“It was a big win over a Morgan City team which was undefeated and ranked eighth in the power rankings,” Franklin Coach J. Ina said. “This win shows we are starting to turn the corner. This was a total team effort as the coaches and players did an excellent job of making adjustments which led to the big win.
McFarlane opened the scoring with a four-yard touchdown run in the latter moments of the first quarter before capping the scoring with a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, helping the FSHS Hornets gain the huge victory over previously unbeaten Morgan City.
Franklin (3-3, 0-2) stepped out of District 9-3A action to host long-time parish rival Morgan City (4-1) for Homecoming on Friday.
The Hornets turned in a complete game on both sides of the ball, scoring three touchdowns on offense with two coming on the ground along with one aerial score from quarterback Jarion Brown to wide out D’Marcus Bowie along with the McFarlane’s interception return on defense.
Franklin’s defensive unit, which has played tough all season, handed the offense a golden opportunity to score when linebacker Larry Grimm recovered a fumble at the Tigers’ 34-yard line in the opening quarter.
McFarlane, who led the Hornets in rushing with 11 totes for 47 yards, hit pay dirt six plays after Grimm’s recovery.
On the initial play of the scoring drive, Brown fired an 11-yard pass to completion to Derrick Kelly for 14 yards. LaShon Johnson and McFarlane took turns picking up yardage before Franklin faced a fourth-and-2 from the 13. Brown flicked a pass to Brennan Robinson for nine yards, setting up McFarlane’s 4-yard touchdown which gave the Hornets a 6-0 lead at the 2:59 mark of the first quarter.
Morgan City’s Eric Walker made his presence felt with a pair of touchdowns on the night, enabling the Tigers to stay within striking distance of the emotionally-charged Hornets.
Walker scored on a three-yard burst, knotting the game at 6-6 before halftime. Sergio Flores booted the extra point, giving the Tigers a 7-6 lead over the Hornets with 1:24 showing on the clock much to the chagrin of the Homecoming crowd.
Key defensive efforts by the Hornets’ stout defensive unit led to Franklin’s next score. Franklin’s McFarlane booted a 42-yard punt which pinned the Tigers at the 12-yard line before senior Derrick Kelly pilfered an errant pass, stopping the Tigers drive while setting up the Hornets offense.
Midway through the third quarter, Franklin took the lead for good on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Bowie with 6:40 showing on the clock. On the play, Brown displayed pin-point accuracy by placing the football right between the numbers with Bowie making the touchdown grab, giving FSHS a 12-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Morgan City muffed the kick of which Franklin recovered at the Tigers’ 29- yard line.
Franklin turned the ball over to running back Brian Robertson on this drive. Robertson keyed the drive by running five times for successive gains of 5, 5, 4, 3 and 3 yards. On first-and-goal from the three, Robertson plowed ahead for the touchdown with 1:56 showing on the clock. McFarlane booted the extra-point giving FSHS a commanding 19-7 advantage.
Morgan City capitalized on a blocked punt to pull closer to Franklin at 19-14 late in the fourth quarter. Morgan City’s Walker scored on a five-yard run before Flores tacked on the extra point as the Tigers sliced Franklin’s lead to 19-14 with 4:26 left to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Morgan City attempted an on-sides kick of which Franklin’s Davonte Joseph handled perfectly, setting up the Hornets at their own 48- yard line.
McFarlane rushed for gains of 2 and 5 yards before a face-mask penalty moved the ball to the 30-yard line. A short time later, McFarlane pinned the Tigers back deep in their own territory at the 3-yard line on a perfectly placed punt, setting up his final heroic act of the night.
On first-and-10, Morgan City quarterback Hoang Nuyen fired a pass of which McFarlane plucked out of thin air before stumbling his way to the end zone for a 10-yard interception return.
On the night, Franklin amassed 213 total yards with 43 coming on the ground and 170 through the air.
McFarlane carried 11 times for 47 yards and one TD while Robertson had eight carries for 15 yards and one TD. Brown rushed 10 times for -19 with Johnson and Stephon Polodore running one time for one yard.
Brown connected on 17 of 28 passes for 170 yards and one score.
LaShon Johnson caught six passes for 44 yards while Brennan Robinson made five receptions for 60 yards with Derrick Kelly had three catches for 35 yards. Allen Randle had one catch for nine yards while D’Marcus Bowie making one catch for 7 yards and one TD with Brandon McFarlane grabbing one pass for 15 yards.
Franklin will play host to the Kaplan Pirates in District 9-3A action Friday at J. C. Dry Stadium.