The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats' football team built an early first quarter lead and sustained it for a 35-21 victory over the Russell County Lakers at Finley Field in Russell Springs.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 2-0 in the district and extend their winning streak in district play to 14. The Lakers falls to 1-2 in the district as all the teams in the district head to their bye week because of Fall Break.
"Good win for us tonight," Connor Rogers said. "We came out fast with chase (Gooch) running the football but he gets hurt so we had to overcome that. He was like another coach on the sideline for us, yelling at us and saw things that we didn't see to help us out. We bounced back, overcame and held them when we had to for the win."
Franklin-Simpson scored touchdowns on their first two offensive drives of the game. Senior Chase Gooch gained 34 yards on three carries that set up senior Tedric Partinger's 15-yard touchdown run. Their second scoring drive was Partinger's second of the game. Following an 11-yard pass from sophomore Luke Richardson to junior Andrew Ogles, he ran 26 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Junior Cole Hollingsworth provided the extra points for the 14-0 lead.
"I saw how the linebackers were lined up when we were in our play set and I knew that when I got the ball, the offensive line would have the hole wide open for me for those two touchdown runs," Tedric Partinger said.
In the second quarter, Russell County took advantage of a short field because of a turnover by Franklin-Simpson. They drove 27 yards in three plays with junior Dylan Bland running for a 20-yard touchdown. Diego Gonzalez kicked the extra point, making the score 14-7.
Franklin-Simpson responded on the ensuing possession as they drove 63 yards in six plays. Two plays following senior Leandre Stutzman's 13-yard run with a personal foul penalty on Russell County, junior Malik Carter scored the final touchdown of the half with a 12-yard run. Hollingsworth kicked the extra point for the 21-7 lead.
Special teams play was big for the Lakers in the third quarter. With outstanding field position from a big kickoff return, Bland scored his second touchdown of the game with a 6-yard run that capped off a six play, 39-yard drive. The extra point was missed as they trailed 21-13.
The Wildcats answered with a touchdown drive of their own. They used four plays covering 64 yards with sophomore Omar Harrison gaining 49 yards in two carries including his 38-yard touchdown run. Hollingsworth's kick made the score 28-13.
Russell County used a methodical drive to score their second touchdown of the quarter. Bland had four carries for 48 yards and junior C.J. Vonfumetti finished off the nine play, 68-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Sophomore Gavin Gossage's pass to Bland converted the 2-point conversion attempt as they trailed 28-21.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Wildcats as their defense bent but did not break as they held the Lakers scoreless. Their offense scored on their first full possession in the quarter. Four plays following a 55-yard run by Stutzman, Carter scored his second touchdown of the game with an 8-yard run. The extra point from Hollingsworth made the final score 35-21 for the third win in a row overall for Franklin-Simpson.
"The line and Atakis (Allen) came up with good blocks and it sprung me and I was off to the races," Leandre Stutzman said. "It's the games early on where we didn't make plays when we needed to do so that cost us. We learned from that and we are now playing a complete four quarter game."
"We had to execute when we needed to and overcome adversity tonight," Justin Todd said. "My number got called early and the last two weeks of practices, I got more reps to be ready on both sides of the football to get more of my teammates some rest and tonight, it worked out because myself and others got our number called and helped out team win another district game."
The Wildcats outgained the Lakers, 377--374. Franklin-Simpson rushed for 356 yards with Leandre Stutzman having 12 carries for 147 yards. Omar Harrison had five carries for 72 yards for a touchdown with Malik Cater having 15 carries for 56 for two touchdowns and Tedric Partinger having 53 yards on seven carries for two touchdowns.
Dylan Bland led Russell County with 22 carries for 123 yards for two touchdowns and Collin Darnell had 17 carries for 106 yards.
The Wildcats are off this week and return Friday, Oct. 18, when they host the Warren Central Dragons in another key district game with kickoff at 7 p.m.
F-S 14 7 7 7 35
RC 0 7 14 0 21
F-S Tedric Partinger 15-yard run (Cole Hollingsworth kick) 7-0
F-S Partinger 26-yard run (Hollingsworth kick) 14-0
RC Dylan Bland 20-yard run (Diego Gonzalez kick) 14-7
F-S Malik Carter 12-yard run (Hollingsworth kick) 21-7
RC Bland 6-yard run (kick failed) 21-13
F-S Omar Harrison 38-yard run (Hollingsworth kick) 28-13
RC C.J. Vonfumetti 6-yard run (Gavin Gossage pass to Bland for 2-point conversion) 28-21
F-S Carter 8-yard run (Hollingsworth kick) 35-21