The Franklin High School football team scored early, often and consistently Friday night as the Wildcats dominated rival Edgewood 49-21 at Atrium Stadium.
Senior Jared Kinzer returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, giving Franklin (2-0) a 7-0 lead just 18 seconds into the game. The Wildcats steadily expanded their lead over Edgewood (1-1), making it 21 by halftime and 42 by the end of the third quarter.
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“Coach told us to bring the juice tonight,” Kinzer said. “Coming out with that intensity allowed us to build the momentum more than anything.”
Kinzler downplayed the significance of his touchdown return, but Franklin coach Brad Childers spoke on the importance of scoring from unexpected sources.
“Anytime you can get points on special teams or on defense, that definitely adds to the momentum for the night,” Childers said. “That let us get momentum early. And even though they were able to get a score back on us (in the first quarter), our kids kept fighting and kept battling.”
The aforementioned points from the defense came on the first drive of the second half, with Franklin up 28-7. Senior defensive lineman Nate Glossip scooped up a fumbled Cougar snap and took it 26 yards for a touchdown to extend the Franklin lead to 35-7.
“We just didn’t play well at all tonight,” Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons said. “We had some good plays at times, but we would follow that with penalties and turnovers. Every time we went forward, we found ways to go backwards.”
After falling behind 14-0, the Cougars put together their best drive of the game to cut the deficit in half. Junior running back Elijah Williams broke a 40-yard run to get Edgewood into Franklin territory for the first time and capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Williams finished with a pair of TDs and now has five through two games.
Williams’ running-back counterpart, Franklin senior Ryan Montgomery, was the star of the night, running for 110 yards on 11 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Montgomery, who has Division I collegiate prospects, now leads the team with seven touchdowns through two games.
“Ryan is a special kid, a great player and a great teammate,” Childers said.
Montgomery recognized his impressive stats, but was reluctant to take all of the credit.
“Seven touchdowns is always great for a running back,” Montgomery said. “But it also has to say something for the offensive line too. Those guys are working their tails off making holes for me, and I want them to be noticed for that too. I had a lot of holes to choose from today, which is beautiful. They allowed me to get into a little bit of a groove tonight.”
Montgomery’s first touchdown came just two possessions after the opening kickoff touchdown as he was able to put the punctuation on a drive that was sparked by another big first-quarter play by Kinzer. Wildcats senior quarterback Braden White connected with Kinzer down the left sideline for a 37-yard completion to set up Montgomery’s score just two plays later.
“Ryan is just an unbelievable player,” Kinzer said of his teammate and classmate. “We’ve been playing ball together since pee-wee, and it’s amazing to be a part of his team. He’s one in a million, really.”
White was efficient, mostly completing short passes to keep drives alive and going 11 of 14 for 92 yards. His 3-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Russell with just seconds remaining in the first half stretched the Franklin lead to 28-7. White also added a 14-yard scramble on a third-and-long to keep the scoring drive alive.
The Cougars picked up a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns from Williams and junior Wade Phillips.
The lopsided score is the first since these teams resumed playing one another in 2014. The previous three contests had been decided by no more than 14 points. Franklin has now won two straight against the Cougars.
For Edgewood, last season’s 27-21 loss to the Wildcats was the team’s only September loss as the Cougars respondedby winning seven of their final eight games. The challenge for Edgewood becomes replicating this same response.
“We just talked to the boys about putting this game behind us,” Clemmons said. “Every week is a different season. This one is done and gone. What we have to do with this one is find out what the problems were, what we need to fix as coaches and what we need to fix as players so we can come out next week and play better.”
The Cougars play their second of three straight road games next Saturday as they travel to Badin. Franklin hits the road to take on Piqua on Friday.
F: Jared Kinzer 89 kickoff return (Matt Schneider kick)
F: Ryan Montgomery 3 run (Schneider kick)
E: Elijah Williams 4 run (Julian Pletz kick)
F: Montgomery 23 run (Schneider kick)
F: Ryan Russell 3 pass from Braden White (Schneider kick)
F: Nate Glossip 26 fumble return (Schneider kick)
F: Clay Winstead 6 run (Schneider kick)
F: Montgomery 43 run (Schneider kick)
E: Williams 4 run (Pletz kick)
E: Wade Phillips 1 run (Pletz kick)