It was an emotional roller coaster for the cross-town rivals as the Franklin Hornets owned the first half only to allow the upstart West St. Mary Wolfpack to rally from a 32-point deficit and close to within four points in the second half. With the game hanging in the balance, Franklin nailed down the victory with on a 38-yard touchdown run from Brian Robertson during the final seconds of a hard-fought contest.
Franklin (1-0) built up a 26-0 halftime cushion behind the running and scoring of leading rusher Brian Robertson, who finished the night with 142 yards and three scores.
West St. Mary (0-1) benefited from the passing and receiving of the dynamic duo of Travell Dixon and Tamon Lockett to pull within four points of Franklin late in the fourth quarter at 32-28 with 6:42 remaining in the contest.
“We played a great first half but we lost our composure in the second half,” Franklin Head Coach J. Ina said. “We didn’t get the right calls from the sideline so we were out of place when the Dixon kid made the big plays in the second half. He is not a Nebraska commit for nothing. We had poor communication and a lack of focus during the second half… We have to learn to finish teams and develop a killer instinct and not let teams hang around.”
Franklin proved unstoppable in the first half, building a 32-0 lead in the third quarter when Jarion Brown hooked up with Derrick Kelly on a 19-yard touchdown with 6:06 remaining in the third quarter.
West St. Mary (0-1) couldn’t quite overcome a serious bout of the jitters until the second half.
“Our coming back showed we have heart, but we can’t spot a team 26 points,” First-year West St. Mary Head Coach Marquis Newsom said. “We didn’t quit even though we are young. This was my loss, it’s on my shoulders as we can’t let anything get in the way of preparation. We had to overcome the problems of the hurricane but I could have done a better job of preparing our team in spite of the situation.”
The combination of the running of Robertson and the pin-point accuracy of Brown lead the Hornets to a 32-0 advantage. Robertson opened the scoring with a 5-yard TD with 1:47 showing on the clock in the first quarter. Brown called his own number on a 13-yard scamper before firing a dart in the waiting hands of Brennan Robertson for the two-point conversion, giving FSHS a 14-0 lead with 11:52 showing. Less than four minutes later, Brown tossed a 27-yard scoring strike to Robinson as FSHS took a commanding 20-0 advantage with 8:01 blinking on the clock. Robinson scored the second of his three TDs on a 5-yard run as FSHS held a huge 26-0 halftime lead.
Franklin extended its cushion to an eye-popping 32-0 lead midway through the third quarter on the 19-yard TD pass from Brown to Kelly at the 6:06 mark of the third quarter.
West St. Mary retaliated with four touchdowns as Dixon and Lockett made their presence felt with their flawless execution of big plays while rallying the Wolfpack with incredible big plays.
Dixon tossed a perfect spiral in the hands of Lockett on a 21-yard touchdown with 2:58 remaining in the third quarter as West St. Mary trimmed Franklin’s lead to 32-6. With only 24 ticks showing on the third-quarter clock, Dixon and Lockett hooked up for a 25-yard TD, cutting Franklin’s lead to 32-12.
Early in the fourth quarter, Lockett and Dixon exchanged position with the results being the same. Lockett fired a 29-yard TD to Dixon with 8:58 remaining as West St. Mary trailed Franklin by a 32-20 margin.
A short time later, Dixon was on the receiving end of a 60-yard bomb from Lockett. Dixon made good on the two-point conversion as West St. Mary pulled within four points of Franklin at 32-28 with 6:42 remaining in the hotly-contested battle.
With 49 seconds remaining on the clock, Robertson rushed 38 yards for a touchdown, giving FSHS a 38-28 triumph. Robertson led all rushers with a game-high 21 carries for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
Jarion Brown connected on 9 fo 22 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions.
Brennan Robinson had two catches for 34 yards and one TD while Derrick Kelly hauled in a pair of passes for 23 yards and one score.
Travell Dixon caught TD passes of 29 and 60 yards from Tamon Lockett while tossing TD spirals to Lockett for 21 and 25 yards respectively.
Both teams combined for 10 touchdowns and nearly 600 total yards of offense. Franklin and West St. Mary also combined for 32 penalties with and five turnovers.
Franklin will travel to face St. Martinville on Friday while the West St. Mary Wolfpack will play host to Northwest on Friday.