The Franklin Rebels return home Friday for a district bout against the Independence Eagles.
Independence (5-3, 2-2) at Franklin (6-2, 3-1), 7 p.m.*
After giving the Ravenwood Raptors a run for their money last week, the Franklin Rebels return home Friday for a district bout against the Independence Eagles.
Franklin, which lost to RHS 36-29, gained more yards and scored more points on the Raptors than any opponent this season.
Even though they came so close to knocking off the district’s top team, the Rebels know they can’t afford to keep their minds focused on what they could’ve done differently.
“We have to be able to put last week behind us and move forward,” said FHS head coach Donnie Webb. “We have a really good Independence team to face this Friday. There’s a lot of football still left to be played.”
|Independence QB Andrew Bunch (10) has 2,398 total yards and 28 TDs this season (Photo by Andrew Dyrdal for FHP)|
The only team that has come close to matching Franklin’s yardage production against Ravenwood were the Eagles, who racked up 413 total yards in a 21-7 loss back in September.
That was one out of two times this year Indy had scored less than 42 points in a game.
Led by a plethora of playmakers, the high-flying Eagles are averaging 521.5 yards and 38.25 points per game.
For them everything starts with quarterback Andrew Bunch.
The junior signal caller has thrown for 2,028 yards, 19 touchdowns and three interceptions, and rushed for 370 yards and nine touchdowns.
“I think Bunch is the best true quarterback that we’ve seen all year,” Webb said. “Indy does a really good job of getting the ball in space to their weapons and letting them make plays. Coach (Scott) Blade does a really good job with the spread offense. It’s going to give us a lot of challenges.”
Bunch’s top weapons surrounding him include running back Dom Childress (755 rush yds, 196 receiving yds, 9 TDs), and wide receivers Nate Johnson (42 rec., 894 yds, 13 TDs) and Seth Huner (43/746/3).
With a combined average of 14.81 yards per touch on offense, the three have proven they’re a threat to take it to the house anytime they get their hands on the ball.
|Franklin DE Booth Page (42) has 5 sacks this season (Photo by Kindell Moore for FHP)|
“It’s all about yards after the catch,” Webb said. “A kid making a catch is not that big of a deal, but when we let a 5-yard pass turn into a huge gain, it changes everything. We just have to be able to tackle in space.”
Franklin will look for its defensive line to get after Bunch and force him into making quick decisions.
Supplying a lot of that pressure will be defensive tackle Josh Filbey (56 tackles, 10 TFL, 5 sacks) and defensive end Booth Page (25 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 5 sacks).
“Their defensive line is really active and physical,” said Indy head coach Scott Blade. “They fly around to the ball. We’re definitely going to have our hands full.”
Leading the way for the Rebels’ offense is senior quarterback Joe Critchlow, who’s racked up 1,547 passing yards, 19 touchdowns (2 run) and three interceptions this season.
Critchlow recently earned Franklin Home Page / Newk’s Player of the Week honors after he threw for 304 yards, four touchdowns and one interception last Friday.
“He makes good decisions with the ball,” Blade said. “He’s not turning it over and he gets rid of the ball quick. He’s a terrific quarterback.”
|Franklin QB Joe Critchlow has completed 69.8% of his passes (Photo by Steve Wheeler for FHP)|
Just like Bunch, Critchlow has a number of playmakers that surround him.
Tight end Garrison Mathews, and receivers Luke Hill, Carson Young and Parker Pinnell are his main targets in the passing game.
Getting the job done on the ground are running backs Malik Grimes (468 rush yds, 10 TDs) and Brice Milam (470 rush yds, 177 receiving yds, 11 TDs).
“They’re well-balanced and well-coached,” Blade said. “They execute what they want to do with ease. They obviously have a really experienced quarterback who’s able to dish the ball off to a number of really good receivers. They’re one of the better offenses we’ve faced all year.”