Guy Lipscomb reached down and rubbed his sore calf after Friday night’s game against Centennial, but the Franklin senior had a big smile on his face.
Running for 271 yards can make a man sore, but a victory washes all the pain away.
“I got cramps in the third quarter,” Lipscomb said. “But that wasn’t gonna stop me.”
Centennial fought back from a two-touchdown deficit and its coach being ejected to force overtime against its old rival. But the Rebels broke up a potential game-winning two-point pass in the second overtime to preserve a 42-41 victory in the Battle of Franklin.
“All these games are so much fun,” Franklin coach Donnie Webb said. “I’m so proud of the Franklin Rebels.”
Lipscomb was the catalyst for the Rebel offense, accounting for 325 of Franklin’s 509 yards of offense in the win. He even intercepted a pass on defense to stop a Centennial scoring threat in the fourth quarter.
“That felt like the longest fourth quarter I’ve ever been in,” he said. “These games are always close.”
Franklin had taken a 28-14 lead late in the third quarter, but two key defensive plays gave the Cougars new life to start the fourth.
Lipscomb fumbled deep in Franklin territory, and Tucker Tremayne recovered and returned the ball 27 yards to make it 28-21 with just 10 seconds gone in the final quarter.
On Franklin’s next possession, Centennial’s Josh Forsee sacked Josh Nichols and forced a fumble, which the Cougars recovered at the Rebel 41.
Lipscomb’s interception at the 2-yard line stopped the drive, but it was what happened on Centennial’s ensuing possession that caused great controversy and resulted in Cougar coach Matt Kriesky’s ejection at the 2:28 mark of the fourth quarter.
Centennial was faced with a fourth-and-23 at its own 29, but Carter Potts’ punt went off the side of his foot and hit Franklin’s Wyatt Harnage in the helmet, making it a live ball. The Cougars recovered at their own 47, but a discussion by the officials ruled that since there was no true change in possession and Centennial had not made the line to gain, the ball went over to Franklin.
An irate Kriesky pleaded with the officials and was assessed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, resulting in his ejection.
What seemed like a sure scoring chance for the Rebels was thwarted when the Cougars blocked Ian Burr’s 47-yard field goal attempt and took over at the Franklin 32.
Six plays later, Kevin Townsel got behind the Franklin secondary and caught a 20-yard TD pass from Grayson Marcel to tie the game at 28 with just four seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s always great when the defense makes plays,” Marcel said. “We had a lot of nerves, but we had to trust each other.”
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, then John Kirkpatrick scored his second touchdown of the game to start the second overtime and gave Franklin a 42-35 advantage.
“John said give me the ball, and I’ll score,” Webb said.
The Cougars scored in two plays, with Alexander Steele cashing in from 3 yards out (his third TD of the game) to pull his team within one. Centennial called timeout and set up for the two-point conversion, but Franklin’s secondary broke up the pass in the end zone to give the Rebels the win.
“We could have dropped our heads (in the fourth quarter),” Webb said. “It really was a lot of adversity. I’m just so proud because we’ve been in so many close games.”
“We just got the whole team together,” Lipscomb said. “We’ve been in these situations before, but we came out on top this time.”
Franklin 42, Centennial 41, 2OT
Franklin 0 14 14 0 14 42
Centennial 7 7 0 14 13 41
C: Alexander Steele 5 run (Johnny Crouch kick), 1:52
F: Josh Nichols 11 run (Ian Burr kick), 11:14
F: Guy Lipscomb 65 run (Burr kick), 8:44
C: Steele 2 run (Crouch kick), 1:11
F: John Kirkpatrick 4 run (Burr kick), 9:21
F: Nichols 9 pass to Jake Willow (Burr kick), 2:49
C: Tucker Tremayne 27 fumble return (Crouch kick), 11:50
C: Grayson Marcel 20 pass to Kevin Townsel (Crouch kick), 0:04
C: Marcel 11 pass to Townsel (Crouch kick)
F: Nichols 3 run (Burr kick)
F: Kirkpatrick 3 run (Burr kick)
C: Steele 3 run (pass failed)