Franklin High had a “blackout” Thursday evening to mark to its football team’s first home match of the season. The Indians didn’t disappoint their rain-soaked faithful, opening up a four touchdown lead in the second half against Catonsville.
But the No. 13 Indians’ blowout nearly turned into a major collapse. Franklin held off the Comets, 42-34, in a Baltimore County non-conference matchup.
Junior wideout Ian Thomas caught eight passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns for the Indians (3-0 overall), and quarterback Joey Dorsey threw for 251 yards. Steve Weedon scored three touchdowns for Catonsville (2-1) including a 35-yard fumble return.
Franklin led 42-14 late in the third quarter only to see Catonsville closed to within a touchdown and two-point conversion with three minutes remaining in regulation. The Indians eliminated the remaining time to start 3-0 for the second consecutive season.
“We got some talented guys. For two games in a row, we put up some major numbers in one quarter,” said Franklin coach Anthony Burgos. “We’ve shown that we can be one of the top teams out there, but we got to keep our focus.”
“Coach Burgos expects us highly of us. He expects us to get up on teams and not let up,” said Dorsey, who completed 11 of 20 attempts. “He wants to keep pressure on.”
The Indians were again lethal in the third quarter, scoring on three straight possessions capped by a 46-yard scoring run by Tony Pearson, giving Franklin a 42-14 advantage with 3 minutes, 12 seconds left. Weedon (91 yards) had a short touchdown run, then picked up a Pearson fumble a couple of plays later and went to the end zone, bringing Catonsville to 42-28 early in the fourth.
Franklin fumbled deep in Catonsville terrority, but the Comets failed to take advantage. They came through on their next possession, going 70 yards in six plays as Weedon’s 1-yard plunge made it 42-34 with 3:05 left in regulation.
Dorsey’s five-yard run on third-and-4 ended the comeback hopes for Catonsville, which had no timeouts left. Comets coach Rich Hambor said his team put itself in a hole against Franklin’s big-play offense.
“They got great playmakers and when they needed to make first downs, they made them,” said Hambor. “We just can’t turn the ball over. We need to control the clock with our ball control offense. We didn’t play to our strengths.”
The Indians played to theirs, converting seven plays of 20-yards or more, including receiving scores of 24, 45, 44 and 41 yards by Thomas. During the week, Burgos challenged Thomas to become a big-play threat.
After Thursday night’s scare, Burgos issued a warning to his troops.
“For three quarters, we demonstrated that we were the better team; they [Catonsville] demonstrated that they were going to fight until the very end,” said Burgos. “We got to fight until end if we want to play for bigger stakes.”
No. 13 Franklin 42, Catonsville 34
C-Williams 19 run (kick failed)
F-Thomas 24 pass from Dorsey (Gibson kick)
C-Williams 22 run (Weedon run)
F-Thomas 45 pass from Dorsey (Gibson kick)
F-Thomas 56 pass from Venable (Gibson kick)
F-Thomas 21 pass from Dorsey (Gibson kick)
F-Venable 3 run (Gibson kick)
F-Pearson 46 run (Gibson kick)
C-Weedon 3 run (kick failed)
C-Weedon 35 fumble return (J. Jones pass from A. Jones)
C-Weedon 1 run (kick failed)