Big 2nd half lifts Franklin past Morgan City
By GEOFF STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — A big second-half was just too much for Morgan City to overcome in a 30-6 loss to Franklin Friday at Tiger Stadium.
While Morgan City led 3-0 at the half and had held Franklin to 49 yards of offense — all through the air — in the first half, the Hornets exploded for 30 points and 192 yards in the second-half, all on the ground, for the come-from-behind win.
“I challenged the guys at halftime,” Franklin coach J. Ina said. “(I) said we do not need to throw the ball. … We’re not on throwing it (Friday), so I challenged them to step up. We got big and just (wanted) to get physical and go straight at them, nothing fancy.”
Early on in the game, Morgan City dominated the possession as the Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove down to the Franklin 25 where it got on the scoreboard for the first-half’s lone score via Sergize Flores’ 44-yard field goal.
The Tigers retained possession on the ensuing kickoff when it recovered the football at the Franklin 48. However, Franklin forced a three-and-out and Morgan City punted to Franklin.
The Tigers would get the ball back fairly quickly as on third down on Franklin’s ensuing possession, Franklin quarterback Jarion Brown threw the ball away under pressure and Morgan City’s Malcolm Watkins made a diving interception at the Franklin 25 yard line.
While Morgan City moved the ball down to the 8-yard line on the strength of Kevon Marsh, who carried all but one time on the six-play drive, the Tigers stalled and were forced to kick a field goal.
This time, Flores’ 28-yard attempt was blocked.
While Franklin threatened later in the half, moving the ball down to the Morgan City 11 following a 14-yard completion from Brown to Allen Randle, the drive stalled, Morgan City’s defense stiffened, forcing two incomplete passes, while Morgan City defensive lineman and ULL commitment Daryl Johnson sacked Brown for a 12-yard loss on third down, giving Franklin a 4-and-22 situation from the Morgan City 23.
Although Franklin gained five yards via a Morgan City penalty, Brown’s fourth down pass was broken up by Morgan City’s Nhirobi Dewey to keep Franklin off the scoreboard.
“Our defense made some really good plays in the first half,” Morgan City head coach Dennis Lorio said. “Franklin has some talent. They have some nice linemen and good skill kids. Our kids were ready for the passing game.”
While Morgan City kept Franklin off the scoreboard in the first half, the second half was a different story.
Franklin scored on four of its five offensive possessions, with the fifth possession ending because the game ended.
Franklin turned strictly to its ground game in the final half of play, led by Brian Robertson and Brandon McFarlane.
McFarlane capped Franklin’s first scoring drive of the second half, a seven-play, 69-yard drive, with a 9-yard run.
Brown’s two-point conversion pass to Brennen Robinson was good for an 8-3 Franklin advantage.
Franklin’s next score was set up by a nice return to the Morgan City 12.
On the first play of the drive, Robertson rumbled 12 yards and a 14-3 Franklin lead following a failed two-point conversion.
While Morgan City responded with a lengthy drive down to the Franklin 21 yard line, the Tigers were forced to kick a field goal, which Flores connected on from 37 yards to cut the Tigers’ deficit to 14-6 late in the third quarter. No times for scores were available due to a malfunctioning clock.
“We had three opportunities to score touchdowns tonight,” Lorio said. “We got in (the) scoring zone three times and we ended up with three field goal attempts, made two, missed one. … I know this, our kids are trying hard. Our coaches are working hard. We’re doing everything we can, and I know our kids at halftime knew they had played well.”
Ina said it was good to keep Morgan City from scoring a touchdown.
“We’re scoring 30 points,” Ina said. “You got to kick a lot of field goals to beat us. … This is two weeks in a row they’ve played really, really well. Man, they’re really starting to come on. The offense we (are) starting to come around a little bit.”
Ina said he challenged his team not to commit any turnovers and they came through in Friday’s win.
After Morgan City’s field goal, Franklin would add two more scores on consecutive drives, a Robertson 26-yard run early in the fourth quarter and again on McFarlane’s 26-yard run following a Franklin interception.
While Morgan City’s defense held Franklin to 241 total yards (192 rushing and 49 passing), the Tigers’ offense struggled as it totaled just 87 yards of offense (63 rushing and 24 passing).
Marsh led Morgan City with 28 carries for 61 yards, while Hector Tolento, starting his second consecutive game for Morgan City, completed two of five passes for 24 yards and an interception.
Buddy Humphrey caught all of Tolento’s passes.
Lorio noted that his team played through injuries in the contest.
“My heart goes out to Daryl Johnson,” Lorio said. “He’s out there playing on one leg, gives it all he’s got. Kevon Marsh, our only tailback, is playing hurt. He’s only about 80 percent. We have several other kids hurt, and we’re doing the best we can. Our kids are competing. They’re doing the best they can. They’re not making excuses. They’re not quitting. That’s all we can ask.”
While Franklin did get the win, Ina said he was disappointed about the malfunctioning clock, noting it was hard to manage his team and the game.
Lorio didn’t mention the clock in his postgame remarks, although the Tigers faced the same adversity.
Morgan City Principal Mickey Fabre said this morning that the clock, also not working properly during Thursday night’s Central Catholic-Vermilion Catholic game, is scheduled to be repaired by Thursday.
No local teams will play at home this week as Morgan City (0-5) will return to action Friday when it travels to Rayne for a nondistrict contest, while Central Catholic will face Hanson in Franklin Friday.
First downs: 7 14
Rushing yards: 63 192
Passing yards: 24 49
Total yards: 87 241
A-C-HI 5-2-1 10-3-1
Penalty yards: 8-65 9-85
Fumbles lost 4-1 0-0
Score by quarters
MCHS 3 0 3 0 --- 6
FHS 0 0 14 16 --- 30
MCHS: Sergize Flores 44 yd. field goal
FHS: Brandon McFarlane 9 yd. run. (Jarion Brown pass to Brennan Robinson)
FHS: Brian Robertson 12 yd. run (Pass fail)
MCHS: Flores 37 yd. field goal
FHS: Robertson 26 yd. run (Robertson run)
FHS: McFarlane 26 yd. run (McFarlane run)
Morgan City Individual stats
Kevon Marsh 28-61, Clifton Escort 1-3; Tierell Jones 1-2, Hector Tolento 5-1, Ethan Scioneaux 2-0, Darien Verdun 1-0 and Buddy
Humphrey 1- (-4)
Hector Tolento 2-5-1 24 yds.
Buddy Humphrey 2-24