Demons’ red zone defense plays role in win

Published 11:35 pm Friday, October 23, 2015

One of the big keys to winning in any sport is capitalizing on opportunities.
In Franklinton’s 41-7 District 8-4A victory over Lakeshore on Thursday, the Demons did just that.
The Demons had two chances to score inside of the red zone and put up touchdowns on both chances.
Lakeshore had four opportunities in the red zone, but Franklinton’s was stout, forcing turnover on downs, intercepting a pass for a touchdown and recovering a fumble. Lakeshore also missed a 29-yard field goal with the line of scrimmage at the 11.
“We created a few turnovers in the red zone,” Franklinton coach Shane Smith said. “We got them in some third-and-longs, a few fourth-and-longs and came up with some stops and it was just a great job by our defense.”
Despite the score, the yardage was pretty close. Franklinton had 346 yards of offense while Lakeshore finished with 304.
The Demons came up with the first points of the game with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter when Tahj Magee, who threw for 133 yards and three scores to go with 74 yards on the ground, connected with Ryché Jenkins on a short pass. Jenkins then took it the rest of the way for the 18-yard touchdown. The two hooked up for a pair of touchdowns. Raif Branch hit the extra point to make it a 7-0 contest.
Lakeshore took the ensuing drive from its 20 to Franklinton’s 20. The Titans faced fourth-and-1 and decided to go for it, but Franklinton’s defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
The Demons then drove 80 yards and capped it off with the Magee-to-Jenkins connection, this time from five yards out and Branch’s extra point gave Franklinton a 14-0 advantage with 8:59 to go in the first half. The key play on the drive was a 62-yard pass from Magee to Chandler Davis on first-and-25 from the 31.

DAILY NEWS PHOTO/Chris Kinkaid Franklinton’s  Chandler Davis catches a pass from Tahj Magee and goes 62 yards down to the 7. The Demons scored two plays later when  Mageee found Ryché Jenkins for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Demons won the game, 41-7.

Chandler Davis catches a pass from Tahj Magee and goes 62 yards down to the 7. The Demons scored two plays later when
Mageee found Ryché Jenkins for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Demons won the game, 41-7.

Lakeshore returned the kickoff to its 26 and moved the ball to Franklinton’s 11. On fourth-and-5, the Titans attempted a 29-yard field goal, but the kick was no good, keeping it at 14-0.
Franklinton fumbled just two plays into the following possession and Lakeshore recovered at the Demons 19.
A five-yard run by quarterback Nathan Faciane, followed by an incomplete pass made it third-and-5 at the 14.
The Demons needed another defensive stop.
They delivered and in a huge way.
Markus Conerly picked off a pass at his 2 and took off running. Conerly wasn’t stopping and he went all of the way for the touchdown on a return of 98 yards. Branch was good once again on the extra point to make it 21-0 with 4:34 left.
“When I caught, all I saw was daylight and just turned it on,” Conerly said.
Smith said Conerly’s play was huge.
“All of the momentum came to our side of the field,” Smith said. “And the turnover in the third quarter when they drove down. Two huge momentum swings by our defense, created by our defense. We know we’re solid on defense and they played great again tonight.”
It stayed 21-0 through halftime.
Franklinton began the second half with the ball, but punted. The Titans drove 51 yards and got on the board when Faciane broke loose and scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. Ryan Miller was good on the extra point and Franklinton’s lead down to 14.
The Titans tried an onsides kick, but Major McElveen recovered it for the Demons, who ended up punting on that possession.
But on the punt, the ball was rolling near Franklinton’s sideline. A Lakeshore player attempted to pick up the loose ball and return it, but didn’t handle it cleanly. Kobe Crain ended up recovering the muff for Franklinton at Lakeshore’s 31.
On the first play, Magee threw a short quick pass left to Azende T. Magee.
Azende Magee made a cut, got into the open and scored. Branch connected on the extra point and the lead was 28-7 with 7:20 left in the third.
But Lakeshore’s offense continued to move the ball and did so to Franklinton’s 14. The Demons’ defense needed to make another play.
Once again, they delivered.
Lakeshore fumbled on first down from the 14 and Chandler Scott was there for the recovery, giving the Demons possession.
Franklinton once again turned the turnover into points. This time, Azende Magee ran 45 yards for the score. There was a low snap on the extra point and the Demons were unable to get the extra point kick off, keeping it 34-7.
The Demons final tally came midway through the fourth quarter when Azende Magee ran 47 yards, capping off a 129 yard two touchdown rushing night. Branch finalized the scoring with the extra point at 41-7.
The victory for Franklinton means the Demons have clinched at least a tie for the top spot in District 8-4A. Franklinton competes against non-district opponent Jesuit on Friday, Oct. 30.
The Demons can win the league outright by beating Pearl River the final week of the regular season, Friday, Nov. 6 at Pearl River, as the Demons return to District 8-4A action.