The Franklin County Flyers had a first quarter of football on Friday that no one expected. Their undefeated team, which had been averaging 65 points per game, went scoreless in the first quarter against a West Jessamine group that wouldn’t quit.
But FCHS head coach Chris Tracy didn’t seem fazed by how the Flyers (6-0) had to rally late to put away West Jessamine 42-21 at Benny Watkins Field. In fact, Tracy said he was quite pleased.
Tracy said he talked to the Colts’ side of the ball before the game and it was their plan to not let FCHS have the ball in the first quarter. West Jessamine accomplished that, holding the ball for 11 minutes and 9 seconds, while the Flyers possessed it only 51 seconds.
“That’s fine. Our kids needed that,” Tracy said. “That’s the type of play we’re going to face in the playoffs.
“I’m satisfied with our defensive effort. Offensively there are some things we need to sure up and work on. I think that goes back to us being frustrated that we’re not scoring every play. We need to be more methodical, more machine-like as we go along.”
It was the first time FCHS hasn’t scored during the first quarter this season. The score-happy Flyers didn’t reach the end zone until the second quarter, when senior Ryan Timmons ran in a complete circle avoiding tackles for a 70-yard touchdown run. An extra-point kick from junior Zach Durham gave FCHS the 7-0 lead with 8:11 remaining in the half.
On the Flyers’ next possession, Timmons went to work again on the first play. This time he ran into the end zone on a 53-yarder. Durham’s kick increased the lead to 14-0.
West Jessamine (1-5) responded by putting together an 11-play drive for 74 yards using running back Devin Taylor. Taylor, who later finished the night with 275 all-purpose yards, scored on a 3-yard run with 13 seconds left in the half.
The touchdown made the score 14-7 at the start of the second half when senior Logan Woodside executed a no-huddle offense. But on the West Jessamine 10-yard line on second-and-goal, Woodside threw a pass into the hands of West Jessamine’s Robby Irgang. It was Woodside’s first interception of the year. Woodside ended the night passing 9-for-13 for 110 yards and two interceptions.
“He’s harder on himself than we will be,” Tracy said. “I think his problem is he is picking out who he will go to. When we go through practice, we tell him when you get this look, you’ll see this guy open. I don’t know if he’s looking at the secondary guy. I’m not sure.
“But he works so hard at it. He’ll go home and beat himself up, but that’s what makes him a Division-1 player.”
The FCHS defense forced the Colts to punt, giving Woodside and Timmons an opportunity for the ball back. Timmons scored twice in the third quarter, one for 92 yards and another for 41 yards, for the 28-7 lead.
“He came over asking for the football and I said to the guys, ‘Give him the football. Anytime he asks, give it to him.’” Tracy said of Timmons. “He put us on his back and we rode him. I think he had 300 plus yards, that’s the kind of kid he is.”
Timmons said when he asked for the ball, he didn’t care about his stats. Timmons finished with 308 all-purpose yards and five rushing touchdowns.
“I don’t play attention to my stats, I just want to win,” he said. “It was a tough battle and it just happened like that. I’m glad we were able to win and able to score.”
Tracy also praised Durham for the extra points on each of Timmons’ scores. He said a lot of times kickers go unappreciated, but Durham’s hard work should be noted.
“He works at what he does,” Tracy said. “A lot of people don’t see it. Honestly, it’s because he is up here by himself.
Kicking and kicking…I’m very proud of him. He works very hard. The way we’ve been playing, he has a lot of opportunities to kick extra points. We don’t do a great job blocking for him, because we don’t have too many big guys up there.”
But in the fourth quarter, the Colts decided it was their time to shine adding two immediate touchdowns by Taylor after a successful onside kick. Down by only one score, West Jessamine was driving down the field with 4:29 remaining in the game. It was then when Tracy saw what he had been waiting for all game. FCHS stopped its opponent on fourth down and then added two of its own scores, a Timmons rush for 31 yards and a junior Chris Roberts 21-yard touchdown run. The game ended with the Flyers in front 42-21.
“Our kids responded big on a fourth down play when it was 28-21, we got that stop and we got two touchdowns since that stop,” Tracy said. “That spurred our team on. It was a good thing.
“I thought our defensive line play and linebackers improved 100-fold,” Tracy said. “I didn’t see much secondary support, but we have young players on both sides. They kept attacking Landon (Hurst), but he got some stops later.”
Tracy hopes to carry this defensive momentum against East Jessamine away this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“We have to come out ready to play. Anything can happen,” Tracy said.