Franklin hopes to surprise District 9-3A foes, starting with Abbeville tonight at J.C. Dry Stadium.
The Hornets (1-2) came from behind to dominate Opelousas, 37-12, last Thursday for their first win of the season.
“I really liked the way we played in the second half,” Franklin head coach J. Ina said. “We didn’t play that bad in the first half but we had too many mental mistakes.”
Cutting down the errors will also be big in Friday’s district opener against Abbeville, which also doubles as the Hornets’ homecoming.
“The kids handled the first win fairly well,” Franklin defensive coordinator Carlon Butler said. “But now we have to keep them focused with a district game and all of the Homecoming stuff.”
The young Hornets had struggled after falling behind but that all changed last week.
“The kids really bought in and fought for that win and that’s what we have been asking them to do,” Butler said. “Now, we’re trying to show them that our district is wide open. Outside of Patterson, everyone else is pretty evenly matched.”
Patterson (2-0) is the clear front runner, while the other six teams have a combined four wins with no team having more than one win.
Abbeville (0-3) has been outscored 130 to 28 including a 51-6 loss to Rayne last week.
Wildcat’s starting quarterback, junior Ross Duhon, sat out due to a concussion, but Abbeville head coach Larry Breaux said Duhon could get the nod against Franklin.
“He just took the last part of his concussion testing on Thursday,” Breaux said. “Everything looked good.”
The final clearance for Duhon to play will have to come from a medical doctor, however, making his ability to play “probable.”
Despite their 0-3 record, there are bright spots for the Wildcats heading into week four.
Junior running back Patrick Landry is third on the list of Vermilion Parish rushing leaders with 282 yards on 34 carries, that’s a respectable 8.42 yards per carry.
“They are going to run the football out of that veer option,” Butler said. “They like to run off tackle and we need to read that and make good solid tackles.”
Franklin will try to counter Abbeville’s heavy run attack with a few personnel changes on defense.
“We may put some of our bigger guys upfront this week and there are some scheme things we can do to slow them down,” Butler said.
Senior linebacker Demien Bowie will be also be counted on to slow down the Wildcats’ runners. Bowie led the Hornets with 10 tackles last week playing through a fractured hand.
“Kudos to that kid for playing the entire game with that injury,” Butler said. “He will wear a soft cast for the remainder of the season but he practiced all week. He is leading by example and that’s big on a young team.”
Bowie had a fumble recovery and an interception on defense last week. He also scored on a 7-yard run in the second half of the Hornets’ rally.
Sophomore running back Brian Robertson led the offense with 112 yards on 21 carries. He had touchdown runs of 3, 30, 1 and 25 yards. FHS rolled up 321 total yards including 220 yards on the ground.
“It should be a quick game, because both teams are going to run the football,” Butler said. “We will run Robertson right at them, he’s a very talented young running back and he’s hard to tackle when he gets going.”
Raheem Robertson, Brian’s brother, will also test Abbeville’s defense.
Senior Michael Poledore is the Hornet’s starting quarterback. He has completed 21-of-34 passes for 213 yards. He is also a threat to run the football.
Abbeville runs a 4-2-5 base defense.
“They like to play games with their linebackers.” Butler said. “They will blitz them and run stunts upfront but we have prepared the kids for that.”
Abbeville says they also have a little more motivation this week.
“Franklin is better than a lot of people expected them to be this year,” Breaux said. “They’re 1-2 and we’re 0-3, and we’ve got to look at it like we’re the underdogs again ... They scheduled us as their Homecoming game, and anytime that happens you feel disrespected.”
Breaux said his players would use the slight as inspiration.
“That’s the way we want our guys to feel going into the game,” he said.
Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m.