Team: Franklin Wildcats
Division/Region: D-III, Region 12; no change from last season.
Affiliation: Southwestern Buckeye League, Southwestern Division.
Location: Atrium Stadium, Franklin Field (Warren County).
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Head coach: Brad Childers, entering his fifth season as the Wildcats’ head coach and 24th year overall. Owns a 29-14 overall combined record.
Assistant coaches: Mike Schneider OC/QB; Frankie Russell, DC/DB; Steve Woods, RB; Tom Parker, OL; Mark Mullins, DL; Landen Brown, WR; Kevin Allen, DE; Todd Centers, LB; Rick Thompson, freshmen; Brian Salmons, freshmen.
2017 records: 4-2 SWBL Southwestern, 8-3 overall.
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2017 highlights: Overcame season-ending injuries to nine starters to tie for second with Bellbrook behind division winner and unbeaten Valley View. Stumbled 35-22 at Oakwood in Week 9, but knocked Brookville out of playoff contention 24-21 in Week 10. That secured a home playoff game and 17-10 loss to New Richmond. That was Franklin’s 11th postseason appearance and sixth since 2008.
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Of all those injuries, losing graduated senior Ryan Montgomery to knee surgery hurt the worse. As a junior dual-threat QB he accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of offense and rushed for 30 TDs. He shifted to running back as a senior and had 740 yards rushing (8.3) and 13 TDs until he went down in a Week 6 blowout win at Waynesville.
Franklin was 5-1 when Montgomery was lost. He signed to play football at Miami University.
Returning junior QB Braden Woods had a breakout season with 1,309 yards passing and 12 TDs. “What I can tell you is that Braden is a smart, athletic, and a well-polished football player as well as football coaches’ son. He has been around the game since the day he was born and we all knew he was going to be a good one once his time came. His work ethic is second to no one and his leadership skills are valuable.” - coach Childers
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Matt Centers, 6-0, 210, sr., LB; first team All-SWBL.
David Figliola, 5-11, 303, sr., OL/DL.
Drew Gesuck, 6-3, 195, WR; 19 catches, 241 yards, 3 TDs.
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John Harris, 6-3, 225, sr., TE/DE.
Ryan Russell, 6-1, 165, jr., WR; 26 catches, 288 yards, 1 TD.
Logan Willis, 5-10, 175, jr., DB; 48 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 TD.
Braden Woods, 6-2, 190, jr., QB; 1,309 yards passing (60.6 percent), 12 TDs, 1 INT.
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Transfers: Cyre Williams (Middletown), Dylan Dierks (Miamisburg), Zarek Welch (Miamisburg) and Izak Proctor (Springboro).
About the Wildcats: An abundance of optimism is always a good thing and Franklin isn’t lacking in that. A robust class of 20-plus seniors is significant.
Franklin is on a 19-4 overall run – 10-2 in the SWBL Southwestern - over the last two seasons, both of which were playoff teams.
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Three schedule changes. Madison (11-3) visits in Week 1, bumping Carlisle (7-3) in the SWBL crossover rotation. Franklin is at GWOC American South member Xenia (2-8) in Week 3. The Bucs replaced GWOC American North rep Piqua (6-4). Also, Preble Shawnee (8-2) visits in Week 6. The Arrows bump Waynesville (1-9) in the SWBL crossover rotation.
“This football team is hungry to get back on top in the league. We have had an excellent offseason and the kids have been receptive to coaching and getting better. I think we have a physical football team.” – coach Childers.
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Fun fact: Well-traveled Mike Schneider has landed as Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and QB coach. Schneider was a Middletown assistant last season. He previously was the head coach at Miamisburg and Wayne and was a longtime assistant under his son Lance Schneider at Northmont.
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Schedule: All at 7 p.m.
Week 1: Fri., Aug. 24 MADISON
Week 2: Fri., Aug. 31 at Edgewood
Week 3: Fri., Sept. 7 at Xenia
Week 4: Fri., Sept. 14 MONROE
Week 5: Fri., Sept. 21 at Bellbrook
Week 6: Fri., Sept. 28 PREBLE SHAWNEE
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Week 7: Fri., Oct. 5 VALLEY VIEW
Week 8: Fri., Oct. 12 at Eaton
Week 9: Fri., Oct. 19 at Brookville
Week 10: Fri., Oct. 26 OAKWOOD