No. 15 Indians unable to pull upset against perennial state powerhouse (VIDEO HERE!!)

DeMatha wideout Edward Core (8) is unable to make the catch with Franklin’s Xavier Cokley defending during the first half of Saturday’s non-league football match. The No. 15 Indians scored first, but the Prince George’s County private school gradually gain control to collect a 27-14 decision in Baltimore County.

by Derek Toney

When Robert Garrett scored a defensive touchdown in the opening quarter of Franklin’s football contest with DeMatha Catholic Saturday afternoon, thoughts of a massive upset danced through the minds of the Indians’ rain soaked faithful.

It didn’t last long. The Stags from Prince George’s County posted a 27-14 victory over 15th-ranked Franklin at McWilliams Stadium in Reisterstown.

Da’Jon Butler and Sieh Bangura each scored a rushing touchdown for DeMatha (2-1 overall), and Jermaine Johnson returned a kickoff 89 yards for another score. Garrett and senior Elijah Solomon each had fumble returns for a touchdown for Franklin (1-1).

DeMatha, ranked No. 3 in the state media poll, scored 27 unanswered points, en route to its second straight victory over the Baltimore County squad. Last year, the Stags routed Franklin, 36-0, in Hyattsville.

“If you’re looking for small victories, they showed they can play with anybody,” said Franklin coach Anthony Burgos. “They gave 100-percent effort for four quarters.”

The Indians struck first as Garrett, a senior defensive line, knocked the ball from DeMatha quarterback Eric Najarian, picked it up and ran 40 yards into the end zone with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The lead lasted just 16 seconds as Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards to pull DeMatha even. Harold Peters perfectly read a Franklin pass play, intercepting the ball and going untouched 79 yards for a touchdown, putting the Stags ahead with 1:38 left in the first.

The Indians were denied on a fake punt attempt on 4th-and-1, giving DeMatha possession in their territory. Butler scored from seven yards, extending the Stags’ lead to 20-7 with 8:51 remaining before halftime.

Bangura (85 yards) scored from three yards out, putting DeMatha up 27-7. Solomon, who is committed to Villanova University, returned a fumble 25 yards for Franklin’s other score.

Franklin hosts Delaware’s Division I state champ Smyrna next weekend.