Franklin gets past Bobcats in bidistrict round

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, November 14, 2019

By Caleb Adams

The Orange Leader


SHENANDOAH – A tremendous Orangefield season came to an end Thursday night as they fell to the Franklin Lions 23-14 in the Class 3A Region III Division I playoffs at Woodforest Bank Stadium.

The Bobcats (9-2) went down early after a slow start and were never able to recover from it. Overall the Bobcats would only have 150 rushing yards on the night, in what is a primarily run heavy offense. Clayson Choate would lead the team with just 33 rushing yards, which is a good summary for how tough the Franklin (7-3) defense played.

Franklin finished with 334 total yards while the Bobcats had 211.

Both teams were very similar to each other, using a Slot-T formation on offense and having a stout defense to stop the run themselves.

The Lions started the game with big plays, beating the Bobcat defense, but with each drive the defense started to catch up to what the Lions wanted to do offensively. After the second half the Lions offense would seal the deal by continuing their big plays and securing their advancement in the playoffs.

The Bobcats would go into halftime struggling on both sides of the ball but still found themselves in the game as they continued to battle.

Offensively the Bobcats couldn’t get much going aside from the one possession they scored after getting the ball at Lion 5. The second scoring drive showed a lot more promise as they got back in it.

The Lions took the game’s first points with just three plays, all on the ground. Malcom Murphy started the drive with an 18-yard run for a first down. Murphy had 73 yards on 10 carries. One down later Bryson Washington, who had 64 yards on 10 totes, would find the edge and race his way into the end zone from 30 yards out. The PAT would not go through making the score 6-0 Lions with 11:15 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats tied the game thanks to an error from the Lions. After a fumble in the backfield, Chase Broussard scooped it up and was off to the races with it. Broussard put the Bobctas in great position getting to the Lion 5 with the recovery. Two plays later Heston Puckett was able to punch it in from the 4. The PAT didn’t go through making it 6-6 with nine minutes left in the first half.

The Lions took a breath and got their offense back on track with another scoring drive. Seth Spiller would take control this drive with a couple first downs, including the 18-yard touchdown run to take the lead back. Spiller was the game’s leading rusher with 94 yards on 14 carries. The PAT would go through making the game 13-6 Lions with six and half minutes left in the first half.

As the fourth quarter started the Lions found the end zone to extend their lead. On a drive that started on their own 4, the Lions did what they wanted with the ball on a long march, finding holes or just shaking off defenders for extra yards. Malcom Murphy capped off the drive with a 24-yard run to the end zone. After the PAT the Lions led 20-6 with 11:53 left to play.

The Lions extended the lead even further with a field goal late into the fourth quarter. The Lions took another long drive all the way down to the opposite 20 yard line from their 35. After being forced to kick for points, Julio Bribescas would knock through a 32-yard field goal as the Lions would lead 23-6 with five minutes left to play.

The Bobcats would score with hopes of a late comeback as the clock winded down. The passing game came alive with four passes from Gunner Jones to get the ball moving quick without wasting much time. The big pass to setup the touchdown run was caught by Kaedon Evans for a long 24-yard catch. Broussard would get the ball from the 3 and muscled his way through for the score. Jones would run it in himself for the two-point conversion to make it 23-14 Lions with just over two minutes left to play.

Jones completed 9-of-13 passes for 61 yards.