3 takeaways: Franklin football's offense explodes for 35-14 win over Lincoln
It's only been eight weeks since Franklin High football head coach Jamal Jones got to Portland to take over the Lightning program.
Four weeks into the season, his team is sitting at 3-0 and 2-0 in the Portland Interscholastic League after a 35-14 win on Sept. 23 over Lincoln, played at Ida B. Wells High School.
A big first half propelled Franklin to a 28-0 halftime lead. Then some clutch defensive plays, including a 76-yard pick-six, sealed the deal.
Here's three takeaways from the Friday night matchup:
Franklin's Jemall Brumfield isn't your typical high school running back. He's closer to the Jerome Bettis size of running backs.
And that was apparent as the senior powered his way throughout the night to 101 yards on ground off of 19 carries. Brumfield scored three touchdowns to boot, going in from 4, 1 and 5 yards out.
"He's incredible," Franklin junior QB Will Reid said of Brumfield. "We don't get that win without him. We have a lot of trust in him, he's great."
Brumfield punched in a couple 2-point conversions as well to give Franklin the 28-0 halftime lead.
Lincoln finally responded in the third quarter, scoring 14 points and looking to make it 21 in the early parts of the fourth.
But on a tipped pass at the Franklin 26-yard line, Brumfield, the two-way starter, looked up and saw the ball floating in the air. He put the ball to his chest and ran down the sideline for the pick-six to stunt any momentum the Cardinals had.
"He knows this is his last opportunity to get a shot at certain teams that over the years have been drilling them," Coach Jones said. "It's really guys like that understanding that message and knowing the second opportunity won't come and just taking advantage of this one. That's what he did tonight, and that's what all our seniors did tonight."
Lightning in a bottle
Reid showed he has a command of the Franklin offense, hitting six different receivers. The junior QB finished 15 for 27 for 217 passing yards with one TD and one interception.
The lone TD pass came on a fourth-and-goal from the Cardinals' 20-yard line. Reid bobbled the shotgun snap, scrambled to his right, and threw the ball to the end zone, where junior Ethan Aman snuck behind his man and made the snag.
Aman entered the night third in the PIL in receiving yards and first in TD grabs.
Throw in fellow junior Max Wallace, who has been Reid's top target, and the Lightning have a strong offensive connection in the passing game.
"Ethan and Max, they're my best friends," Reid said. "I work out a lot with them. We have a really good connection. I have trust in them and they have trust in me and I think that's showing on the field."
On the night, Franklin finished with 325 yards gained: 108 on the ground and the 217 through the air. That passing game mixed with the toughness of Brumfield makes it no surprise the Lightning are out to a 3-0 start.
"I think we've been taking good shots," Brumfield said of the offense. "We could always run the ball, I could get 10 yards or 15 yards, and then we would start messing up. But with this offense it's been different … we're actually taking shots passing the ball, making good reads. Will's making excellent reads."
Southeast stand up
Lincoln was able to salvage a decent night offensively after going into halftime with only 22 total yards. QB Carson Wacker finished 14 for 38 for 192 yards with one TD pass and two interceptions.
Thomas Pempel hauled in a 32-yard TD pass from Wacker for the first Lincoln score and the next was 2-yard run from Emmett Togni after a 30-yard reception from Moroni Seely-Roberts.
The Cardinals forced three Lightning turnovers, two of which set them up for the two touchdowns with a short field.
But Franklin's defense returned the favor with two interceptions, including the back-breaking pick-six.
This kind of success has been a long time coming. Franklin hasn't had a full winning season since 2013 when the Lightning went 7-4 (they were 4-2 in the shortened 2021 spring season).
The energy inside Franklin has been the biggest difference so far under first-year coach Jones.
"I think just the energy, the energy is way different and everybody just wants to lay a boom on somebody and play hard," Brumfield said.
Reid used the word "intensity" to describe the difference at Franklin in 2022. That's started with Jones at the top who said he just stopped using GPS to get to work at Franklin two weeks ago.
Jones and the Franklin program haven't been together a long time, but four weeks in, things are looking bright.
"That's the thing: we're not going to out-talent anybody," Jones said. "But as you saw tonight, we'll for sure out-work you."
Franklin is at home at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 to play McDaniel.
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