FRANKLIN – The Centennial High School football team captured its first win since 2017 in the Battle of Franklin series with crosstown rival Franklin Friday in convincing fashion.
The Cougars, who improved to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in Region 7-6A, dominated the possession in front of their home crowd with a grinding rushing attack offensively and stout defense. The Admirals (1-6, 0-3) only had the ball for 14 1/2 minutes, compared to more than 36 minutes for Centennial, and the visitors managed only five first downs in the 34-7 defeat.
The lopsided victory continued a trend for Centennial. In its five wins, it’s outscored opponents 203-20 and hasn’t given up more than seven points. However, the Cougars’ two losses were shutouts 35-0 and 36-0 to Independence and Summit, respectively.
Centennial started its clock domination from the opening drive, going 10 plays and taking up 4 1/2 minutes of game time. Quarterback Cannon Plowman capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, his first of three touchdowns on the day.
Franklin went three-and-out on its first possession, and that would be the only time the Admirals offense would see the field in the first quarter. The Cougars got the ball back on their own 43-yard line and milked the rest of the 5:33 off the clock, scoring on the first play of the second quarter on a 7-yard run from Tanner Lee. It was an 11-play drive with 10 running plays.
The 13-0 lead – Centennial missed its first PAT – grew to 20-0 late in the first half with Plowman’s second TD, a 41-yard pass to Brendan Jones.
Franklin earned its only offensive firework on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Cooper Brown hit Ashton Orton for a 65-yard score to cut the deficit to 20-7 with just over a minute left in the half.
That would be as close as the Admirals would get the rest of the way. Centennial tallied two more scores – another rush from Plowman and one from Camden Brock – in the third quarter to bring the 34-7 final.
Plowman finished 10-of-13 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown and added 54 yards and two more scores on 20 rushes. The Cougars also received 52 yards on 18 totes from Lee and 143 receiving yards on five catches from Jones.
Franklin’s offense was frustrated all night. The Admirals failed to get a single third-down conversion in nine attempts and finished with 170 total yards, only six of them on the ground.
Brown connected on 12-of-20 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown and interception. Orton was his favorite target, catching five balls for 92 yards and the long TD.
Rocco Panaia did his best to lead the Franklin defense, finishing with a team-high 7 1/2 tackles and 4 1/2 tackles for loss.
Centennial is tied with Brentwood at 1-2 in region play, while Franklin sits at the bottom of the standings in sixth place.
The Cougars will travel to region foe Ravenwood (5-2, 2-1) next week, while the Admirals host Brentwood (3-4, 1-2).
Centennial 34, Franklin 7
FHS 0 7 0 0 – 7
CHS 6 14 14 0 – 34
1Q 7:31 C – Cannon Plowman 1 run (Kick blocked);
2Q 11:52 C – Tanner Lee 7 run (Kofi Boggs pass from Plowman);
2Q 2:23 C – Brendan Jones 41 pass from Plowman (Kick blocked);
2Q 1:16 F – Ashton Orton 65 pass from Cooper Brown (Owen Saltmarsh kick);
3Q 7:48 C – Plowman 2 run (Kani Johnson pass from Plowman);
3Q 3:04 C – Camden Brock 5 run (Kick failed).