Friday, November 06, 2015

Franklin Shuts Out PG/EG FInishes Season 10-0

Week Ten Scores:

Franklin 42, Pleasant Grove 0
Elk Grove 55, Sheldon 6
Cosumnes Oaks 42, Ponderosa 21
Grant 42, Jesuit 16
Monterey Trail 36, Davis 29
Valley 58, Florin 28
Bradshaw 58, San Juan 0 

Ask any coach and they’ll tell you that their goal is to have their team peaking going into the playoffs. That’s exactly what has happened at Franklin High School.

“Talk about waiting to the last night to peak,” head coach Mike Johnson remarked. “It’s a good time to be playing your best football.”

In defeating Pleasant Grove, 42-0, Friday, the Wildcats put a hurt on an Eagle’s team that had solidified a playoff spot the week prior. Franklin, on the other hand, knew they needed a win Friday – and win by two points – to grab the third seed out of the Delta League going into this weekend’s post-season play.

But, they won by forty more points than they really had to.

“It was pretty good,” Johnson said of the shutout win. “(Pleasant Grove) got a bad start tonight with the turnover and that’s tough way to start. The other thing was that this was our best offensive night as a team. When you put your best offensive and defensive night together, this is what is going to happen.”

On the other side of the ball, the evening belonged to Franklin quarterback Lamar Jackson. He showed the week ten fans exactly why he was an invitee to the nationally-televised Under Armour High School All-Star Game in December.

Lamar Jackson who ran for 184 yards and passed for 121 more.
Playing quarterback for just the second time this year, due to the injury to senior Jacob Lopez two weeks ago in the loss to Jesuit, Jackson rushed 15 times for 184 yards and four touchdowns. Those scores came on runs of  three, two, 13 and 96 yards.

“It was clicking tonight,” Jackson said.

Through the air Jackson was five-for-seven for 121 yards and one TD.

“Our quarterback went down and me being the captain of this team and the leader, I had to step up, bust my butt every week and give my team the best chance to win,” Jackson added.

Tomorrow, Jackson will once again be making another college visit, this one to Nebraska. He’s already visited Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Arizona and Michigan.

He didn’t talk about that kind of attention, but rather, he was more interested in talking about leading his club into, and hopefully, through the playoffs.

“If I was the opponent, I would prepare for me the best I can,” he chuckled. “If they key on me, there are a whole lot of others guys I can go to. We’re going to be a threat in the playoffs.”

Johnson credited some of Jackson’s success Friday to the play of the offensive line.

“They are a group of young kids and I thought they played really well tonight,” he said.

Jackson’s first TD came only two minutes into the game. The Eagles had the ball first and surprised Franklin by lining up in the Wildcat formation. On the second play Darren Chism grabbed the snap and went around right end for a 73-yard run, but a holding call brought the play back.

That was about as close as Pleasant Grove got to the end zone the rest of the night.

Two plays later the Eagles’ Dawson Weber was hit hard by Wayne Blocker, losing the ball on the three-yardline and it was recovered by Franklin.

On the next play Jackson took the ball out of shotgun formation and scored straight ahead.

From that point on, Franklin cruised to its sixth win of the year against four losses, 4-3 in league action. Pleasant Grove completed its regular season with a 5-5 record and went 4-3 in the Delta. The Eagles are assured of a playoff spot because of its fourth place finish in the league.

Johnson thinks his team’s place in the standings could earn them a seed somewhere right in the middle of the Division I brackets.

Former Franklin QB Jacob Lopez with his mother watching the game on the sidelines
“It’s all in how (the Section playoff committee) values the leagues,” he said. “The thing that worries me is that we don’t have a lot of depth. When we get injuries, it affects us big time.  So, if we stay healthy, then we’re going to be a team no one wants to see early in these playoffs.”

Sitting in his wheelchair on the sidelines Friday was Franklin quarterback Jacob Lopez who is recovering from his second surgery on his right leg, which was broken in the Wildcats’ loss to Jesuit.

Lopez says he has about six to eight more months of recovery and treatments on his leg before he’ll be able to resume jogging or any athletic activity. He said he’ll return to classes this week.

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