Three Western Hills fumbles equaled three Franklin County touchdowns. The Wolverines (1-1) turned the ball over five times after the Flyers forced three fumbles and twice picked off quarterback Nick Young.
The turnovers accounted for 26 of the Flyers’ points, leading Franklin County to a 46-13 victory over Western Hills Friday night at Benny Watkins Field.
“Against a good team like Franklin County, you’ve got to take care of the ball to even have a chance in the game,” WHHS coach Don Miller said. “You have three fumbles, two interceptions — you’re not going to beat anybody playing like that. We’ve got to do a better job and regroup.”
The turnovers started early for Western Hills as Jordan Wise fumbled the ball on second-and-20 with 11:04 to play in the first quarter. It was recovered by Franklin County’s Logan Duke at the Wolverines’ 10-yard line.
Franklin County (2-0) scored on its second play of the drive with a 6-yard rush by Lorenzo McCaskell with 10:28 left in the first. Zach Durham kicked the extra-point for a 7-0 Flyer advantage.
Western Hills got on the board when Young completed a pass to Cody Williams for a 52-yard touchdown. Kicker J.P. Isaacs added the point-after to tie the score 7-7 with 3:42 remaining in the first.
“We had a senior corner who maybe got caught up looking around,” FCHS coach Chris Tracy said. “He was in a decent position to make a play on that ball and I was more upset about that than I was anything else.”
On the Flyers’ next drive, senior Chris Roberts rushed 65 yards to reach the end zone. Durham’s kick was good to make the score 14-7 with 3:30 on the clock.
“I was proud of the kids for coming back after that score because Western Hills came back and tied it,” Tracy said. “I was proud of our kids for not tucking tail and pouting and instead coming back after them.”
On the next drive, the Flyer defense shut down WHHS junior Nick Lockett for a loss of three yards. An incomplete pass and a Young scramble short of the first down forced WHHS to punt.
McCaskell, who finished the night with 112 all-purpose yards, rushed 60 yards for the score. Durham’s kick made it 21-7 Flyers with 1:48 left in the first.
The second quarter opened with a Williams fumble recovered by Isaiah Lee. On the Flyers’ first play of the drive, sophomore quarterback Barrett Sanderson connected with McCaskell for a 46-yard touchdown pass. Durham’s kick was successful for a 28-7 Flyer lead.
“It always helps when you play with a short field with an inexperienced quarterback,” Tracy said. “The bad part about it is we still didn’t run that many plays, but we’re playing great defense right now. That’s what we’ve been focusing on in the off season.”
The Flyers are taking pride in their defense this year and Friday night was a perfect example, Tracy said.
“We have really done a better job this year with defense,” McCaskell said. “I feel like we’re more of a defensive team this year. We’re trying to get more hungry on defense and it really starts us off.”
FCHS forced Young to fumble on the Wolverines’ next drive, and Lee took it in from 26 yards out for the score. Durham’s extra-point kick failed.
On the Wolverines’ next drive, Malik Barnett intercepted Young and returned the ball for a 55-yard score. Durham missed the kick to make it 40-7 Franklin County.
The Flyers scored once more before halftime when Sanderson connected with Roberts for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Demarcus Kennedy picked off Young to enter halftime with a 46-7 Flyer advantage.
“I still don’t like the way we come out in the second half,” Tracy said. “I guess when you have a running clock, it’s kind of hard to get focused. I want our kids to get the feeling, let’s put our foot on their throat and finish this thing and put the pedal down.”
Western Hills scored once more in the final minutes when Young connected with ZhaVaughn Reed for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Wolverines attempted a two-point conversion, but Daniel Childress was unsuccessful.
“We had a deep ball and connected,” Miller said. “(Young) gave Reed the opportunity, and like in Owen County, he had a couple of those opportunities to score. It just gives us a threat.”
Young finished the night 5-for-11 for 100 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Sanderson threw four completions out of six attempts for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Sanderson came out in the fourth quarter and freshman Dalton Landrum took over for the Flyers.
“I think he grows up and he learns something each week,” Tracy said of Sanderson. “There are still some intangibles that I think he still needs to get better at.
“If we’re continuing to run the football and do our short passes we get up and we don’t really have to pass the ball, so we’re not able to use our entire playbook, which we can hold onto later down the road, but we’re not giving him the opportunity to do some of these plays at game speed.”
Franklin County finished with 304 total yards on offense compared to Western Hills’ 193.
“It’s Chris, Lorenzo, Lee, and we haven’t even had Landon Hurst out on the field yet, and Denzel Vance, he’s a freshman, he’s fast and he’s that kid that gives you an extra gear,” Tracy said of his offense. “We’re going to be a four-prong monster. We have an opportunity to be pretty dog-gone good in the running game with an experienced line.”
Roberts led all players with 135 all-purpose yards and Williams followed for the Wolverines with 126.
“Defensively we made some mistakes and I felt like it was more busted plays than anything,” Miller said. “We were there to make the tackles, but Chris is a good running back. He’s a big, hard-nosed kid and it’s hard to tackle him.”
The Wolverines have their open week Friday before they travel to West Jessamine Sept. 13.
Franklin County has its first road game Friday at Oldham County.
For a gallery of photos from this game click here.