Finishing what they started

Bitter end to last season has left Flyers vying for redemption

By BRIAN RICKERD/sports@state-journal.com Published:

If the 2012 Franklin County Flyers adopt a team motto, it might be, let’s finish what we started.

This past season coach Chris Tracy’s Flyers were loaded for bear and pretty well steamrolled 11 straight opponents before suffering a stunning 84-48 loss at home to Conner in the second round of the state playoffs.

Conner went on to lose the next week to Anderson County – a team that Franklin County had beaten easily earlier – and Anderson’s Bearcats went on to the state championship game.

“It left a horrible taste,” said Tracy of the loss to Conner. “It makes you sick. As the year went on, we really felt that we probably should have been playing for a state championship. We should have been there.”

Tracy’s team appears well capable of another shot, led by an unbelievable athlete in senior Ryan Timmons, and one of the state’s most underrated quarterbacks in University of Toledo-commitment Logan Woodside, along with a host of other skill players.

Timmons gained 2,651 all purpose yards a year ago, rushing 62 times for 1,382 yards and catching 38 passes for another 1,100 yards. He scored 38 touchdowns.

“With him, you can’t come up there expecting a big hit because he’s going to move,” Tracy said. “You have to come up, wrap him up and make a solid tackle. Now, with that being said, he can elude that just as easily.”

Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois and Purdue are among the schools to offer Timmons so far.

Then you can contend with a quarterback in Woodside who was adjusting to FCHS last season after transferring from Anderson County. And all Woodside did in 2011 was pass for 2,560 yards and 29 touchdowns. Woodside completed 123 of 221 passes, with 10 interceptions.

“The biggest difference between this year and last year is Logan’s comfort level,” Tracy said. “To be honest, he threw for 2,500 yards last year, and in reality, he could almost double that this year, knowing what he knows about the offense.”

Tracy notes that while clearly it helps Woodside to have a guy like Timmons to dish the ball to, the monster that is the Franklin County offense is far more than two-headed.

Try stopping junior runner Chris Roberts, 262 pounds of muscle, when it’s mid third quarter and you’ve spent 30 minutes or so of game time chasing Timmons and company all over the field.

“I’m curious to see how it all shakes out,” Tracy said. “We may get our quick guys the ball outside and have everybody chase after them, and then hammer them with Chris a little bit.”

Seniors Greg Maupin and Brandon Smith are two more skill guys who can run and catch. So is junior Lorenzo McCaskell. And look out for freshman Landon Hurst.

The Flyers will once again be smallish on the offensive line, and once again that won’t matter much given the speed and quickness around them. Juniors Zane Stone and Alex Prado should anchor the FCHS line.

Many of names mentioned above will show up on the Franklin County defense as well, led by Maupin and Roberts. Tracy said Maupin will roam all over the field while Roberts could blossom into a defensive end who no one wants to challenge.

Though Tracy readily admits that defense is the question mark about the Flyers, as evidenced by the astonishing 84 points Conner ran up on this team in the playoffs.

“After the Conner game, that’s the first question,” Tracy said of defense. “’How are you going to be?’ And I think by the end of this season we will be better than where we finished last season defensively. We’re thin at some spots, and we need to develop some depth, but we’ll be better.”

The journey for the Flyers starts Friday at Nelson County. Tracy and company certainly believe it can end in Bowling Green in December when the state championship games are played.

“You don’t get an opportunity very many times, and I continue to reiterate to our kids that we still have the same opportunity,” Tracy said of a deep playoff run. “Because I think we’re good enough to do that. And that’s our goal.

“I mean, every coach and player SAYS that, but I truly believe it. There’s nobody that stands in our way but ourselves. I know it may sound arrogant or cocky, but we’ve got some good football players on this team, and I think we’re a tough matchup for teams.”

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