The Franklin County home crowd went quiet as the Flyers fell behind by two scores in the third quarter against Woodford County in Friday night’s contest at Benny Watkins Field.
The old men murmured and rubbed their eyes. They hadn’t seen this in a long time. Neither had the pass-happy undefeated Flyers.
But senior quarterback Logan Woodside and company returned to the field with the same ever-present confidence that has averaged the Flyers 60 points per game. The offense constructed a three-play, 49-yard scoring drive in 53 seconds, with a Woodside pass to his senior counterpart Ryan Timmons for a 29-yard touchdown.
Just like that, FCHS was back in the game — as if they ever really left — and earned its eighth straight win with a 76-55 victory over Woodford County.
“I never feel like we won’t come back,” Woodside said after the game. “Our offense is so explosive that if our defense gives up two, we can get them back really quick. It really helps us out.”
The offensive powerhouse had four different players score touchdowns, including Timmons with six, three rushing and three receiving and 310 all-purpose yards. Junior Chris Roberts finished with three scores, two rushing and one receiving. Greg Maupin and Lorenzo McCaskell each caught a touchdown pass from Woodside, who completed 11-for-15 passes for 330 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
The numbers are staggering already, but then throw in the fact that the Flyers held the ball for only 32 seconds in the first quarter, compared to Woodford’s 11:37, and for four quarters, FCHS possessed the ball 13 minutes to the Yellow Jackets’ 34.
FCHS head coach Chris Tracy said the way to win against the Flyers is to keep them off the field. Repeatedly successful onside kicks plus a total 403 yards on the ground and 161 in the air for the Yellow Jackets caught FCHS off guard.
“(Woodford) had a great game plan,” Tracy said of how the Yellow Jackets onside-kicked each kickoff. “I don’t think our guys stopped playing. I just think they got a little overwhelmed.”
But the game didn’t start that way. On WCHS’ first series, the Flyer defense held the Jackets to a three and out. The offense executed a perfect first play, a 55-yard Timmons touchdown run. Junior Zack Durham’s kick made it a 7-0 lead 9:28 in the first quarter.
Then Woodford found its run game, scoring on a 15-yard rush from Jarren Holts after driving 92 yards never throwing the ball.
Each team traded scores tying the game twice, before WCHS blocked the extra-point kick from Durham and took the two-touchdown lead in the third. Tracy said that he saw “the worst defensive practice last Tuesday I’ve ever been a part of,” and their performance on game night directly correlated to how they practiced.
“It is lack of effort,” he said. “It is a struggle for us sometime.”
On defense, Woodside led the team in tackling with 9.5, followed by senior Brandon Smith with 7.5.
Late in the third quarter with the game tied 34 all, play was delayed for 20 minutes due to an injury on the field. Freshman Jhanny Rodriguez “got hit from behind and was knocked out for several minutes,” Tracy said. An ambulance was brought on the field and carried the injured player off the field on a stretcher.
Tracy said after the game, he had already heard from Rodridguez that he was home and fine, but the hit was an anxious moment knowing the Flyers still had a game to finish.
While FCHS’ offense kept adding to the scoreboard, the defense made sure the Yellow Jackets stayed off of it. With the Flyers leading 62-55 with 7:44 left in the fourth, junior Alex Prado recovered a fumble from Woodford quarterback Kainan Hudson.
Next, Woodside connected with Maupin for a 26-yard touchdown and Durham added the extra point for the 69-55 lead.
On Woodford’s next series, Maupin caught another pass — an interception from Hudson. FCHS then secured its win with a six-yard touchdown run from Roberts.
“I told them after the game, I give them credit because they got it back,” Tracy said. “We haven’t played that bad in a while. It is just frustrating because we really worked hard this week and came out and didn’t perform defensively.”
It wasn’t the type of game Tracy wanted to see before playing Anderson County at home this Friday for the district title. Both teams are 3-0 in district play.
“If we play like we did tonight, it won’t be a good situation.”