On a night honoring the Class of 2020 as well as longtime special teams coach Ken Curtis, Franklin Rebels senior Guy Lipscomb found the perfect way to pay tribute to both on the very first play of the night.
A 97-yard kickoff return set the tone for a dominant 39-0 win over Dickson County on Senior Night and in district play Friday evening at Franklin High School.
“Was it not awesome,” Franklin head coach Donnie Webb told Williamson Home Page. “They’re honoring Ken Curtis and he’s been here doing special teams forever, and Guy Lipscomb takes it to the house on the first play.”
The score was one of three on the night for Lipscomb, who ran for 86 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Franklin racked up 223 yards of total offense, although the story was on the other side of the ball; the Rebels’ defense held the visiting Cougars to just 6 first downs and 73 yards—and most importantly, out of the end zone—on the night.
“It was Senior Night, we wanted to play as best as we could,” said senior free safety Cooper Grills, who had two tackles and was a constant disruption for Dickson County’s offense throughout the evening. We just wanted to play as best as we could. It means a lot to our defense, being able to tackle in space and holding them to only one or two big plays.”
Franklin’s offense didn’t have to rely on the big play, often enjoying favorable field position thanks to stingy defense. Dickson County amassed -1 yards of offense in the opening quarter, at which point they already trailed 15-0.
Junior quarterback Connor Beavon (4/6, 50 yards, 1 TD pass) capped the Rebels’ first drive of the night with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Christian Clementi (5 rec., 81 yards, 1 TD), with a two-point conversion providing a sizeable cushion just six minutes into the game.
Lipscomb’s second touchdown of the night was similar to his first score—finding the end zone on the first play of the quarter. A 20-yard run opened up the 2nd quarter, giving the Rebels a 22-0 lead and with the Cougars still in search of a first down or even positive yardage. '
Both would come on Dickson County’s second play from scrimmage in the quarter, as Kaden Thomas (13 carries, 61 yards) busted loos for a 32-yard gain to put the Cougars at midfield.
Franklin’s defense quickly regrouped, stalling the drive and on the mighty foot of kicker Ian Burr added three points to take a 25-0 halftime lead into the locker room.
Yet another three-and-out by the Cougars to start the third quarter was followed by a lengthy Rebels drive capped by Lipscomb’s third touchdown of the night. A seven-play, 52 yard march—fueled by a pair of pass interference calls—ended with Lipscomb racing in from five yards out to put Franklin ahead 32-0.
“This was exciting,” Lipscomb humbly stated, more thrilled with the camaraderie among his senior peers than his explosive offensive output in his final home game. “We were glad to get the win and do all this on Senior Night. It really meant a lot.”
It’s a positive build heading into the postseason, where the Rebels foresee unfinished business. Waiting in the wings is repeat 6A Region 5 champion Cane Ridge Ravens, who will host their matchup in the opening round of the playoffs on Nov. 8. Cane Ridge ended Franklin’s season one year ago, handing the Rebels a 41-7 defeat and a lot to think about heading into the 2019 season.
Friday’s win concludes their regular season with a two-game win streak and a .500 record at 5-5, as positive a momentum swing as you can ask.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to be in the playoffs, and looking forward to the challenge,” notes Webb. “Two weeks in a row, we’ve been able to stop the run, which is big. I know Cane Ridge has been throwing the ball a bit more this year, but we know it’s going to be a challenge.
“We’re just happy to be there and be in. Monday we’ll go to work.”
The winner of next Friday’s playoff game will go on to face whomever prevails between hosting Ravenwood and Stewarts Creek.