Franklin County football coach Eddie James may not have thought his team’s victory Friday was a thing of beauty, but it has the Flyers in position to play for a district championship next week.
FCHS remained unbeaten at 8-0 with the 37-20 win over Waggener at Benny Watkins Field, and the Flyers are 3-0 in the district with one district matchup left.
That’s next Friday at Central in Louisville, also 3-0 in district play.
The Flyers found themselves in an unusual position Friday, trailing Waggener 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
“We had some rust coming off a bye week,” James said. “We did some things we don’t usually do, and we turned the ball over way too many times.
“But the reality is a win’s a win, so we’ll take it and go on.”
The Wildcats’ Jamikel James ran for a touchdown in the first quarter. The two-point conversion failed, and WHS led 6-0 at the end of the period.
It was all Franklin County for the rest of the first half and much of the second.
FCHS led 23-6 at halftime. Nick Broyles ran 14 yards for a touchdown, the Flyers scored on a safety when a snap to the Waggener punter went out the back of the end zone, Tariq Lester had a 3-yard touchdown run, and Broyles hit Braedyn Tracy with an 8-yard pass for a score.
A 31-yard pass from Broyles to Fred Farrier put the Flyers up 30-6 early in the third quarter.
“We settled in in the first half, and we started off strong in the second half,” James said. “Then Gavin (Hurst) got ejected.”
James said Hurst was called for targeting early in the fourth quarter, resulting in his ejection. James also said the team will appeal the call.
“The guys all like him, and he’s an energy guy,” James said of Hurst. “That kind of took the wind out of our sails. We talk to our kids all the time that they have to be able to handle adversity.”
Waggener scored twice in the fourth quarter as Alijah Sickles completed touchdown passes of 15 yards to James and 41 yard to Meleick Coleman. The Wildcats also added a two-point conversion, making the score 30-20 midway through the fourth quarter.
FCHS closed out the scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run by Lester with 53 seconds left in the game. Aiden Lewis went 5-for-5 on point-after kicks.
“We had too many turnovers to win a playoff football game,” James said. “It was ugly, but it’s a win, and now we get to play for a district title.
“Central is an elite football program, and we’ll see how we measure up.”
Central is 5-4 overall. The Yellow Jackets won the Class 3A state title last year and are now competing in Class 4A.