Friday, October 09, 2015

Franklin, EG Win Big Games

Week Five H.S. Football Scores:
Franklin 28, Monterey Trail 18
Elk Grove 63, Jesuit 14
Grant 34, Pleasant Grove 7
Del Campo 21, Cosumnes Oaks 14
Burbank 57, Valley 12
Sacramento 63, Laguna Creek 0
Bradshaw 58, Rio Vista 0

Monterey Trail football coach TJ Ewing shaved his beard. Then his Mustangs lost Friday night to Franklin, 28-18.

“Absolutely, that was what I did wrong,” TJ Ewing chuckled. “Naw, it was too itchy.”

The smooth face wasn’t the only new look Ewing tried to whip out on a Franklin squad that like the Mustangs came into the Delta League contest with one win and one loss apiece in league games. Ewing had his offense on several occasion line not two, but three running backs in a straight line parallel to the line of scrimmage. In the old days that was called the “full house” formation.

“We went to it to give us a different look,” he said. “It was good for the team. But, we’ve got to get our special teams better, that’s something we’ve got to coach better.”
Monterey Trail lined up several times in the full-house backfield

His club couldn’t convert any points-after-touchdown and that perhaps was a one of those little mental battles the Mustangs couldn’t win that night.

“I thought our effort was outstanding,” he said. “Franklin did a good job, they are a good football team. It’s a Delta League game. It is what it is. We want to play in those games.”

After Franklin (4-2 overall, 2-1 Delta League) scored 0n Rashaan York’s 12-yard run with 4:40 to go in the second quarter to give the Wildcats a 14-6 lead, Monterey Trail came right back with a drive that drained the clock the rest of the first half.

On a fourth-and-three on the Franklin six yardline, Mustang quarterback Robert Holt fooled the Wildcats on a fake handoff and then lofted a pass to a wide open Bishop Brown in the end zone to pull to within two at 14-12 with :03.6 second left in the half.

Holt’s pass into the end zone on the two-point conversion that would have tied the game was batted away.

Wildcat coach Mike Johnson knew his squad needed to sustain a few drives offensively if they were to win the contest. That’s exactly what he got.

“The key there is ‘when we execute,’” Johnson said. “We have a quick team and we have a lot of kids playing right now. That’s why it is rewarding to coach this group. Most of them didn’t play last year. We have some kids who have never played who are on this field.”

Still, the Wildcats executed its offense very well in the final two quarters, particularly the ground game. 
“We haven’t run well at all this year,” Johnson said. “We have a really young line, inexperienced line. We’ve been working super hard and getting better every week. But, tonight I saw the light bulb come on tonight and, yeah, we can push some guys.”

York scored his second TD of the game midway through the third quarter to stretch Franklin’s lead to 21-12. But the Mustangs bounced back to within three at 21-18 with 7:22 to go.

Holt found Neville Bood from seven yards out, but once again a pass play went awry on the two-point conversion.
Neville Bood scored on a TD pass to close the Franklin margin to 21-18

“We didn’t whither there at the end,” Johnson said. “We took it the distance which we had to do.”

The Wildcats took the ensueing kickoff and drove right downfield, converting several key plays on the way.

“Those third downs got us,” Ewing said. “They really hurt us there.”

Eric Turner blasted right up the middle on a 26-yard TD run with 3:44 left in the game to give Franklin a 28-18 lead.

Monterey Trail, now 4-2 overall, 1-2 in the Delta League, couldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.

Several Mustangs have gone down this season with injury and after this game Tui Pulu who is a running back and linebacker for the Mustangs, was ailing from what looked like a shoulder injury.

“This is a tough league and you’ve got to play with all your guys,” Ewing said. “We’ve had some guys out and the guys we’ve put in have played admirably.”

Next up is the Grant Pacers, but the Mustangs have done well in the past against the perennial football power.

Franklin will travel to Davis in Week Seven of the 2015 high school football season.

“We’re a young team, looking to win as many games as we can,” Johnson said. “Six wins are all we need, that’s our goal.”

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