FRANKLIN — The Franklin Hornets entered Friday’s key District 6-3A encounter with North Vermilion scoring 31 points per game. The Patriots were averaging 25 points per game through four weeks.
So naturally, the anticipated scoring duel between the two teams turned into a defensive struggle and in the end, it was two Trey Broussard field goals in the second quarter that proved to be the difference in the Patriots’ 6-0 win over the Hornets.
“Sometimes you have to be lucky and our kids made some plays and we got a big call in the first half on offensive interference,” said NVHS coach Tommy Byler. “They hurt us with some of the things they did. They made some changes that really affected us.”
But if North Vermilion’s offense was affected by Franklin’s defense, the opposite was just as true.
The Hornets couldn’t score at all against the Patriots despite being inside NVHS’ 20 yard line twice. On one possession in the second quarter, the drive was stopped on a questionable fourth down offensive pass interference call by the officials.
“I thought it was a terrible call,” said FSH coach J Ina. “I thought there were several calls that were terrible. I have to go back and review the rule book and see what’s up.”
Officiating decisions aside, there was another problem the Hornets couldn’t solve — getting the ball into the end zone.
“We couldn’t put it in,” said FSH coach J. Ina. “We had our chances but just like I told my team it was the little things. A dropped pass, a fumble that kills a drive, a missed block that kills a drive.
“It’s the little things that we have to focus on.”
The defensive battle also showed in the final game statistics.
North Vermilion had 182 yards of offense in the game. Franklin had 214 yards. The Patriots completed one of 12 passes in the game. The Hornets had a fumble and an interception on offense.
Neither team could convert on third downs or even on fourth downs in the contest.
“We squandered some opportunities,” said Byler. “We had the ball inside their 35-yard line to start the game twice and didn’t convert.
“The field goals were big. The one we got right before halftime gave us a little momentum.”
Perhaps just enough momentum for North Vermilion as the Patriots were able to stop Franklin quarterback Jarion Brown, who completed nine of 22 passes for 90 yards, and FSH running back Brian Robertson, who had 47 yards rushing in the game.
North Vermilion quarterback Joe Duhon found the going just as rough. He had 76 yards rushing, completed only one pass and was knocked out of the game in the third quarter for two series after a crushing hit from Franklin’s Derrick Kelly.
But in the end, it was the Patriots (3-2, 2-0 District 9-3A) who made just enough plays to pull out the win and stay unbeaten in district while Franklin (2-3, 0-2) is still looking for its first district win.
“One of these days, we’re going to put all phases of the game together and we’re going to be a dangerous team,” said Ina, whose team steps out of district play Friday to play host to Morgan City. “We can throw, we can run, defensively we’re stout. We just can’t seem to put it together.
“It we can get to that point in the next week or two, I think that we still to where we need to be, in the playoffs.”