FRANKLIN, Ind. – It was a tough day for the Yellow Jackets football team, as the high powered offense of the No. 11 Franklin Grizzlies was too much to handle and DC was defeated on the road 41-7.
Franklin upped its season record to 6-2 (6-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference), while the Purple and Gold dropped its third-straight to fall to 3-6 (3-4 HCAC).
The Grizzlies received the ball to open up the game and didn't take long to put points up on the scoreboard. Franklin senior quarterback Jonny West tossed a back corner touchdown pass to his favorite target in senior Kyle Linville and the home team was up 7-0 with less than three minutes off the clock to begin the game.
A DC turnover on its first possession then gave Franklin prime field position in Yellow Jackets territory. Seven plays later, the home squad capitalized on the Defiance miscue and extended its lead to 14-0 on a second touchdown pass from West.
After back-to-back three-and-outs by both squads, the Purple and Gold took the ball in great position at the Franklin 44. The DC offense then put together a good mix of run and pass plays that ended with a 22-yard touchdown scamper by sophomore Daniel Collins (West Springfield, Va./West Springfield). Collins' score was his team-leading fourth on the season and cut the Defiance deficit in half at 14-7.
Through the rest of the first quarter, the Jackets held their own against the nationally ranked Grizzlies. Sophomore defensive back Leroy Cheatham (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook) intercepted a toss from Jonny West and the DC defense allowed only 103 total yards to Franklin.
However, the Grizzlies conference-leading offense began to click into full gear. FC forced a Defiance punt to start off the second quarter and Franklin took over at its own 46. Five plays later, a sneaky reverse pass from Grizzlies wide receiver Kendal Butler to quarterback Jonny West extended the home advantage to 21-7.
The Purple and Gold could just not find any rhythm against the tough opponent in Franklin. The DC defense was giving everything it had on its end, as it was able to force a Grizzlies turnover on downs and another interception from Cheatham over the home squad's next two possessions.
Then right as the Yellow Jackets offense got a little momentum going, they were shutdown on a 3rd and 6 at the Franklin 43 and forced to punt. With just over one minute left, head coach Brian Sheehan pulled out a fake punt pass from senior Aaron Spence (Three Rivers, Mich./Three Rivers) that sailed high to Collins.
The turnover on downs gave the Grizzlies great field position and they took advantage. Franklin's Jonny West completed his third touchdown pass of the afternoon with 10 seconds remaining in the half to give FC a 28-7 lead heading into the locker room.
After the halftime break, Defiance came out with the ball first. However, it was held to one of its five three-and-outs and Franklin received the punt and took over at the DC 41.
It wasn't long before the Grizzlies passing attack struck again with another touchdown toss from West to Linville putting Franklin up 35-7.
FC added another score in its next possession on West's fifth touchdown pass. After a failed extra point attempt, the lead was 41-7 in favor of the Grizzlies.
The Yellow Jackets will take next weekend off in preparation for their annual rivalry game with the Bluffton Beavers. The contest is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Justin F. Coressel Stadium.