By SAM McGAW
Extreme Escape Games Game of the Week Preview
Franklin (7-1, 5-0) at Mt. Juliet (6-2, 4-1), 7 p.m. Friday*
It’s been 10 years since the Franklin Rebels last captured a region or district championship.
They have an opportunity to change that Friday when they travel to battle the Mt. Juliet Golden Bears for the Region 3-6A title.
“Our players are excited to have the opportunity to play for a region championship, which is something that hasn’t been done here since 2006,” Franklin head coach Donnie Webb said. “There have been a lot of runner-ups for region or district championships since then.”
Featuring a high-powered rushing attack and stout defense, the Rebels have won seven straight games since dropping their season-opener against Centennial.
Their offense has been near unstoppable recently, scoring 41 points or more in four of their last five contests.
The unit has leaned on running back Mitch Rossi (914 rush yds, 148 rec. yds, 13 TDs) and quarterbacks Wes Patterson and Carter Hendry.
Rossi has rushed for more than 95 yards in every game this season. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound bruiser eclipsed 100 yards on the ground in six of those contests.
Patterson has 655 passing yards, 387 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns (3 run) and one interception, while Hendry’s accumulated 500 passing yards, 355 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns (5 run) and two interceptions.
The trio will be met by a stiff Mt. Juliet defense that’s allowing 15.5 points per game.
“Their front is physical and will try to control the line of scrimmage,” Webb said. “We’re really impressed with their outside linebacker (Tony Thompson); he’s a really good high school football player. In the secondary, they have some skill kids that you can tell are coached well. They’re going to be sound in what they do.”
Mt. Juliet’s offense has also been surging lately, averaging 42.8 points during its five-game winning streak.
In order for Franklin to limit the Golden Bears’ production, it has to win the battle in the trenches.
“They have some bulldozers up front,” Webb stated. “They have a really big offensive line. In all eight games, even our one loss, I felt like we won the line of scrimmage. Mt. Juliet presents us a problem, because that’s exactly what they want to do.”
Linebacker Harrison Brown and defensive end Conner Palk lead the charge up front for the Rebels.
Brown has 49 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Palk has racked up 39 tackles (12 for loss), seven sacks and one interception.
Sam McGaw is sports editor of Home Page Media Group. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.