Franklin wins regional title

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FRANKLIN–Franklin fought off a last-minute, comeback attempt by Sussex Central to win the Region A Championship 26-20 before a standing-room-only crowd at Armory Field Saturday.

With less than a minute left in the game, Franklin’s Tyrel Pope tackled Tiger quarterback Tyquan Johnson on a fourth-down play.

The Broncos will host Region B Champion Riverheads High from Staunton Saturday. The Gladiators advanced by defeating Altavista 42–14.

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The Broncos were led in rushing by Melquan Mitchell with 121 yards and Martinez Hill with 93 yards. Quarterback Trey Kigler was 5-for-6 passing for 91 yards. For tackles, Delvontae Boone had 11 and Jonathan Boone had 10.

Sussex Central started its opening drive from its 48-yard line. Johnson scored on a keeper and a missed 2-point conversion left Sussex up 6-0.

The Broncos, after falling on a short kick, started their first drive on their own 43-yard line Kigler completed a pass to Justin Grant to move the chains into Tiger territory. Grant outran all defenders to score on a 35-yard run.

The Tigers regained the lead on its next drive, easily covering 68 yards. Sharheem Taylor rushed for a 26-yard touchdown.

The Broncos answered with another march down the field. Hill scored on a 1-yard run and on a run for the 2-point play, putting Franklin up 14-12.

The Tigers made it to the 3-yard line with about one minute left in the half. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Tigers back to the 25-yard line.

On the final play of the half, from the 11, Johnson threw a high pass to the end zone, but Grant knocked it down.

The Tigers pulled off an onside kick and took possession on the Bronco 48-yard line to start the second half. The Tigers advanced the ball on the ground to reach the red zone. Another penalty on the Tigers moved the ball back to the 18-yard line.

Key defensive plays by Trevis Dunn and Cameron Elder resulted in a major loss of yardage by the Tigers. Forced with fourth and goal, the Tiger pass was complete, but the runner was stopped on the 9-yard line.

Franklin went to work on the ground and in the air. On a critical fourth-down play, Kigler connected with tight end Ryan Petrasek, who dragged some defenders with him as he gained enough yards for the first down.

Early in the fourth period, Kigler snuck the ball across the goal line to advance the Bronco lead to 20-12.

The Tigers moved deep into Franklin territory again before a fumble, recovered by Elder, gave the Broncos the ball on their 17-yard line.

With 6:37 remaining, Mitchell broke up the middle and scored a 58-yard touchdown, giving the Broncos a 26-12 lead.

The Tigers did not throw in the towel. Taylor scored on an 8-yard run and added the 2-point conversion to close the score to 26-20.

Franklin recovered the ensuing onside kick, but couldn’t run the clock out. Sussex got the ball on its 17-yard line with 2:20 left.

On a fourth-down play at the Tiger 46, Johnson scrambled while looking for an open receiver. With Pope and Elder chasing, Pope grabbed a hold and swirled Johnson to the ground.

“We beat a great team, and now we will move on to next week,” said Franklin Head Coach Darrin Parker said. Parker added his famous remark, “God is great.”