failed), 5:23

FHS Ben Hagaman 36 yards from Joe Critchlow (Joe Defatta kick), :00

Second quarter

FHS Hagaman 6 yards from Critchlow (Defatta kick), 9:02

FHS Luke Hill 35 yards from Critchlow (Defatta kick), 1:51

Third quarter

FHS Malik Grimes 1 yard run (Defatta kick), 9:52

FHS Nick Hutchins 25 yard interception return (Defatta kick), 8:35

FHS Parker Pinnell 61 yards from Critchlow (Defatta kick), 6:47

Fourth quarter

SHS Chris Jenkins 2 yard run (kick failed), 8:23

FHS Brice Milam 8 yard run (Bryce Dahl kick), 1:41

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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