FRANKLIN -- Through wind, rain, and even a lightning delay, the new Franklin Admirals used an old school attack to notch the first mark in the bridge with 42-16 victory over visiting Siegel Friday night at Howard Gamble Stadium.
Running behind five battleships better known as an offensive line, Franklin’s swift boat running attack collected 283 yards of rushing and four touchdowns in the rout.
“I am very proud of the offensive line. I felt like they set the tone from the get-go and that is what kept us going,” said Franklin head coach Donnie Webb.
Webb said earlier in the week he would have a, “committee” running behind the offensive line and it came through strong.
Junior Bryce Sparks picked up 100 yards on 15 carries and senior DJ Durham added 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with Ashton Orton (7 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD), QB Connor Beavon (5 carries, 20 yards, 1 TD), and Grayson Bruce (2 carries, 12 yards) helping out.
“All of them ran the ball well. DJ is more of the inside, tough back and Bryce just showed his explosiveness. And Ashton and Bruce did really well.”
Franklin looked to be in control of the game early but coughed the ball up twice during a heavy rain. On both occasions the Admiral defense was able to beat back Sigel charges. Franklin was leading 7-0 when lightning forced a 40-minute delay at the 8:43 mark of the second quarter.
When action resumed, the Stars seemed to find a rhythm on offense, driving inside the Franklin 10-yard line with less a minute to play in the half. But the Admirals pulled out a huge defensive stand, forcing Siegel to attempt a field goal with four seconds left.
A problem with the snap sent Siegel scrambling with an ill-timed pass attempt. Franklin sophomore Caleb Anderson stepped in front of the wounded duck at the 28-eight-yard line, caught two great blocks down the left sideline, and motored into the end zone with a 72-yard return to put Franklin up 14-0 at the half. It was the first of two interceptions on the night for Anderson
Siegel coach Adam Renshaw saw the momentum start to shift.
“Too many mistakes, " he said."We turned the ball over, special team mistakes killed us.”
Franklin scored on their first drive of the third quarter and salted the game on the Stars next possession when Taylor Spierto scooped up a Siegel fumble at mid-field and streaked down the middle for a 28-0 Franklin lead.
Beavon 4 a four-yard score to capped the third stanza and Orton broke free for a 20-yard scoring scamper with less than five minutes to play.
“I really am proud of the effort because we kept playing hard,” said Webb. “When you’re playing hard, big plays can go your way.”
In between, Siegel got a 62-yard scoring run from Rodney Randolph, a 34-yard field goal from Drew Sledge and an 11-yard touchdown run from Max Wynne in the final fifteen minutes.
“We’re a new program; we’ve got a lot of new things going on,” said Renshaw. “I’m proud of the kids; they fought hard. You never feel good about losing, but I like where we are.”
Franklin (1-0) travels to Riverdale (0-1), a 20-7 loser to CPA, while Siegel (0-1) hosts Page (0-1), an 18-6 loser to Fairview in the Battle of 840 on Friday night.