Panthers finish up season in Franklin

Berwick and Franklin will not be strangers tonight at J.C. Dry Stadium in Franklin.

The Panthers and the Hornets had one of the most exciting games of the year last season and Berwick’s new coach comes from Franklin.

“I know them pretty good,” Berwick coach Craig Brodie said. “I was there last season with coach (J.) Ina when he was trying to get things turned around.”

Brodie has said that his season at Franklin helped him prepare for his job at Berwick.

The Panthers (0-9, 0-5 District 9-3A) has been hit hard with the injury bug. Only two seniors will take the field today against the Hornets.

“We were never senior heavy but now we are practically playing our jayvee team on Fridays,” Brodie said. “But the kids are still practicing and playing hard.”

Berwick lost to Abbeville 29-0 in a battle of winless teams last week. Josh Engleton led the Panthers with 74 yards rushing on 11 carries, but the junior fumbled twice. BHS had 111 yards of total offense including 75 yards on the ground.

Abbeville, on the other hand, had 314 yards of total offense, including 305 yards on the ground.

So guess what Franklin’s game plan is Friday.

“We have been a running football team all season so you know we are going to pound it tonight,” Franklin defensive coordinator Carlon Butler said. “We want to win this game to send us into next season on a high note. Last year we lost to West St. Mary in the finale and that negativity carried over.”

Franklin (3-6, 2-3) showed what kind of team it could be last week, taking an early lead on highly-regarded Patterson and becoming the first team to score touchdowns on the ’Jacks’ defense.

“While there are no moral victories, we have to build on last week’s performance and go out and play well for an entire game not just a half,” Butler said. “A win over Berwick will be big for this program at this stage.”

Franklin is in the second year of a rebuilding program under J. Ina.

Brian Robertson led the Hornets’ rushing attack last week, carrying 15 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He has carried 67 times for 414 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Quarterback Michael Poledore is also a running threat. He’s carried 56 times for 110 yards and three scores. Poledore has completed 59-of-108 passes for 666 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

“I know how talented the running back and the quarterback are,” Brodie said. “I coached them last year so I saw it first-hand. While they had more starters returning this year than we did, they still had to play them both ways and I think that has taken a toll on them.”

A win would go a long way for both young teams.

“It would make it easier for us next offseason when we are working to get bigger, faster and stronger,” Brodie said. “Winning always makes hard work easier.”

It’s also senior night at Franklin.

“These kids (the seniors) have been big to this program,” Butler said. “They have bought in and helped change the mindset here, so we want to send them out with a win.”

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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