Franklin surprises No. 2 City

Unranked Indians shut down Knights to reach state semifinals for 1st time since '78

Franklin 7 City 6

November 26, 2006|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

After a miserable first half on offense, Franklin controlled the football in the second half, scored on a 45-yard run by Scott Noble and Josh Gibson's extra-point kick and upset No. 2 City, 7-6, in the Class 3A North region final at Poly yesterday.

Franklin's unheralded defense held the defending regional champion Knights to just 76 yards rushing and 50 passing.

"We took them out of their offense and they [took] us out of ours," City coach George Petrides said. `They did a great job on defense."

Making their first playoff appearance since 1994, the unranked Indians (10-2) advanced to their first state semifinal since 1978, when they reached the final.

Franklin will travel to No. 1-ranked River Hill (12-0), a 48-10 winner over No. 15 Severna Park on Friday in the 3A East final.

The state semifinal likely will be played at 7 on Friday night and will pit two former Western Maryland (now McDaniel) football players in Franklin coach Anthony Burgos and his River Hill counterpart, Brian Van Deusen.

Noble, who is headed to James Madison University, came into the game with metro area-leading totals of 1,659 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing, but found the going tough between City's mammoth defensive tackles, James Carmon and Zion Pyatt.

Carmon, a 6-foot-7, 340-pound junior and the 6-4, 295-pound Pyatt, a senior, were mainly responsible for Noble's minus-14 yards on eight carries in the first half.

"My coach made adjustments at halftime, and he knew that all I needed was a crease in there to do what I had to do," said Noble, who gained 90 yards on 16 carries in the second half.

"We had to win this game, and I wasn't going to let them stop me. That was one of the toughest defenses I've run against."

Noble went for 16 yards on his first carry of the second half. Two plays later he burst through the middle, cut to the right and outraced three defenders 45 yards to the end zone.

"I knew I had to be patient, wait for it to pop and once it popped, I knew I had to take it," Noble said.

Previously unbeaten City (11-1) doesn't kick extra-point tries, and that cost the Knights dearly. City took a 6-0 lead in the second period on a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ellis Foster to Sheldon Waller, but Foster's pass on a two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete.

Franklin, which regularly kicks its conversions, tied the game at 6 on Noble's touchdown run four minutes into the third quarter, and Gibson made the decisive extra-point try.

Led by inside linebackers Ronald Greene and Morgan Hankin and defensive linemen Philip Arum, Bryan Pasternak and Michael Penn, Franklin made sure the one-point margin was enough.

"Everybody was saying our defense was soft up the middle and we were offended by that,"' Greene said. "We just went straight forward and stopped everything."

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

Franklin 0 0 7 0 - 7

City 0 6 0 0 - 6

C-Waller 7 pass from Foster (pass failed)

F-Noble 45 run (Gibson kick)

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