By David Wells
Franklin’s third-place finish in District 11-AAA may have been sealed with its loss to Indepedence in Week 9, but with a large home crowd on senior night, the Rebels may have earned themselve a higher seed in the state playoffs as they defeated Centennial 34-3 Friday.
Franklin (8-2, 4-2 District 11-AAA) dominated the line of scrimmage all night long and did what no other team could do all year by keeping Centennial’s Deon Sanders from reaching the end zone hand holding him to 59 yards on 17 carries.
Meanwhile, Joe Critchlow went 15-for-19 with 207 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Nic Hardemon, filling in for injured starter Colton Black, had 111 yards and one touchdowns on 20 carries.
Head coach Donnie Webb credited the large margin of victory to a team effort.
“It was a will to win,” he said. “They wanted to play well after two frustrating losses. I’m just so proud of those kids, and I thought we played really team, team win tonight.”
Critchlow commanded the game from the start with three plays for more than 25 yards in the first 24 minutes, two of which were for touchdowns.
After Joe Defatta’s 27-yard field goal gave Franklin an early 3-0 lead, Critchlow tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Parker Pinnell on the first play of the second quarter to make it 10-0 Rebels.
Critchlow later found Tony Flemisher outrunning the coverage for a 43-yard touchdown pass that made it 17-3 at halftime.
The Cougars’ only substantial drive of the half came in between those two touchdowns. Even after star receiver Emmanuel Hall went down, Centennial drove 73 yards down the field on 19 plays that ate up 8:32 of clock.
But the Cougars could not convert on 3rd-and-goal from the three, and they had to settle for kicker Nick Madonia’s 20-yard field goal for its only points of the game.
Centennial quarterback Owen Roth was 6-for-10 with 71 yards, while Bailey Wisniowski had three carries for 12 yards and two catches for 19 yards. Hall had two catches for 37 yards before his injury.