Editor's Note: This story was updated Nov. 20 at 9:30 a.m. with additional statistics.

Relentless. Physical. Disciplined.

Those are words Franklin County’s defensive players live by.

Those are words that helped the Flyers win their second consecutive regional championship Friday night.

FCHS defeated Allen County-Scottsville 49-12 at Benny Watkins Field, putting the Flyers in the final four of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Franklin County will play at Johnson Central at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a berth in the state championship game.

FCHS (10-3) led just 14-6 at halftime after a flurry of flags and turnovers in the first half.

“It was just a combination of errors,” FCHS coach Eddie James said. “I think we had three or four turnovers in the first half. You just can’t turn the ball over and win. We had great drives, moving the ball, and then that stuff happens.

“But it was good. It’s a good wakeup call. You’re playing in November this late, you can’t have those errors. We make those errors next week, we’re sitting at home. We’re done.”

That all changed in the second half.


Franklin County’s Zack Claudio returned the second-half opening kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown, and after ACS went four and out on its next possession, FCHS’ Kaden Moorman ran 34 yards for a touchdown.

Four minutes into the second half, and the Flyers had scored as many points as they had the entire first half.

“We just stopped making mental errors,” FCHS’ Gavin Hurst said. “We were beating ourselves the first half. We just came out and played how we play normally. Just stopped all the talk and all the trash talk, the flags stopped throwing, we stopped getting flags. The game just started rolling after that.

“We didn’t have the discipline (in the first half), but we brought it the second half. “

FCHS scored two more times before the third quarter ended, with Hurst intercepting a pass and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown and Brenton Sears scoring on a 16-yard run.

Sears’ touchdown made the score 42-6 and sent the game to a running clock.

“We had some strong words for them at halftime,” James said. “They know how to play football. They’ve been down this road before. I told them after the game they’re going to write the ending to this thing.  

“Not a lot that we’re going to say or do as the coaching staff is going to do anything. It’s in the control of these kids and the leadership of our football team.”

Franklin County’s final touchdown came in the final minutes of the game on a 33-yard pass from Tyler Broyles to Gilead Galloway. The Flyers were 7-for-7 on point-after kicks with Easton Powell making six and Aiden Oerther one.

Franklin County never trailed in the game. Hurst intercepted a pass two minutes into the contest, and on the next play Moorman went 38 yards for a touchdown.

FCHS led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, but the Patriots’ Tanner Swinson scored from 7 yards out on the first play of the second quarter. The point-after kick failed, leaving the score at 7-6.

Claudio scored on a 58-yard run with 11:35 left in the first half, and the score remained 14-6 at halftime.

The Patriots’ final touchdown came on a 40-yard pass from Payton Cope to Jax Cooper with 10:30 left in the game. The pass was incomplete on the two-point conversion attempt.

Hurst finished the game with three interceptions, and he was 8-for-10 passing for 85 yards. Moorman rushed for 82 yards, and Braedyn Tracy caught four passes for 55 yards.

Sears had a team-high 13 tackles, and Blair Tate had 12.

FCHS defeated Allen County-Scottsville 48-14 last year for the regional championship, and the Flyers played at Johnson Central in the semifinals, winning 20-12.

Now the Flyers are headed back to Paintsville, home of Johnson Central (11-2).

“It’s a great feeling because this is only two regional championships in the past 40 years,” Claudio said. “Every time we get a chance, we love it. The environment down there, everywhere we play this time of year, is fun.”

Johnson Central defeated Corbin 34-13 Friday. A win by Corbin would have given the Flyers a chance to avenge one of their three losses this season, but they weren’t thinking about that Friday night.

“I’m just excited we’re still playing,” James said. “This time of year, if you’re still alive, then that’s a good sign. There are no bad teams left in the fourth week of the playoffs.”

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