The start? Déjà vu – all over again. Ugh!
King Philip forced a quick Panthers three-and-out. Then KP’s Gately sailed up the middle for 64 yards. Three plays later, senior QB Charlie Grant shot straight to Drew Danson deep in the end zone for first blood in under four minutes.
Then more bad news. The Panthers fumbled on first carry (oops) and KP glommed the ball in Franklin territory. Four plays put the Warriors on the 1 yard line. Two more, and Grant smuggled it in for a 14-0 lead with 6 minutes remaining in Q1.
Then, that first ray of hope.
Panthers pulled a perfect flea flicker to Gulla and back to Jared Arone, then to Shane Kindred for a huge 85-yard touchdown with a minute and change remaining in Q1. The Warriors blocked the point, but Franklin was on the board – and in the game, 14-6. That’s how the tide begins to turn. (Yesss. We can do this.)
Panthers brought focused football, pulling to 19 – a point under a tough Warrior team over the next 2 quarters. More touchdowns both ways in Q3. The last, with a 2-point conversion put Panthers up 27-20 going into Q4. With 2 minutes remaining, Franklin senior Jack Marino denied King Philip’s 4th and 1 try, locking up the Panthers 27-20 win over the Warriors in their 61st traditional Turkey Day tussle.
With this win, Franklin clinches its first-ever Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division title and first league crown since 2009. (Congrats!) It also snaps a 10-game Thanksgiving skid and an 18-game overall streak to the Warriors.
Yes, we’ll have another round of stuffing, thank you very much.
Big congrats to the Panthers for a great day of winning football.