Franklin demolishes No. 7 Milford Mill; Brown throws 3 TDs
by Derek Toney
As resounding as Franklin High football team’s victory over rival Milford Mill Academy was Friday evening, the general silence from the Indian sidelines may have been just as impressive.
Sixth-ranked Franklin posted a 42-7 decision over the No. 7 Millers in Baltimore County. Senior quarterback Vernon Brown threw for 4 touchdowns and running back Robert Smith rushed for 113 yards and a score for the Indians (3-1 overall).
The reigning Class 3A state champs from Reisterstown looked and played the part, putting up a running clock for the final five minutes of regulation.
“We’ve been talking about this all week, trying to get to the point where we have our alignments, we have our assignments. Now, we play football,” said Franklin coach Anthony Burgos. “We put it all together and played great in all three phases.”
“It was about keeping your head into the film, knowing what the other team’s going to do and not looking clueless,” said Brown.
Brown completed 13 of 19 passes for 168 yards with scoring throws to seniors Mekai Felton and Alex Jones and junior Gavin Nelson. He was 5-of-6 on 3rd down situations.
Brown, who started the second half of the 2017 campaign because of an injury, returned to the role last year after the projected starter transferred shortly before Franklin’s season debut. He guided the Indians to the state title, hitting a key downfield pass in the winning drive (Franklin converted field goal on final play of regulation).
“I challenged him earlier in the year that he had to be the leader of the team. Last year, he was able to rely on Elijah Solomon, but we told him, ‘you got to be the leader,'” said Burgos. “We’re allowing the team to run through him.”
“It’s about staying focused and being humbled,” said Brown.
In the third quarter, Jhavon Reames fumbled near the 1-yard line on. The ball went into the end zone and teammate Alex Jones fell on it for a touchdown, putting Franklin up, 28-0, in the third quarter.
It was that kind of evening for Franklin. The fun started with Smith, who kept his balance and took a pile of Milford Mill defenders into the end zone for a 20-yard score late in the opening quarter. The Indians converted Sire Hopkins’ interception into a score as senior Ahmad Mosley sped to the corner of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Franklin and Brown continued to mute Milford Mill’s home faithful. He sprinted for 14 yards after an Indian penalty, then completed a quick pass for a 1st down.
Brown, who somehow slipped out of pressure, threw a pass to Felton near the sidelines, and Felton eluded a defender and slipped into the end zone for a 29-yard score, extending Franklin’s lead to 21-0 at half.
Milford Mill got its only score on junior Keyshawn Silver’s 6-yard run with 4:10 left in the third. The Indians came back with an 8-play, 65-yard drive with Brown hitting an open Brown from 3 yards.
The Indians’ defense held Milford Mill to 149 yards and sacked junior quarterback Rishon Holmes five times. Hopkins and senior linebacker Wayne Brooks each had an interception.
Senior defensive linemen Amandi Austin said Franklin was “humbled” after a 35-3 pasting at McDonogh School two weeks ago.
“Our goals are alignment and assignment,” said Austin, who recorded two sacks. “The defense was lights out.”
It was a dark evening for Milford Mill, which loss its first game of the season. After splitting with Franklin in two close matches, including a 19-13 overtime victory at Franklin last season, the Millers had no answers Friday.
“Franklin has a good team,” said Millers coach Reggie Smith, whose team lost to Franklin in the Class 3A North Region semifinals, 15-12, last November.
Burgos credited his coaching staff for Franklin’s near perfect performance Friday. The Indians may not have a serious challenge until late October when they visit second-ranked Mount St. Joseph.
“Like I tell the guys, let’s worry about what we’re doing, try to get better everyday,” said Burgos. “Try to make sure our assignments are right, our flow to the game, our physicality is all there.”
No. 6 Franklin 42, No. 7 Milford Mill Academy 7
Franklin 7 14 14 7 – 42
Milford Mill 0 0 7 0 – 7
Franklin – Jonathan Smith 20 run (Simon Spath kick)
Franklin – Ahmad Mosley 5 run (Spath kick)
Franklin – Mekai Felton 29 pass from Vernon Brown (Spath kick)
Franklin – Alex Jones fumble recovery in end zone (Spath kick)
Milford Mill – Keyshawn Silver 8 run (Jarell Gainer kick)
Franklin – Alex Jones 3 pass from Brown (Spath kick)
Franklin – Gavin Nelson 34 pass from Brown (Spath kick)