3rd-ranked Demons travel to face Covington

Published 11:44 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Franklinton’s Demons head to Jack Salter Stadium on the campus of Covington High School to open the regular season against the Lions, in a battle of teams that have made deep runs in the playoffs over the last couple of years.
“Obviously, we’re excited to get the season under way,” Franklinton coach Shane Smith said. “We’ve been through scrimmage and jamboree. Our coaches and players are ready to get this season going and see what we can do under the Friday night lights.”
Smith begins his 17th season as Franklinton’s head coach with a 132-58 career record (.694 winning percentage).
Franklinton begins this game ranked No. 3 in Class 4A in the Louisiana Sportswriters Association preseason poll.
“It’s always nice to be recognized as one of the top two or three teams by the media, but as we told our players, it’s all about your performance on Friday night,” Smith said. “I would think as a player it would make me feel good about myself, but you also want to be the best team in the state at the end of the year. It’s all about the long-term vision.”
These teams met last season, with Franklinton capturing a 28-27 victory in overtime.
Franklinton enters this season off of a state semifinal season. The Demons lost to Neville, 32-8, in the Class 4A state semifinals.
The Demons enter this season having gone 22-5 over the last two seasons. Every team Franklinton has lost to has gone at least to the state semifinals, including the Covington Lions. FHS lost to Covington, 34-12, in 2013. That year, the Lions were just a point away from going to the Class 5A state title game.
Franklinton’s other two losses in 2013 were against Class 4A state champion East Jefferson and Class 4A state runner up Edna Karr. Last season’s other loss was against Division I semifinalist Brother Martin.
Last week, Franklinton tied John Curtis, 14-14, in the Mandeville Jamboree.
Offensively, Relik Wilson ran for a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Tahj Magee is the team’s starting quarterback.
Smith said that Wilson played well defensively, as did Kobe Crain.
“Collectively, it was just a great performance against a good team,” Smith said. “They did a good job of playing physical at the point of attack and they tackled well.”
Crain had two interceptions last week and retuned one for a touchdown. Rodney King also forced a turnover when he recovered a fumble.
Covington enters tonight’s game after defeating Lakeshore, 38-27, in the Covington Jamboree.
Greg Salter, who enters his third season as the Lions’ head coach with a 15-11 overall record and 4-2 in postseason, feels tonight is a huge game for both teams.
“It’s two experienced teams,” Salter said. “It was a good game last year. The bulk of our talent is back for us on both sides. Both teams have had good playoff runs in the last couple of years.
“It’s two teams that don’t shy away from playing the best teams, so I think it’s fitting that we play each other to start off.”
Salter said sophomore running back Devin Brumfield has been turning heads already. Brumfield ran 200 times last year for 1,267 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns.
“He’s drawing a lot of attention, but what we acknowledge is our offensive line,” Salter said. “We’ve started out strong on the offensive line, which is beneficial to him and our quarterback Marquell Hollins.”
Covington rotates several offensive linemen, including Cole Parr, Tim Ciravola, Matt Sevin, Payton Haynes and Robert Nigro.
The Lions’ other running back ,Austin Schexnaydre, ran for two touchdowns last week. The wide receivers are Alonjai Earlycutt, Tyson Blanks and Kejohn Batiste.
Defensively, the Lions are a 4-2-5 team. Three-year starter Stevante Crandle, who has started the last two seasons on the line, made eight tackles in the jamboree game. Linebacker Matthew Thompson, who led the team with 104 tackles last year, leads the linebacking group. Free safety Tyler Evans is the leader in the secondary.
Fans can hear the game by tuning into WBOX 92.9 FM or 920 AM with Damon Smith and Jeffery McElveen calling the action.
The game is also airing on the Highway 104.7 FM with Mike Pervel and Louis Williams handling that broadcast.