RB Nelson paces Indians in opener
Senior rushes for 172 yards in win
The stadium lights were on at Franklin High, and with them a full accompaniment.
The bleachers were buzzing, the concession stand was open for business and cheerleaders were supporting the home team with vigor.
It was Friday night and there was a football game being played in Reisterstown that wasn’t just any game. The host Indians were taking on their biggest Baltimore County rival, Milford Mill, in the much-anticipated 2021 season opener.
It was a special night for everyone — especially Franklin running back Rodney Nelson.
The senior carried the ball 26 times for 172 yards, scoring from 32 yards out with 1:15 left to lead the Indians to a 19-14 win.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight and we knew we had to come together and play as a team to come back to win,” Nelson said. “All that was going through my head was score, score, score because we were down and the clock was running out, so I just hurried up and scored.”
With 9:06 to play in the fourth quarter, the Millers took their first lead at 14-13 when running back Chris Butler scored up the middle from 9 yards and did the same to complete the 2-point conversion.
The Indians started the game-winning drive on their own 30 with 4:42 to play and were backed up to the 9 after consecutive penalties. On fourth-and-2 at the 38, quarterback Quentin Demery completed a long pass to Gavin Nelson to move the chains with 1:31 to play.
Rodney Nelson’s big run — starting up the middle and then bouncing to the left — came soon after. The Indians defense closed out the win, forcing a turnover on downs before the offense came on in the closing seconds to take a knee.
Junior Mekhi Workman also played a big role in the Franklin win, intercepting a pass in the first half at the 1-yard line and returning a punt 42 yards to give the Indians a 13-6 lead with 5:06 to play in the third quarter.
The interception was followed by Franklin’s first score, with Demery finding find receivers down the field before capping the 99-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Milford Mill cut the lead to 7-6 with a 89-yard drive in the second quarter, capped by quarterback Tahseen Howard scoring on a 7-yard run after finding wide receiver Daysen Shell for 65 yards.
Before the game, with the sun still out on a comfortable evening, Franklin coach Anthony Burgos soaked it all in.
“Ah man, look at the crowd,” he said. “Everybody’s here, everybody’s excited about being out here. Both teams — it’s a good rivalry with each other — and I’m just happy the kids are able to get out here and play some football and do what they love to do. So we’re all blessed.”