Broncos ride away with a 35-31 victoryPublished 12:01pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013
BY SIDNEY MOORE/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
SUFFOLK—Lakeland hosted Franklin in a scrimmage this past Saturday that held the energy of a playoff game. The weather was right and crowds were in numbers to support their respective teams. Both teams were loud and focused as they awaited the kickoff.
Once the ball was in play, No. 6 for Franklin (Marcus Stephens) made a huge return that seemed to set the tone for the game. That first drive resulted in the Broncos pounding the ground until a touchdown came about courtesy of Stephens. When Lakeland Cavaliers had their turn with the ball, they fumbled during the first drive with Franklin recovering. The Broncos capitalized on the possession with another touchdown run by Stephens and pushed ahead to lead 13-0. The Cavaliers settled for a field goal after suffering a sack in the red zone, ending the first quarter with a score of 13-3 Broncos.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Franklin scored on another ground drive, which made it look like a blowout in the making. Yet, Lakeland had something up their sleeves. The Cavaliers had a huge return on the kickoff. They then turned a 50-yard pass to No. 10 into a touchdown. Feeling the rush of energy from the touchdown, the Cavaliers forced a fumble and recovered it. They made good on a 24-yard touchdown pass.
The first half was finished off by a huge run by Franklin’s Stephens, resulting in a touchdown. Then Lakeland returned the favor by completing a 48-yard pass to No. 12 (Revell) with additional penalty yards. That drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to No. 1, closing out the half with Franklin leading 27-24.
Halftime didn’t kill the Cavaliers’ momentum at all. During their first drive of the second half there was a 60+ yard run by the QB No. 3 (Goodman), which gave Lakeland their first lead of the night.
Once the lead was out of the Broncos hands, they seemed off their game. Franklin had two fumbles but recovered both. They also had a 50-plus-yard run by Stephens, but that drive was disrupted by Lakeland’s No. 2 (Yulee). Both teams traded sacks and mostly kept things on lock down defensive wise. The third quarter ended with Lakeland leading 31-27.
Opening the fourth quarter, Franklin tried the long ball to regain some lost yardage from a previous sack and had the pass intercepted by Lakeland’s Revell. The Cavaliers were unable to convert though. When Franklin got the ball back, the Broncos handed it off to their go-to man, Stephens, who scored on the ground. Then they ran into the end zone on a two-point conversion.
The eight-point gain that put Franklin back in the lead by four points changed the tide. The Broncos regained possession of the ball and took to draining the time from the clock. They let No. 3 (Lane) handle the run, which forced the Cavaliers to use their timeouts. Then as the Broncos arrived on Lakeland’s one-yard line, they fumbled with 1:25 left, giving that Lakeland the chance to score.
The Cavaliers’ QB, No. 3 Goodman was able to launch a deep pass to Revell for a gain of 56 yards. Then there was a high snap that almost killed all hopes for Lakeland, leaving them with 11 seconds on the clock. After regaining composure, Revell takes another pass from the 49 to the 14-yard line, putting the Cavaliers in prime scoring position with 2 seconds left to play. During the last play of the game, Franklin unleashed an all-out blitz that left Goodman scrambling in the pocket searching but unable to find a receiver. He was taken down in the backfield, sealing the fate of the Cavaliers. Franklin Broncos held off the Lakeland Cavaliers with a final score of 35-31 at the end of regulation.