Franklin aiming for longer playoff stay

Franklin was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season by Wapakoneta. A solid year ended quickly to a team that was eventually eliminated by state champion Trotwood-Madison. But with the exit came a few lessons on how to approach the playoffs.

“When you get to this stage, everybody is good,” Franklin coach Rodney Roberts said. “It comes down to two good teams on the football field. It’s the basics – blocking, tackling and valuing the football. The team that wins the turnover battle will probably win the game.”

The postseason begins today for Franklin, which hosts Northwest in a first round Division II, Region 8 game at 7:30 p.m.

“They are very athletic, very well coached and they run the spread,” Roberts said of Northwest. “They like to get their athletes in space. We will have our work cut out for us.”

Northwest was 8-2 and is a member of the Southwest Ohio Conference. The Knights had signature wins this year against Tecumseh and Edgewood.

Leading the way for Franklin is quarterback Luke Kennard, who passed for 1,624 yards this season, No. 2 in the Southwestern Buckeye League. He completed nearly 54 percent of his passes.

“He’s a very poised young man,” Roberts said. “He’s very intelligent, understands the game and understands the schemes. He doesn’t try to do too much. He’s fortunate because he has some players around him who can run and catch.”

One of those players is Chris Hymer, a versatile running back. Hymer rushed 189 times this season for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averaged over six yards per carry.

“He’s a very dynamic back,” Roberts said. “He can run away from people and he has a nice power game where he can run through some tackles. He can also come out of the backfield and catch the ball. You can leave him on the field every down.”

Connor Stickelman led Franklin in receiving with 54 receptions for 836 yards.

While Franklin has offensive firepower, Roberts said the team who wins today will probably win the turnover battle.

“We have to protect the ball,” Roberts said.

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