Prep football: Backup quarterback stands tall as Franklin tops Piqua

Franklin’s Ryan Montgomery (22) is greeted by his teammates after scoring one of his four touchdowns earlier this season in a 47-14 victory over Carlisle at Laughlin Field. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

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Franklin’s Ryan Montgomery (22) is greeted by his teammates after scoring one of his four touchdowns earlier this season in a 47-14 victory over Carlisle at Laughlin Field. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

As the son of longtime Franklin High School football coach Steve Woods, Braden Woods grew up as a ballboy on the Wildcat sidelines. On Friday, the sophomore grew as a quarterback when forced into action.

Replacing injured senior standout Braden White, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury, Woods guided the Wildcats to a season-enhancing 21-7 victory over Piqua in a crucial Division III, Region 12 nonleague tilt at Alexander Stadium.

Franklin ran its regular-season win streak to 13 games and improved to 3-0. Piqua dropped to 1-2.

Woods completed his first six passes en route to leading the visiting Wildcats to two second-quarter scores and a 14-0 halftime lead.

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He showed no nerves — although they existed.

“There were lots,” Woods said after finishing 12 of 12 for 162 yards. “It was different coming in at first, but I went back to trusting the process and what the coaches have put me through. They prepared me for this moment.”

Said Franklin coach Brad Childers: “What a special player. Braden’s a football guy who’s grown up around the game, and football is that family’s life. He has prepared himself for this moment his whole life. He didn’t expect it to happen so soon, but what a special kid. Couldn’t have happened to a better young man.”

Leaning on senior running back and highly touted prospect Ryan Montgomery, the Wildcats dominated. Montgomery accounted for both of Franklin’s first-half touchdowns on short runs and ended the game with 123 yards on 29 carries. He also caught four passes for 68 yards.

After Piqua trimmed the lead to 14-7 with a third-quarter touchdown run by Devon Brown, Woods and Montgomery connected for a back-breaking 25-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to build the decisive 14-point cushion.

A week after taking Trotwood-Madison to the limit in a 42-35 loss, Piqua didn’t fair nearly as well against Franklin.

The Wildcats outgained the Indians 232-51 in the first half and held the hosts to one first down. A week ago, Piqua generated 354 yards against Trotwood. The Indians ended with 165 against Franklin. The Wildcats pounded out 407 yards.

“Our defensive staff put together a game plan that our kids bought into,” Childers said. “We challenged our kids, especially up front. We challenged them to be their best, get off their blocks and let the playmakers make plays. We brought pressure and wreaked havoc.”

Said Piqua coach Bill Nees: “It was tough trying to get something going offensively. The same things we did well last week we weren’t able to do this week.”

The game was a rematch of last year’s contest that the Wildcats won 30-6 at home. Piqua suffered a devastating loss when then-senior running back Darien Tipps-Clemons was lost for the season with a knee injury. Tipps-Clemons is now a freshman at Michigan State.

The same fate seemed to befall Franklin this time around.

White, who threw for 1,671 yards and 22 touchdowns last year, scampered for a 15-yard gain late in the first quarter. He didn’t get up. Helped to the sideline, White watched the rest of the game with an ice pack on his left knee.

Woods didn’t flinch when called upon.

“Ever since I was little I grew up on the sidelines watching all the great quarterbacks that have played for Franklin,” Woods said. “It was surreal to be out there finally playing the position. We adjusted quickly and just pushed through.”

Next Friday, the Wildcats host Eaton and Piqua travels to West Carrollton.

Franklin 0-14-7-0—21

Piqua 0-0-7-0—7

F: Ryan Montgomery 8 run (Matt Schneider kick)

F: Montgomery 1 run (Schneider kick)

P: Devon Brown 10 run (Robbie Comstock kick)

F: Montgomery 25 pass from Braden Woods (Schneider kick)

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