Franklinton captures thriller over Salmen

Published 3:18 pm Friday, October 5, 2018

Players up and down Franklinton’s roster contributed to the Demons’ 43-29 victory over Salmen in non-district action Thursday night.
“It was a team effort to the fullest,” Franklinton coach Jonathan Barber said. “Offensively, I thought we played well all night. We had, I think (two) turnovers in the second half, but outside of that, we moved the ball pretty well. I thought our special teams really picked us up in some big times, gave us some good field position and that was big for us.
“Then, late defensively, we were finally able to get some stops and get off the field and that helped seal the game. I’m very proud of all three units and we’ve just got to get ready for next week now.”
Kian Conerly was huge for Franklinton throughout the game. The wide receiver/running back, cornerback/returner filled up the stat sheet. Conerly caught two touchdown passes, ran for one to pretty much seal the game, intercepted a pass that helped set up what turned out to be the game-winning score and returned a punt 39 yards to help set up a touchdown. He finished with 47 rushing yards and a score and three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a very exciting game. It was going back-to-back, but our team pulled it off,” Conerly said.
The game went back-and-forth, throughout. Franklinton never trailed, but did not lead by more than one possession until there was 51 seconds left. The teams were tied four different times.
Franklinton put the first points on the board just 1:07 into the game.
Carson Ragas recovered a Salmen fumbled handoff at the Spartans’ 15.
Mike Martin, who ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, got the call on first down and ran for 3 yards. Jasper LaSalle dropped back to pass on second down and hit Conerly for a 12-yard score and 7-0 lead after Keaton Catrett hit the extra point with 10:53 left in the first quarter. It was LaSalle’s first-of-three touchdown passes and he threw for 122 yards.
It stayed that way until the second quarter when Salmen tied the game. Mikell Marco scored on a 2-yard run, completing a 73-yard drive. Theo Batista’s extra point tied the game, 7-7, at the 8:45 mark of the second quarter.
Franklinton retook the lead 2:25 later when LaSalle connected with Duke Bell. Bell broke a tackle, stayed on his feet and then outran the defense to the end zone for the score to cap off the 60-yard drive. Catrett was successful on the extra point and Franklinton was up 14-7.
Salmen tied the game once again. This time, Justin Hudson found Karl Owens for a touchdown and Batista applied the extra point. The teams were even at 14-14 by halftime.
Franklinton went back in front at the outset of the second half. Bell returned the second-half kickoff to Franklinton’s 35 and Martin got the call on the first six plays and took the ball to Salmen’s 16 where it was second-and-7. But Franklinton lost 4 yards on second down and threw an incompletion on third down, setting up fourth-and-11 at the 20.
Franklinton went for it and went back to Conerly. LaSalle hit him in stride in the middle of the end zone for the score. The Demons lined up for the extra point, but Salmen jumped offsides, which is half the distance to the goal. Franklinton decided to go for two points and it worked, as Martin converted and the Demons had a 22-14 lead.
But the Spartans continued to come back, and like Franklinton, it was on a fourth-down conversion. Facing fourth-and-8 from the Demons’ 29, Hudson connected with Steven Sims for on a touchdown pass. Hudson ran for two points and the game was tied at 22-22 with 4:31 to go. The key play on the drive was a fourth-and-5 from the 50. The teams traded penalties — Salmen first for delay-of-game and then Franklinton for running into the punter. The Spartans lined up to punt once again on fourth-and-5, but ran a fake and Aaron Williams ran 19 yards to the 31.
The game went to the fourth quarter tied at 22-22, but the Demons scored early in the final period when Martin ran 5 yards for a touchdown. Catrett was good on the extra point and it was 29-22 with 10:25 left in the fourth quarter.
Salmen responded on the next possession when Hudson kept from the 8 and scored to tie the game after Batista’s extra point with 8:37 left.
Franklinton turned the ball over on downs at its 5 on the next possession.
Salmen moved the ball to its 33 where it was third-and-7. The Spartans attempted to throw, but Conerly was there to intercept the pass and returned it about 40 yards to the 20.
Martin ran for 3 yards on first down. Then LaSalle ran the ball for 8 yards, taking the ball to the 9. Martin got the carry on first-and-goal and pushed the pile to the 1 and then scored on the next play. The extra point was no good, but Franklinton was up 35-29.
Salmen had an errant snap on third-and-2 from the 42 that Ben Bickham recovered from Franklinton with 1:12 left and Salmen having a couple of timeouts to use.
The Demons ran the ball and lost a yard between the first two plays. Then they went to Conerly, who made one more big play. He broke into the open and scored the final touchdown on a 36-yard run. LaSalle connected with Spencer Lambert to finalize the scoring in a 43-29 win.
Bell had three receptions for 57 yards and a score.
Shayland Allen caught three passes for 31 yards.
This was the first of two meetings between the two teams. They will meet again in a District 8-4A game on Oct. 26 at Salmen, which will cap off a three-game road trip that begins Friday night when the Demons face Neville.
Salmen is 1-5 this season.

Franklinton’s Jasper LaSalle looks for a receiver during Thursday’s game. LaSalle threw three touchdowns in the contest.