Wildcats shut out Taylor County - Franklin Favorite: Local News

Wildcats shut out Taylor County

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:00 am | Updated: 10:18 am, Thu Nov 29, 2018.

The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats proved that they are one of the best teams in the western side of the state as they defeated the Taylor County Cardinals 33-0 to win their third straight State Semifinal Championship Friday night. The Wildcats are moving forward to play in this Saturday's Class 4-A state championship football game.

"To do and win at this point of the season with these kids three years in a row is a monumental accomplishment," Wildcats Head Coach Doug Preston said. "Credit goes to the kids, coaching staff, administration, parents and the quarterback club. It takes special people to go through this year around. Everyone plays a part in all of this and I'm sure when we look back at this, we will all be grateful with a lot of fun memories and stories to share."

The Wildcats made a statement with their opening drive in the first quarter as they drove 87 yards in eight plays. Senior Tre' Bass and Carlos McKinney were the workhorses of the drive. Both players had four carries with McKinney having 48 yards and Bass having

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39 yards as he finished the drive with 23-yard touchdown run. With the touchdown, he became the all-time single season record holder for rushing touchdowns in a season with 29. The extra point by sophomore Cole Hollingsworth gave Franklin-Simpson a 7-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Bass broke a 39-year record held by James "Bear" Stanley becoming the all-time leading rushed in a single season at Franklin-Simpson.

The Wildcats' defense forced the Cardinals to a turnover on downs on their first offensive possession and a punt on their second. Franklin-Simpson's offense marched down the field in the second quarter with an eight play, 69-yard drive with McKinney running for a 2-yard touchdown. Hollingsworth's extra point extended Franklin-Simpson's lead to 14-0.

Before the end of the first half, Wildcats' senior Leandre Stutzman made two huge plays. He intercepted a pass by Taylor County senior Grant McQueary at the 50-yard line and returned it to the Cardinals' 18-yard line. A penalty by the Wildcats pushed the ball back to the 28-yard line. With 1:14 left in the first half, Franklin-Simpson scored their third touchdown in the first half as freshman quarterback Luke Richardson threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Stutzman. Hollingsworth provided the extra point as the Wildcats led 21-0 at halftime.

"I read the quarterback's eyes so I knew where it was heading. Once I got it, I was really trying to bring it all the way back but didn't,"Stutzman said. "Next play, we came back and Luke threw an excellent ball. Had to make a small adjustment on the route but he put it right there. With those plays, the momentum was clearly with us. We bounced back well from last week and got the shutout tonight."

"The play was great," Richardson said. "I had great protection and Leo (Stutzman) was wide open. All I had to do is get the ball to him. It was a prefect play call and we ran it well. We were dominating by running the football and then we got them with the big pass play for the touchdown."

"Huge play by Leo (Stutzman), maybe the biggest of the game as far as the timing and when it happened," Preston said. "He got the interception to put us in position for the score. Coach (Matt) Marsh made the call on the post play on the backside. The kids executed it and get the touchdown. Just really awesome to see him get the interception and the touchdown. Nice momentum play to separate us because now we're up by 21 as our guys was really focused throughout the game."

After both teams exchanged turnovers early in the third quarter, the Wildcats put together a time consuming drive as they drove 62 yards in 11 plays using 5:23 of game clock time as sophomore Malik Carter, who had four carries for 24 yards on the drive, finished the drive with an 1-yard touchdown run. The snap on the extra point was fumbled and the two-point conversion failed as Franklin-Simpson 27-0.

After a weather delay, the Wildcats' defense forced the third Taylor County turnover of the game as senior Traevon Goodnight disrupted the handoff and recovered the fumble on the Cardinals' 35-yard line. Franklin-Simpson's offense took advantage of the field position as they drove six plays in 35 yards. Following a 21-yard run by Bass, Carter scored his second touchdown of the game with a 1-yard run. The extra point was missed as the Wildcats' defense pitched another shutout as they defeat the Taylor County Cardinals 33-0.

"We just came up here and did what the coaches told us and that was to be aggressive. We knew this would be tough but we knew we had to play well so that we can keep going on the road to 'Lex," Gooch said. "I am excited about playing there. I didn't play football last season and now, I get to play in Lexington. I'm excited, can't wait."

"This was a tough team to get ready for because they do so many things offensively," Preston said. "Got to give credit to the kids for being focused and they allowed some plays here and there but they executed the game plan and got the shutout."

The Wildcats outgained the Cardinals 400-258 total yards of offense. Bass had 28 carries for 157 yards for s touchdown as McKinney had 14 carries for 110 yards for a touchdown and Malik Carter had 10 carries for 43 yards for two touchdowns.

"Coach Chaney and Coach Marsh told me to get in there and run the football for the rest of the game," Carter said. "It's tough to come off the bench and enter a big game but I was mentally focused with the plays and just wanted to run the football and get some yards."

The Wildcats hope to win their second straight Class 4-A Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl State championship on Saturday. They play the Johnson Central Golden Eagles at Kroger Field in Lexington on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and 1220 WFKN Franklin radio will broadcast the state championship game beginning at 2:45 p.m.

Scoring Summary

F-S 7 14 7 7 33

TC 0 0 0 0 0

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