Big plays, defense help Demons top Lakeshore

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MANDEVILLE — Franklinton was strong defensively after the first two drives, and the Demons came up with big plays on both sides of the ball in a 27-21 victory over Lakeshore on the road Friday night.

The two high-scoring teams (Franklinton and Lakeshore had averaged 36 and 36.3 points per game, respectively, in their previous three games) came out putting points on the board.

Lakeshore took the game’s opening kickoff drive 74 yards and scored when Randy Raymond ran it in from the 6 to make it a 7-0 game after Josh Massa’s extra point with 7:55 left in the opening period.

The Demons responded on the ensuing possession with a 65-yard drive. Franklinton drove to the 12. A sack led to a fumble that the Demons recovered, but it pushed them back 20 yards, and made it third-and-30 from the 32. Tahj Magee threw a pass to Rakerian Conerly across the middle and Conerly did the rest to score the touchdown. Raif Branch hit the extra point, tying the game at 7-7 at the 4:49 mark.

Lakeshore came right back and retook the lead 1:44 later on a 22-yard keeper by Jacob Bernard. Massa added the extra point for a 14-7 lead.

After that drive, Franklinton’s defense was strong. The Demons did not allow another point until the 7:30 mark of the fourth quarter.

“Defensively, we played the best we’ve played all year after the first two drives,” Franklinton coach Stephen Burris said. “We got gap sound, we made plays and we covered people and we got pressure on the quarterback. It’s hard to throw the ball when somebody’s hitting you in the teeth.”

The offense continued to play well and scored 14 unanswered points leading into halftime, before making it 21 early in the fourth quarter.

Franklinton pulled to within one when Magee scored on a 3-yard run with the Demons facing third-and-1. The extra point was no good, keeping it 14-13 with 10:54 left in the first half.

The Demons took the lead for good at the 2:20 mark of the second quarter, on a 15-yard pass from Magee to Darius Dawson. Magee then ran in the two-point conversion and Franklinton had a 21-14 advantage going into halftime.

The Demons maintained the seven-point edge through three quarters, but added a touchdown in the fourth, as Magee scored on a run from the 5. The extra point was no good, but the lead improved to 27-14 with 9:22 to go.

The touchdown proved very important, as Lakeshore was back on the board less than two minutes later when Parker Orvin connected with Bernard on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Massa added the extra point to make it 27-21 with 7:30 left on the clock.

Franklinton punted on its next drive. Lakeshore took possession at its 36 with 5:50 left.

The Titans moved the ball to the 42, but a flag pushed them back to the 37 where it was fourth-and-9. The Demons’ defense needed a big play to get the ball back and the team delivered. Franklinton got pressure and Rodney King and Shaq Burkhalter combined on the sack, forcing a turnover on downs at the 35 with 3:30 left.

Now it was the offense’s turn. They picked up a first down, but with Lakeshore using its timeouts, needed another to seal the win.

The Demons had fourth-and-4 at Lakeshore’s 19. Magee rolled right and was under pressure. Magee, who was in between the numbers and the hash mark on the right side of the field, threw a long, high pass toward the left sideline to Trequan Charles. Charles somehow made the catch and kept his feet inbounds at the 9. The big play allowed Franklinton to kneel out the clock, to finish the 27-21 victory.

Franklinton evened its record at 4-4 overall and improved to 2-1 in district. The Demons are back in action Friday, facing Jesuit in non-district action. The game is scheduled to be at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.

Lakeshore fell to 3-5 overall and 1-1 in league play.