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Franklin’s record-setting night delivers for ‘Dawgs’ on Homecoming

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 9:19 am

Post Photo by Dennis Holley Ben Franklin races away from the Cannon County defense in his record-setting night on Homecoming.

By Dennis Holley
Sports Writer
CORNERSVILLE — Thanks to a record-setting night from Senior Ben Franklin took a 10-point lead to halftime over visiting Cannon County, then withstood a furious fourth quarter rally from the Lions to hold on for a 45-42 victory.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior rushed for 356 yards on 24 carries (school record), rushed for seven touchdowns (school record) and in the process for the season now has 1,461 rushing yards, (also a school record) with three games to play in the 2023 season.
From his position at defensive end, Franklin had two quarterback sacks and was a force to be reckoned with.
Early on, the Lions mixing a pass now and then with a steady diet of runs moved the ball down field where from the Bulldog 5-yard line and Odom swept around the right side for the score.
Jacob Rogers kicked the PAT and with 8:18 left in the first quarter Cannon County was on the board first and led 7-0.
Now the Lions defensively would get a steady diet of Ben Franklin.
On three consecutive carries Franklin moved the ball to the Lion 15-yard line where he broke through the left side and outran the Cannon County defenders for the touchdown, but the kick after missed, leaving Cannon County in front, 7-6.
The Bulldog defense bowed it’s back and after a Cannon County punt, a holding penalty pushed the ball back to the Bulldog 9-yard line where Cornersville mixing runs by Franklin and Wesley Pigg, substituting for the injured Austin Cooper, and with quarterback Blaine Woodard adding running game punch moved the ball to the Cannon County 15-yard line where Franklin shaking off Lion defenders romped into the end zone for the touchdown, but the 2-point conversion was no good and with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs led 12-7.
The second quarter began with Cannon County possessing the ball and moving, but on second down from the Lion 46-yard line Franklin recorded his first sack and the Bulldog defense held forcing a Cannon punt and Cornersville began it’s next drive aided by an offside penalty on fourth down and runs by Hunter Uland and Wesley Pigg, drove to the Lion 16-yard line where Franklin pushed through the Cannon County defense for his third touchdown, but again the kick after was no good and with 4:14 until halftime the Bulldogs now led, 18-7.
The Lions received the kickoff and on second down from their own 37-yard line quarterback Bryce Miller found wide receiver Tucker Kyne for a short pass that Kyne tuned into a 57-yard gain and were it not for Cornersville Jonathon Zuniga’s touchdown saving tackle at the Cornersville 6-yard line, would have scored.
Miller then slipped through the Bulldog line for the touchdown, the 2-point conversion was good and with 2:50 until halftime Cannon County closed the gap to three points, 18-15.
The Bulldogs answered quickly after receiving the kickoff and from their own 39-yard line, Franklin broke loose for a 61-yard ramble to score, Joseth Palma booted the kick, and with 1:43 left until halftime led, 25-15.
The Bulldogs received the second half kickoff and Cornersville’s Brandon Hargrave fielded the ball at the 25-yard line moving the ball to the 39-yard line, but a holding penalty moved the ball back to the 17-yard line.
Then on a nine-play drive of seven minutes Franklin burst around his right side, leaving a trail of Lion defenders on the ground scoring his fifth touchdown, again the PAT was no-good and with 4:53 left in the third quarter, Cornersville stretched their lead to 16 points, 31-15.
Cannon County received the kick-off and began their own drive and despite giving up sacks from Franklin and Trenton Walker the Lions marched down field to the Bulldog 11-yard line where Miller found Rogers for a touchdown, but the two-point conversion was no-good and with 11:55 left in the game Cannon County trailed, 31-21.
The Bulldogs received the kick-off and on second down and 10 from their own 49-yard line Franklin roared around his left side, got bottled up at the Lion 45-yard line where a block by offensive lineman Landon Mitchell broke him free and Franklin out-ran the Lion defenders for his sixth touchdown, Palma booted the PAT and with 10:50 left in the game Cornersville now led, 38-21.
Cannon County responded with a drive of their own culminating with a touchdown run by Brayden Smithson and Miller’s run for 2-point conversion and the Lions trailed now by nine points, 38-29.
Cannon County was penalized with an unsportsman penalty after the 2-point conversion then elected to try an onside kick, but Cornersville’s Beau Schillig spoiled that strategy, covering the ball at the Lion 39-yard line.
Then, a Bulldog fumble and a Lion recovery, put Cannon County in business at the 33-yard line of the Lions.
Cannon County then moved down field where from the Bulldog 26-yard line Miller found Dustin Keller all alone who grabbed the pass and romped into the end zone, the two-point conversion was no-good and with 6:25 left in the game Cannon County now trailed, 38-35.
The Bulldogs received the kick-off and using Franklin exclusively moved the ball down-field where from the 12-yard line Franklin ran over the Lion defenders one more time for his seventh touchdown of the evening, Palma booted the PAT and the Bulldogs now led, 45-35.
Cannon County would not go down easily as they moved the ball downfield with time running out in the ball game and from the Bulldog twenty-yard line Miller found Tucker Kyne for a touchdown, Rogers booted the PAT, but time was against the Lions as with 0:13 seconds left in the game Cornersville led, 45-42.
The Lions again attempted an on-side kick, but Woodard spoiled it as he recovered for the Bulldogs and then took a knee as Cornersville, with a Harvest moon shining down, the Bulldogs gained a Homecoming victory, 45-42.
Franklin had a huge night, record setting, but his teammates Wesley Pigg, Hunter Uland, Kale Adcox, who had a 65-yard pick-six negated by a penalty, Landon Mitchell and steady play by quarterback Blaine Woodard aided the cause.
Franklin gave all the credit to his lineman, “I couldn’t do it without my line, Landon Mitchell set me right on one run. I just wanted (tonight) to do my job and get the win.”
“I heard he got a yard or two. I told the players Cannon County has some play makers, we have been up and down, but we bowed our back when we had to tonight, it’s always good to win your Homecoming night,” Coach Elliot Cook said .
“Wayne County is next, and they are big and like we are, they like to pound you with options and the veer. It’s a region game and so important, senior night,” Cook said.
The Bulldogs will face Wayne County another Region 5-1A challenge, then will get a bye week before closing the regular season with away games at Huntland and Eagleville.

Cannon Co. 7 8 0 27 — 42
Cornersville 12 13 6 14 — 45

First Quarter
CC — Zae Odom 5 run, (Jacob Rogers kick), 8:18.
C — Ben Franklin 15 run, (kick failed) 7:36.
C — Franklin 15 run, (2pt. conversion failed), 0:30.

Post Photo by Dennis Holley The ball comes loose before there’s a dive to battle for possession.

Second Quarter
C — Franklin 16 run, (2 Pt. conversion failed) 4:14.
CC —Kolby Miller 6 run, (Miller 2 pt. pass to Tucker Kyner) 2:50.
C — Franklin 61 run, (Joseth Palma kick), 1:43.

Third Quarter
C — Franklin 5 run, (kick failed), 4:53

Post Photo by Dennis Holley Kale Adcox (20) wraps up a Cannon County defender and makes the stop.

Fourth Quarter
CC — Dylan Gunter 11 pass from Miller, (pass failed), 11:55.
C — Franklin 51 run, (Palma kick) 10:50.
CC — Brayden Smithson 4 run, (Miller 2pt. run ) 7:00.
CC — Dustin Keller Jr. 26 pass from Miller. (conversion failed). 6:25.
C — Franklin 12 run, (Palma kick) 1:38.
CC — Tucker Kyne 20 pass from Miller, (Rogers kick), 0:13.