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Franklin County's Phillip Peiffer, left, and Zach Claudio, right, tackle Central's Dayshawn Mucker durng the teams' Class 4A playoff game Friday in Versailles. (Linda Younkin)

VERSAILLES — Franklin County’s football team took the opening kickoff, drove down the field and scored on its first possession in the district championship game against Central Friday night.

That gave the Flyers a 7-0 lead less than halfway through the first quarter, and that turned out to be the only touchdown FCHS scored.

Central rallied for an 18-7 victory to clinch the Class 4A District 4 championship at Woodford County’s home field in Falling Springs Park.

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Franklin County's Brady Holleran (50) celebrates after the Flyers blocked a field goal attempt by Central in the first half of Friday's game in Versailles. Walking off the field with Holleran is Gavin Hurst (5). (Linda Younkin)

“They played really well,” FCHS coach Eddie James said of the Yellow Jackets. “We had some game plan stuff hid, but they made adjustments, and their defense is phenomenal.”

The Flyers scored their touchdown on a 5-yard run by Jayden Mattison, who started at quarterback in place of Nick Broyles, who was injured in last week’s win over Waggener.

“Our kids didn’t let that affect them,” James said of the quarterback change, “and Jayden didn’t hurt us. He did everything we wanted him to do.”

FCHS led 7-0 after the first quarter and 7-6 at halftime. Central’s touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Dayshawn Mucker, and the point-after kick was blocked.

Staying with their ground game, the Yellow Jackets scored on their first possession of the second half. Mucker carried the ball on eight of the 12 plays, and he capped off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run.

Central attempted a two-point conversion, but the run failed to leave the score as 12-7 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets were driving at the end of the period, and they scored with 10:58 left in the game on a 1-yard run by quarterback Vernon Duncan.

Franklin County had the ball at Central’s 25-yard line on its next possession but turned the ball over on downs and didn’t have better field position the rest of the game.

“Our kids played a good game,” James said. “We wanted them to play with high character and to compete, and they did.”

The loss was the Flyers’ first of the season.

“I'm proud of our kids,” James said. “We’re building a program here, and we haven’t finished yet. Our kids played hard until the end.”

Central, which won the Class 3A state championship last year, advances to the third round with a 7-5 record.

“I’ve said before that they’re the measuring stick,” James said of Central. “We see what we need to do, and we’ll go back to work. The district isn’t going to change for another three years, so we’ll go back to work and take another swing at it.”

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