Franklin dominates, 30-7
No. 5 Indians shut down No. 14 Glenelg’s run game as they roll to victory
Glenelg came to Franklin for Friday’s Class 3A state semifinal with a ground game that had gained over 3,500 yards so far this season.
However, stopping the run had been one of the Indians’ strong points this season, and Franklin did it again against the Gladiators.
The No. 5 Indians shut down Glenelg’s vaunted attack, while Josh Turner ran for two touchdowns, Michael Gibson added one, and Larry Smith threw for one more as Franklin rolled to a 30-7 victory over the No. 14 Gladiators.
The Indians (11-1) advanced to the Class 3A state title game on Thursday or Dec. 8 against Damascus at Navy at 7 p.m.
That date will be determined after the Midshipmen play today. If they host the American Athletic Conference championship game next weekend, the state title game would be moved back one week.
This will be the third time in four years Franklin has made it to the state final. It won the Class 3A state title in 2013 and 2014 before losing to Dundalk in last year’s region final.
The Indians allowed only two rushing touchdowns this season until Seth Taylor scored on a 1-yard run with 20.6 seconds left. Franklin held Glenelg (10-3) to 109 rushing yards — 71 of which came on the final drive.
“That’s been one of our strong points this year,” Indians coach Anthony Burgos said. “We felt like if we could stop the running game and force them to throw, we would be in good shape.”
Franklin stopped Gladiators running back Wande Owens, who ran for 2,449 yards in the team’s first 12 games. Owens averaged 7.4 yards per carry with 28 touchdowns this season but gained only 43 yards on 20 carries.
The defense repeatedly swarmed Owens when he tried to run. He simply had nowhere to go as the Indians put in a fifth linebacker and often had eight players in the box, so Owens drew plenty of attention.
“They [took] away what we do best,” Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer said. “They were a tremendous football team.”
Franklin also got plenty of help on offense. Gibson ran for 85 yards on just three carries and caught six passes for 92 yards.
Turner rushed for 74 yards on nine carries with his two scores, and Smith — who alternates with Turner at quarterback — completed six of 14 for 86 yards and the touchdown.
The Gladiators punted well early, pinning the Indians inside their 5-yard line on the first two possessions. But Franklin drove for touchdowns on each and a quick 14-0 lead.
The Indians went 94 yards the first time, capped by Gibson’s 40-yard run, in which he found traffic after getting the handoff, bounced outside and raced down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter.
They made it 14-0 on the following drive, in which Smith threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Assanti Kearney with 7:55 remaining in the first half. That wrapped up a 97-yard drive that took up nearly five minutes.
“We came out and ran the football well,” Turner said. “We started out fast. We wanted to set a tone early.”
Franklin linebacker Elijah Solomon combines with defensive lineman Kenny Garrett (40) to tackle Glenelg quarterback Hunter Forsyth (8) 5 yards short of the first down. The Indians advanced to the state title game on Friday or Dec. 8 against Damascus.