An early goal-line stand by Harrison County proved costly for Franklin County Friday night, and that series helped change the complexion of the upcoming state playoffs.
The Thorobreds (5-5, 4-3) went on to defeat the Flyers 20-3 Friday night at Benny Watkins Field. A win would have sent FCHS to Oldham County (6-4) as the third-seeded team in the district, but the loss bumped the Flyers to the four spot and leaves them traveling to perennial power Highlands instead.
Harrison County's motivation Friday night was simple: beat Franklin County (6-4, 4-3) and the Thorobreds make the trip to Oldham County this Friday night in the playoffs, or lose to FCHS and their season was over with Bourbon County likely taking the fourth seed.
"We had to win this game," Harrison County coach Ray Graham said. "If we lose, we're out (of the playoffs). I'm so proud of what our kids have done this year. This is one of my most rewarding seasons as a coach and we're just 5-5, but we're in the playoffs as a third seed."
An interception by Franklin County's Andrew Wise gave the Flyers the ball on their own 48-yard line late in the first period. FCHS quickly moved the ball deep into Thorobred territory. On the first play of the second quarter, Franklin County faced a fourth down situation at the HCHS 3.
David Allen of Harrison County jumped offside before a play got started, giving FCHS first-and-goal at the 1. Josh Walker was stopped for no gain before Allen made up for his mistake by tackling Brad King for a four-yard loss on second down. An incomplete pass on third down forced the Flyers to settle for a Kurt Jewell field goal and a 3-0 lead.
"That was it," Graham said of the difference in the game. "I was so proud of our goal-line defense. For them to just walk away with a field goal there was incredible for us."
Franklin County coach Donny Walker fully expected his team to get a touchdown in that situation.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.