by Jon Little #29

#23 Franklin's Finest

As the High School playoff progress the stakes get higher, the crowds get bigger, and everything seems to be magnified. Our Quarterfinal match-up against the Boyd Yellowjackets was certainly no exception. The build-up had been there for what seemed like the entire season. Looking back, we seemed to be destined for this collision course since pre-season. Pennington Field held 12,000 fans and there were an estimated 10,000 there to witness our epic showdown.

Chris Franklin aka “Sugar Bear” was my dude. Even though he lives in Oklahoma and we haven’t seen each other in forever he’s still my dude. We always had a friendly rivalry amongst ourselves and pushed each other back in High School. So, when I came up big the week before, with the touch down on 4th and our season + game sealing interception, Sugar Bear was already telling me in the locker room after the Kerens game that the next week was his turn.

Chris made himself look like a prophet because the Boyd game certainly was his finest hour. Chris made their All-World QB/K/FS Robby Cartwright miss an extra point in the 3rd Qtr. after he scored the go-ahead touchdown on us.  Then with just under 6 minutes left in the game Sugar Bear made one of the best plays in Bearcat history, ranking just behind my touchdown catch a week earlier {wink, wink}, when he took a pedestrian 7 yard out route from Chad Cole and broke 4-5 tackles on his way to a 55-yard touchdown. C.B. Standridge and Spencer Worthey made monstrous blocks to help him along the way. Jared Maier put through the extra point, in what for me was the most important extra point of the season, which put us up 7-6 late in the 4th Qtr. Then Sugar Bear picked off a Cartwright pass to seal the victory.    

But don’t take my word for it. I got the man #11 himself to contribute this week and here is Sugar Bears account from that game…
      “Well here goes nothing. It was so long ago I don't know if I remember everything. Just kidding I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the week of the showdown, as they called it, and we were to face one of the best teams in Class 2A. The week was crazy with T.V. reporters and interviews. I think everyone was excited and looking forward to this game. Practice went as usual, hard work and lots of running. No matter who we played, Coach Gray and Jones, along with all the others, made sure we were ready.

Now let’s get to the game. I really thought I started the game off good. Just being me, playing to the best of my ability, and if I happened to mess up on a play, I could remember Coach Gray's voice saying, “What’s the most important play, the next play". So, I felt I done my part on defense by tackling and stopping passes. I felt the entire defense stepped up and we stopped Boyd's best player, which was Robby Cartwright. Don't ask me how I still remember this guy’s name, but somethings always stick with you. I remember them scoring a touchdown and I was on the extra point team. The only thought going through my mind as they hiked the ball was to try and block it. And I was super pumped when I did. So, they were up 6-0 and as the game went on, both defenses playing hard, Coach Rick Jones decided to call an out route that was designed to get a few yards for a first down. With Chad Cole leading the crew, and me playing receiver, he said hut and I ran my route. As I turned to find the ball, Chad had placed it exactly where it was supposed to be, I caught it, realizing as I ran my route the defender was playing me close, I immediately jumped back to avoid being tackled. After that I just started running. Then I saw Cartwright closing in for the tackle, so my instinct said to spin as I stiff armed him. He fell, and I was off to the races. This guy missing and that guy missing, then suddenly, I hear, “touchdown, touchdown, Chris Franklin has just scored." One of the greatest feelings in the world.

I didn't realize till the next day just how many of my guys made it possible for that touchdown to happen. One key block was made by C.B. as I were running down the sideline. I can't take all the credit for that game because if it wasn't for my teammates, that touch down would not have happen. #11 still rules, J-money!”
The best victories are the ones that no one expects.  When you come through as the underdog. When you upset the #1 team in the State and their hopes of an ESPN documentary. This was one of those victories. Even our beloved Coach Gray bet the team his head of hair that we wouldn’t beat Boyd. Well Beat Boyd is exactly what we did, and Coach Gray got a nice little shape up (see pics below) to help him remember to never count out the Cardiac Cats!  

The video quality certainly doesn’t do it justice, but here is Sugar Bears play…
So, our story continues for at least another week and here we go again.  In theState Semi-Final game for 3 out of the previous 4 seasons.  

Go Bearcats,


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