Franklin Panthers get back in the win column

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By Randall Koenig


An early start in Skyland, NC saw the TC Roberson Rams play host to the Franklin Panthers.  A cold rainy night in the 40’s, miserable conditions greeted the players and fans in Western North Carolina.

Franklin won the toss and deferred to the second half. Franklin kicked the ball to the Rams who start on their own 35-yard line.  After a short drive TC Roberson punts the ball to Franklin.  Franklin marches the ball down to the Rams 23-yard line and decides to try a 40-yard field goal. Munoz puts the kick up, but it goes left, and the field goal is unsuccessful.  The Rams take the ball over at the 23-yard line and march to the Franklin 48-yard line, where they stall and punt the ball back to Franklin.  Franklin proceeds to go 3 and out, and punts the ball back to Roberson, who start their drive on their own 37-yard line. A fast-moving quarter ends with the score 0-0.

The Rams drive the ball down to the Franklin 44-yard line and stalls out once again by excellent tackling by the Panthers to stop a 4th Down conversion.  With 9:21 left in the second quarter, Franklin marches the ball into Rams territory. Franklin once again stalls out on the Rams 48-yard line, and Munoz punts the ball back to the Rams, who start on their own 18-yard line with 6:38 left of the first half.  Still no score.  First play from the Rams 18-yard line, Cam White takes a screen pass and takes the ball 82-yards, extra point good, Rams lead 7-0. 

Rams kick the ball back to the waiting Panthers, who start at their own 36-yard line. Franklin takes over with 6:26 left in the 1st Half. On a 3rd & 9, Chris McGuire throws a 64-yard touchdown pass to Pollock.  Extra point is good, making the score 7-7 with 5:25 left in the 1st Half.  Franklin kicks the ball back to the Rams who start on their 29-yard line with 5:25 left in the half. After a couple of holding penalties, the Rams move the ball to the Franklin 48-yard line but were assessed 2 straight holding penalties which moved the ball to the Rams 28-yard line setting up a 3rd and 39.  Roberson runs the ball for 21-yards and runs the clock to 0:00.  The half time score is TC Roberson 7 and Franklin Panthers 7.

The 3rd quarter kick off from the Rams to the Panthers, Stiles takes the ball back to the Rams 37-yard where the Panthers take over 1st & 10.  Franklin runs three running plays and McGuire tries a quarterback draw to pick up the 1st down which fails.  TC Roberson takes over at their own 29-yard line at 10:59 left in the 3rd Quarter.  TC Roberson goes on a 17-play drive down to the Franklin 21-yard line and tries a 38-yard field goal from Buckner.  The kick was short and right, the score remains 7-7 at 2:51 left in the 3rd Quarter, Franklin takes over at their own 21-yard line. Franklin goes 3 and out, and Munoz punts the ball back to TC Roberson, where they start on their own 28-yard line, with :51 left in the 3rd Quarter.  TC Roberson runs 2 plays which ends the 3rd Quarter, with neither team being able to put up any additional points.  The score remains 7-7 at the end of 3 Quarters. 

On the first play of the 4th Quarter, the Rams throw an interception which is picked off by Chris McGuire at the Rams 48-yard line. However, after the interception Franklin was assessed a holding penalty on the return which backed the Franklin Panthers up to their own 38-yard line. With 11:54 left in the 4th Quarter, Franklin takes over at their own 38-yard line. After the interception and penalty, Franklin runs the ball on 3 consecutive plays, culminated by a highlight 39-yard line run from Hendley, which moves the ball down to the TC 11-yard line. Franklin continues to run the ball and Hendley takes the handoff from McGuire and runs it in from 7-yards out.  Extra point is good, Franklin takes their first lead 14-7 with 10:01 left in the game. Franklin kicks the ball back to the Rams, who run it back to their own 30-yard line, but they are assessed a holding penalty which backs the ball up to the Rams 20-yard line, where they will take over 1st and 10 with 9:54 left in the game. 

TC Roberson moves the ball to the 42-yard line, and on a 4th and 5 in punt formation, the Rams try a fake punt, and the Franklin Panthers are ready, and stop them at their 39-yard line, where Franklin will take over at that point. First play of the drive from the 39-yard line, McGuire hands the ball to Hendley who runs it in from 39-yards out, extra point is good increasing the Franklin lead 21-7 with 6:08 left in the quarter.  Franklin kicks the ball back to the Rams who run it back to their own 37-yard line with 6:07 left in the game.  TC moves the ball and throws another interception. Franklin takes over the ball inside the Rams territory at the 48-yard line with 4:08 left in the game.  Franklin runs several plays picking up several critical first downs and runs out the clock.  Franklin wins 21-7 over TC Roberson. 

Player of the game is Ty Handley who runs the ball 19 times for 138-yards and 2 touchdowns.  In a sloppy game, Franklin loses the total yardage stat, but wins on the scoreboard.  Franklin showed excellent patience and was able to cause 2 critical turnovers in the 2nd Half, which lead to 14-points by the Panthers and a great win to keep our Playoff hopes alive.  Franklin Panthers move to 6-4, and TC Roberson drops to 2-8 on the season.  Franklin Panthers will wait and see if the victory was enough to give them a playoff berth. 

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