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The Franklin Rebels look to start their season 3-0 when they visit the undefeated McGavock Raiders on Friday.

Franklin (2-0, 1-0) at McGavock (3-0, 1-0), 7 p.m.

The Franklin Rebels look to start their season 3-0 when they visit the undefeated McGavock Raiders on Friday.

Averaging 48.33 points per game this season, the Raiders present a lot of challenges for the FHS defense.

Franklin DE Booth Page (42) has 3 sacks this season

“They’re very explosive on offense,” said Franklin head coach Donnie Webb. “They have several guys that can take it to the house at any moment. It’s going to come down to us tackling in space and make them drive the football and not have the big, explosive plays.”

The Rebels defense is led by defensive end Booth Page (3 sacks), defensive tackle Josh Filbey (12 tackles) and linebacker Zach Slessman (11 tackles, 1 sack).

As a whole, the Franklin D has given up up only 6.5 PPG.

While they’ve been impressive so far this year, the Rebels have yet to face an offense of McGavock’s caliber.

“We can’t let McGavock have the big plays,” Webb said. “Coach (Jay) Gore is doing a great job with them. They’re not running a whole lot of offense, but what they are doing, they’re doing it well. We have to be able to tackle them in space and make them drive the football.”

The Rebels’ offense has had its own share of success on the ground and through the air this year.

Quarterback Joe Critchlow is 25-of-38 passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns.

A total of ten different players have recorded a reception for Franklin. Some of the top targets in the passing game include receivers Carson Young (8 rec., 96 yards, 1 TD) and Luke Hill (3 rec., 70 yards, 1 TD), and tight ends Garrison Mathews (4 rec., 63 yards, 1 TD) and Jackson Sweatt (3 rec., 24 yards, 1 TD).

Establishing dominance on the ground are running backs Brice Milam and Malik Grimes.

Franklin RB Brice Milam scored 3 TDs against Dickson County

Milam has picked up 164 rushing yards and four touchdowns this year, while Grimes has 87 rushing yards and three scores.

“Those two are doing a good job of running the football effectively where it belongs,” Webb said. “For them, it all starts with the offensive line.”

Webb said his team’s ability to run the ball effectively has been very beneficial to Critchlow’s success through the air.

“They go hand-in-hand,” Webb said. “If the defense has to commit more to stop the run, it’ll certainly open up more passing lanes for us.”

The running back duo and Critchlow will face their toughest test of the season against a stout McGavock 4-3 defense.

“They have some really big defensive linemen, two really good-looking linebackers and some really good skill kids in the secondary,” Webb said. “They’re going to play a cover 2 base shell. They’re going to force us to take what they give us and not try to force plays.”

Webb said he believes one of the biggest keys to victory this week is his team’s success on special teams.

“We need to win the kicking game,” he said. “They have a great returner in (Evan Gowdy). He’s pretty special back there, so we have to be able to tackle him in space and not let him make plays in the kicking game.”

Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Franklin Home Page. Email him at [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.