Franklinton nearly completes 14-point comeback against Salmen

Published 1:13 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

SLIDELL — Franklinton nearly overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter with great plays on both sides of the ball and a touchdown drive late in the game by a Demons’ team that just would not quit.
Franklinton came up short, 34-33, in the non-district game, but not without a fight to the finish.
“We battled and they played like warriors. At times, we were a little short-handed I guess. We’ve had some injuries,” Franklinton coach Stephen Burris said. “We’ve got the backup center in the game. We’re down on defensive linemen and the kids are fighting. Heck, they’re working their tails off. You can’t complain about the effort. The effort’s there.”
The Demons trailed 34-20 after three quarters and trimmed it to seven when Rakerian Conerly ran 17 yards for a touchdown and Raif Branch added the extra point with 10 minutes left.
Salmen took the ensuing drive to Franklinton’s 29, but KeAndre Martin intercepted a fourth-down pass at the Demons’ 3 with 4:59 left. It was the third of three turnovers the Demons forced in the second half. James Bickham and Rondrick King each recovered fumbles.
Franklinton needed to drive 97 yards to have a chance to tie or win the game. The drive started with a run for no gain, but then the Demons began moving the ball. Tahj Magee completed a pass to Lagarian Bell for 22 yards. The next play went for no gain, but a personal foul facemask was called against Salmen. It was first down at the 40. Franklinton had no gain on first down and then a loss of 3 yards on second down. Magee was injured on the second-down play. Jasper LaSalle took over at quarterback and completed a 4-yard pass to Trequan Charles. Magee missed just one play and was back in for fourth-and-9 from the 41. Salmen jumped offsides, making it fourth-and-4 at the 46.
From there, Magee went back to work. He gained 5 yards on fourth down to move the chains. Then he found Conerly for 16. After an incompletion, he passed to Bell for 7 more yards. On third-and-3, he ran it himself and picked up 6 yards for a first down to the 20, getting out-of-bounds with 53.9 seconds left.
The first-down pass was incomplete, but the second-down pass went to Conerly. Conerly made a great catch, broke a tackle and ran the rest of the way for the touchdown. It was 34-33.
“I was sliding up in the pocket,” Magee said. “We had got some pressure. I was just about to run. I looked up and saw him coming across the middle. Him and Duke (Lagarian Bell) have been kind of the go to in clutch moments, so I trusted him, so I gave him the ball and he came through like normal.”
The Demons lined up for a two-point conversion, but committed a false start. They then decided to kick the extra point, but Salmen jumped offsides. The ball was at the 4 and Franklinton decided to go for two, but the snap was low and the conversion came up short. The Demons attempted an onside kick, but it did not go 10 yards. Salmen took over and ran out the clock.
“I couldn’t ask for much more from all 11 guys,” Magee said. “Even Jasper came in and made a play after I went out and hurt my ankle, but it’s just unbelievable the effort we’ve been giving this season. We just keep coming up short and making mistakes that we’ve got to fix. We’re going to get it together, though.”
Thursday’s game was close throughout. The 14-point lead by Salmen was the largest by either team.
The Demons went up 7-0 on the first drive when Magee scored from the 1 and Branch hit the extra point at the 7:31 mark.
Salmen tied the game with L.J. Leonard hitting Brayden Gabel for 32 yards. Eddie Smith’s extra point evened the score at 7-7.
After a Franklinton turnover, Salmen drove 42 yards and scored on Leonard’s 4-yard run and Smith made the extra point.
The Demons tied the game on an untimed down to end the first quarter on Magee’s 6-yard run. Branch’s extra point left the game tied at 14-14 through one quarter.
Salmen took a 20-14 lead when Aaron Williams scored on a 31-yard run. The point after was wide left.
Franklinton tied it with 22.9 seconds left on a 1-yard leap into the end zone by Charles. The extra point was no good. It was 20-20 at halftime.
Salmen scored 14 points over the first 3:05 of the third quarter. Williams completed a 3-play 75-yard drive with a 26-yard run and Smith added the extra point. Williams had all three carries that possession.
Franklinton fumbled on the kickoff that Salmen recovered. The Spartans scored in four plays when Leonard found Gabel on second-and-goal from the 13. Williams’ extra point made it 34-20 with 8:55 left on the clock.
It was the second straight meeting between the two teams that came down to the wire. Franklinton won last year, 32-26 in overtime. This was the first of two meetings between the teams. They meet again on Oct. 27 at FHS in their district contest.
Magee ran for 124 yards with two touchdowns and threw for 163 yards and a score. Conerly made four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown to go with 28 rushing yards and a touchdown. Bell had six catches for 64 yards.
Charles ran for 91 yards and had four catches for 22 yards. Shayland Allen had two catches for 12 yards.
Franklinton (2-4) will host Neville next Friday.