Franklin falls short in shootout with New Bedford

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Andrew Parent had a huge second half but it wasn’t enough for Franklin against New Bedford. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Panthers came out of halftime with the mission of getting the offense clicking. It worked, as senior captain Andrew Parent ran for all of his 211 yards and three touchdowns in the second half and Franklin scored 30 points after the break.

The problem was that New Bedford scored 21 and Franklin had no answer for the Whalers quarterback Chandler Debosse, who finished 12-13 for 312 yards and three scores and ran 12 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Franklin battled to the end, but it was the visitors that started the season with a 42-36 win.

“I like our kids fight and we ran the ball well,” said Franklin coach Brad Sidwell. “We were awful on defense and like we hadn’t practiced, but we need to get them better. We’ll fight hard with these kids…our kids will fight hard.”

After an interception ended the Whalers first drive inside the Franklin 10-yard-line, New Bedford would open the scoring on its second possession. On third and inches from the Franklin 43, Victor Carrion, Jr. broke a tackle in the backfield and raced to the end zone. It was the first of six touchdowns and each was from at least 37 yards out.

Franklin responded on its next drive. Daevon Weathers (23 carries, 98 yards) had four rushed for 42 yards to get the Panthers to the New Bedford 22 and senior quarterback Kyle Skidmore hit Connor Anderson at the pylon for a touchdown on his only completion of the game.

On the second play of the second quarter, Debrosse hit running back Hector Diaz on a screen pass that turned into a 47-yard TD. The next time the Whalers had the ball, Diaz fumbled at his own 14, recovered by Kevin Murray.

It was a huge opportunity for Franklin to get back into the game, but after a first down at the three, Weathers lost yards on consecutive carries, Franklin was hit with a false start penalty and Skidmore could not find Jacob Garrity on fourth down. New Bedford made the missed opportunity pay with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Rapoza to make it 21-6 going into the half.

“They didn’t really beat us on the zone read, but that one at the end of the half was a killer. I don’t know how many yards we gave up, but I’m sure it was pretty bad,” said Sidwell.

Franklin started the second half with ball and in need of a spark. Parent would provide it. The senior captain, who is battling an injured arm that kept him out of most of the preseason, had six carries for 63 yards on the opening drive capped by a 25 yard counter and a two-point conversion that made it 21-14. It was an 11-play, six minute drive to send a message.

“We just said that’s what we had to and that’s what we are,” said Sidwell about the message before that drive.

Unfortunately for Franklin, the momentum of the drive was quickly wiped out when New Bedford scored on two plays in just 47 seconds. Diaz took an option pitch and scored a 54-yard touchdown. That would start an incredible string of three touchdowns for New Bedford on just seven plays.

Parent once again provided a lift as he raced 59 yards for his second score in as many carries and Skidmore tacked on the two-point conversion to make it 28-22. Debrosse answered right back four plays later as Hunter Fluegel beat Harrell for speed down the near sideline for a 37-yard TD. The two-pointer made it 36-22 at the end of the third quarter.

Once again, Franklin answered with an 11-play drive. Skidmore finished it off with a one-yard dive to bring the Panthers back within eight. The energy on the Panthers bench was very high after the kick-off team pinned New Bedford back on its own 19, but on the first play Debrosse hit the edge and went 81 yards untouched to extend the lead.

In a game that went back and forth, Franklin needed only two plays to score again. Parent went 11 yards on the first play and then on his final carry of the night broke a 56-yard touchdown that got the Panthers back within seven points with 5:41 on the clock.

“He had a couple nice long runs,” said Sidwell about his captain. “He’s an explosive player and he’s basically been out of preseason for a while and he makes a big difference. He did a good job.”

After running only eight plays to that point in the second half, New Bedford slowed things down and ran 11 plays on the final drive, including a 22-yard completion on third and 13, which allowed the Whalers to run out the clock.

After the game, Sidwell was focused on his team’s effort and its ability to keep coming back into the game. He said several times, “We’ll work hard. These kids will work hard.”

Franklin will travel to Framingham for its second non-league game next Friday night.

Photos can be purchased at http://hockomocksports.smugmug.com/Franklin-New-Bedford-football/i-RTDVCDF

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

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Ryan Lanigan

Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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