There was no question Franklin High’s football team was much different in the second half Saturday afternoon. A new found intensity and pace of play from the 14th ranked Indians equaled a 25-point third quarter, en route to a 37-24 decision over New Town, in a Baltimore County non-conference match in Owings Mills.
“The boys played well, we just got off to a slow start in the first half,” said Indians head coach Anthony Burgos. “We really talked about, in the second half, just playing a little more upbeat, get a little more into our tempo, and we put up 25 in the third quarter. I’m very pleased with that.”
Franklin’s offense struck immediately in the second half, scoring a 20-yard end-around with junior Ian Thomas, but it was a defensive and special teams’ uproar that pushed Franklin (2-0 overall) to spiral away from New Town (1-1).
Following the Indians score, the Titans were forced to punt after a three-and-out, but an errant snap bounced its way through the end zone for a safety for Franklin.
Two drives later, Franklin senior Mark Venable stepped in front of a New Town pass and return it down the sideline for a 95-yard touchdown. Senior Trevor Grove would also have an interception for the Indians’ defense.
“We have a great team on the defensive side of the ball,” Venable said. “Everyone plays aggressively. Our D-line, Jamal Ibrahim, Chris Jefferson and [Christian] Pol, they played a hell of a game today. Without them, things wouldn’t have happened for us DBs and LBs.”
The nightmarish third quarter continued for New Town as Franklin senior Devonte Johnson made his way through the line and blocked another Titan punt into the endzone for another safety, extending the Indians’ lead to 27-6 lead with 55 seconds remaining. After gaining possession via a free kick, Joey Dorsey threw a 47-yard strike to Thomas, making it 35-6 after the two-point conversion.
After the Indians’ captured their third safety to open the fourth quarter, the Titans got a spark of offense when junior quarterback Shawheem Dowdy scramble his way to an 11-yard touchdown run, complimenting his 60-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Mike Kemp in the first quarter.
“It started out a tough game like I thought it was going to be,” Titans coach Joe Holland said. “We dropped a couple touchdown passes that I thought would put us ahead, but things started to implode on us in the third quarter; blocked punts and interceptions.
I was proud of the way the team fought back in the fourth quarter, but it was a day late and a dollar short.”
New Town backup quarterback, senior Dion Roche, was able to get into the scoring sheet, going up top to Kemp on a 46-yard pass to cap the scoring. New Town heads to Woodlawn Thursday.
With a pair of impressive wins on its ledger, Franklin next hosts Catonsville Thursday in a battle of unbeatens. The Comets have put up 96 points in blowout victories over Pikesville and Milford Mill.
“We have a tough opponent next week,” Burgos said, “so we wanted to get after these guys today and really try to keep pushing on them. Next week is going to be a whole different week.”
Franklin 37, New Town 24
Franklin 7 3 25 2-37
New Town 6 0 0 18-24
F-Venable 1 run (Gibson kick)
NT- Kemp 60 pass from Dowdy (conversion failed)
F-Gibson 28 field goal
F-Thomas 20 run (Gibson kick)
F-Venable 95 interception return (Gibson kick)
F-Thomas 47 pass from Dorsey (Gibson kick)
NT-Dowdy 11 run (Williamson pass from Dowdy)
NT-Kemp 46 pass from Roche (Tate run)