Indians cruise past Owls
No. 8 Franklin scores twice in first 10 minutes for 39-0 win over No. 11 Dundalk
Franklin’s quick-start offense and high-pressure defense made sure recent football history did not repeat itself last night.
A year ago, Franklin won big in the regular season, but Dundalk came back to win the rematch two weeks later in the playoffs. That ended the Indians’ twoyear reign as Class 3A state champions.
Last week, the No. 8 Indians defeated the No. 11 Owls in the regular-season finale. This time, they made sure Dundalk did not reverse the outcome. Franklin scored twice in the first 10 minutes and rolled to a 39-0 victory in the 3A North region semifinal.
“Our key this week was really to strike fast,” Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said. “After scoring 33 points last week, we felt if we could get up quickly, then they’ll understand that last week wasn’t a fluke, but we felt like if we let them hang around for a while, then there could be an issue.”
Senior quarterback Josh Turner scored four touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. His first touchdown, a 26-yard pass to Michael Gibson, came on the Indians’ second drive of the game with 5:45 left in the first quarter. Dundalk helped that drive when the snap soared over the punter’s head and Franklin took over on the Owls’ 28-yard line.
The Indians (9-1) used two quarterbacks throughout the game and junior Larry Smith hit Andreus Price for the second touchdown less than three minutes later on a 25-yard pass.
Turner, also a corner and receiver, doesn’t mind sharing duties with Smith. The senior was 8-for-13 passing for 183 yards, while Smith was 7-for-15 for 102 yards.
“He’s a great player and when you’ve got great players you’ve got to plug them in,” Turner said. “We work on the system. Coach Burgos, coach [Ryan] Hain, they Franklin wide receiver Michael Gibson outruns Dundalk cornerback Darrius Sample for a touchdown. Gibson’s 4-yard touchdown run gave the Indians a 39-0 lead. have a great system. Plug any one of us in and we can get it done.”
Tuner threw another touchdown, a 52-yard pass to Aaron Dutton, in the second quarter and Smith threw a 20-yard pass to A’ssanti Kearney in the third quarter. Turner and Gibson also ran for short touchdowns.
Gibson’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:30 left in the third quarter gave the Indians a 39-0 lead and started the running clock.
The Indians defense kept the Owls (8-3) without a first down until the second quarter. They allowed Dundalk’s second-team All-Metro quarterback Darrius Sample, who has scored 25 touchdowns this fall, just one touchdown in two games against him this season, and that didn’t come until the final minute of the regular-season game.
“He’s been the cornerstone of our program,” Dundalk coach Sean Sandora said. “We run a spread option offense and there’s a lot of pressure on the quarterback to make plays, and he’s made spectacular plays throughout his career. Tonight, they just rushed seven and got pressure on him, and he was never able to get into a rhythm.”
The Indians (9-1) advance to play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal, between No. 9 Milford Mill and North Harford, for the region championship next week. If the top-seeded Millers win, they would host the game Saturday. If North Harford wins, the second-seeded Indians would host the game Friday at 7 p.m.
Both teams were rebuilding this season — Dundalk after the best season in school history last fall when they reached the state title game. The Indians didn’t return a starter on offense.
“It starts with the ‘O’ line the ‘O’ line played big,” Turner said. “We’ve got great athletes out there and they’re just coming out, and [we] get the ball in their hands and let them do what they can do.”
The Indians are aiming for their third state title and their fourth appearance in the title game since 2010.