The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats are looking for their second Class 4-A Region 1 District 2 win of the season as they head to Russell Springs to play the Russell County Lakers, the newcomer of the district, this Friday night.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 1220 WFKN Franklin will broadcast the game starting at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be streamed on the Internet by going to www.franklinfavorite.com and click on "WFKN" tab in the blue toolbar. Then click on the tab that says "WFKN Sports" and press the play button.
"I think they are talented a lot like Allen County-Scottsville," Wildcats head coach Doug Preston said. "They have a different style with spread offense and won a big district game over Warren Central by scoring 51 points. I expect the atmosphere to be the same like it was against Allen County-Scottsville. The people in Russell; Springs will be fired up because the two time state champs are coming to town and we just won a district game so that will get everyone excited to play us."
Franklin-Simpson is 2-4 overall for the season. The Wildcats lost their first two home games of the season: 28-14 to Greenwood and 26-21 to Meade County. They lost their next two road games: 41-14 to South Warren and last week, 35-16 to Battle Ground Academy. They picked up their first win of the season by defeating Russellville, 42-0 and last week, they got their first district win of the season, 31-21 at Allen County-Scottsville.
"Getting the district win was big for us," Preston said. From the start of the season, we lost to Greenwood and Meade County in the same type of situation. This time, we persevered and learned from those two games and became better because of it."
The Wildcats have gained 1,776 yards of total offense, 1,339 yards rushing and 437 yards passing. Seniors Leandre Stutzman leads the team with 46 carries for 358 yards for a touchdown with Chase Gooch having 29 carries for 228 yards for a team high of four touchdowns and Tedric Partinger has 27 carries for 188 yards for two touchdowns. Sophomore Omar Harrison has 25 carries for 204 yards for a touchdown.
Sophomore Luke Richardson, who has three rushing touchdowns, has completed 24 of his58 passes for 437 yards for four touchdowns with four interceptions.
Stutzman has seven receptions for 227 yards for two touchdowns with Paringer having six receptions for 98 yards for a touchdown. Harrison and senior Brandon Fisher each ahs three receptions and junior Andrew Ogles has a touchdown reception.
The Wildcats; defense has forced five turnovers this season with Partinger having three interceptions and Stutzman having a fumble recovery with an interception. Rogers leads the team with 41 total tackles with Gooch, who has four tackles for loss of yardage, having 30 total tackles and senior Justin Todd has 27 total tackles. Senior A.J. Burr, who leads the team with seven tackles for loss of yardage, and Harrison each have 25 total tackles and Stutzman has 23 total tackles.
Ryan Richardson is the head coach of the Russell County Lakers. He is in his first season as head coach and has been an assistant Laker Football coach for several years with his most recent stint was as Defensive Coordinator under previous head coach Bill Sharp.
"We've been pretty pleased with the kids so far," Lakers head coach Ryan Richardson said. "We let a couple of games against Casey County and Warren East get away from us. We didn't have our best performance in either one of those but we're pleased to be 4-2. We knew once we got into district play that the competition level would be even higher. We knew that we needed to be playing at our best at this pint of the season and we are improving from week to week."
The Lakers are 4-2 overall for the season, 1-1 in district play. They opened the season with three straight wins: 28-25 over Adair County, 47-14 victory at Green County and a 28-26 win over Metcalfe County. Then suffered two straight losses to Casey County 34-19 and their first district loss to Warren East, 31-14. Last week they earned their first district win of the season, 51-22 over Warren Central.
"The big difference between playing against Warren East and last week against Warren Central is our consistency on both sides of the football," Richardson said. "We came out and had a lead on Warren east and got totally away from what we were doing. That is something we have been preaching to our kids is that we need to play a complete game against teams like Franklin-Simpson. We know what we got coming this week. Franklin-Simpson is the measuring stick in the district and has been for quite a while and hopefully we will come out an be ready to compete."
The Lakers have gained 2,326 yards of total offense, 1,806 rushing and 520 passing. Juniors Dylan Bland has 79 carries for 796 yards for 12 touchdowns and Collin Darnell has 107 carries for 778 yards for seven touchdowns.
Sophomore Gavin Gossage has completed 25 of his 48 passes for 448 yards for three touchdowns with three interceptions. Junior C.J. Vonfumetti has 12 receptions for 181 yards for a touchdown and senior Jamison Harris for 110 yards for two touchdowns.
Russell County has forced 13 turnovers with right fumble recoveries with juniors Zachary Kean leading the team with two recoveries and Mason Hinkle leads the team with three interceptions. Hinkle and Vonfumetti have each returned an interception for a touchdown.
Hinkle leads the team with 76 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss of yards with Kean having 45 total tackles and senior Austin Coffey has 44 total tackles. Vonfumetti has 35 total tackles with 34 total tackles and senior Patrick Bernard and Darnell each have 26 total tackles.
The Wildcats are looking to remain undefeated in district play and the Lakers, with a win, can put themselves in position to potentially hosting an opening round playoff game in the district portion of the playoffs.
"We must tackle better than what we did last week. They have two explosive running backs that will make you pay if you miss a tackle on them," Preston said. "Win all phases of the game like we did against Allen County-Scottsville. Cole's (Hollingsworth) kicking in special teams from the field goal and punts that pinned the Patriots deep in their end of the field was huge. Execute the game plan on offense. Mainly more about us and what we do than it is in what they do."
"Consistency will be the key for us to win the game," Richardson said. "Executing our game plan and we talk to the kids all the time about playing for each other and not for yourself competing for four quarters. At times, we got lackadaisical when we get a nice lead and this Friday night for us to be successful against Franklin-Simpson, we must play, execute and be consistent for all four quarters."