Franklin Makes Most of Its Plays to Beat Taunton

Franklin football
Shane Kindred pulls in a TD catch just seconds before halftime, helping Franklin pull away from Taunton on its way to a big win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Taunton ran 60 plays to Franklin’s 27. The Tigers had seven drives that reached Franklin territory, including three that reached the red zone, but came away empty on each possession. The Panthers put together only two drives of more than five plays, but they found the end zone four times.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Although it felt closer than the final score, Franklin made the big plays on both sides of the ball and rolled to a comfortable 35-0 win over Taunton on Friday night at Pisini Stadium. The win keeps Franklin unbeaten overall and in a three-way tie for first in the Kelley-Rex.

“They had a ton of chances,” Franklin coach Eian Bain admitted. “[Taunton] put the pressure on us, they did some things that made it hard to do what we wanted. When you play bad football, you can’t win games. The first thing we had to do was get rid of the bad football and once we got rid of bad football, we were able to compete a little better and we made some plays.”

Taunton coach Brad Sidwell was rueing missed opportunities for his offense in each of the past two weeks and a missed opportunity to end his former team’s perfect record. “We’ve got to capitalize when it’s our opportunity and we didn’t do it,” he said. “I knew their offense was pretty potent and their defense is kind of underrated. They’re pretty fast and and they run to the ball and make plays. We’ve got to make sure we punch it in early on.”

The Tigers, helped by two third down penalties, moved the ball near midfield on their first drive before punting. Just two plays later, they were behind. Jared Arone started away from the Franklin sideline then looked back and hit a wide open Mack Gulla (240 total yards),who had leaked out of the backfield, for a 69-yard score.

Nathan Keenan returned the ensuing kick 33 yards out to the 44 to give Taunton good starting field position for its next drive. A 15-yard screen pass from Jacob Leonard to Evan Perrotta and a 19-yard sweep by Jose Touron got the Tigers into Franklin territory. The Panthers clamped down on the ground game and on fourth and three from the 15, Leonard’s pass to Touron fell incomplete.

Mckyen Gonsalves recovered a Gulla fumble two plays later to give Taunton back the ball at the Franklin 35. A sack by Jay Gulla and Nick Quintina pushed the Tigers back, but on fourth down Leonard connected with Touron on a 21 yard catch and run to get the ball to the five. Taunton only managed two more yards and Keenan’s 20-yard field goal slid wide right.

Two personal foul calls ended Franklin’s next drive quickly and Taunton again started in opposition territory. A good tackle on third down by Jack Marino forced a Tigers punt. Nick Lima’s sack of Arone forced a three-and-out and Taunton got the ball at the Franklin 39. This time the Tigers gained six yards but Leonard (14-of-34, 182 yards) couldn’t connect with Touron on fourth and short.

With just over two minutes remaining in the half, Franklin went into its hurry-up offense and put together its best drive of the game. Helped by a face mask call, the Panthers quickly got into Taunton’s end of the field but a touchdown pass to Will Tracey was called back because an ineligible receiver downfield. Arone (8-of-11, 132 yards) would eventually fire a strike down the middle to Shane Kindred, who held on through contact for a 15-yard score with just eight seconds left in the half.

It was the third time in five games that Franklin has put together a drive like that to close out a half.

“That was the backbreaker and then it turned the tide the rest of the way,” Sidwell explained. “I felt like we could keep fighting if we could put one in there but after that it was tough to keep it together. I was worried we were going to have to match their scores and we certainly didn’t.”

Although it felt like Taunton had the ball for the bulk of the first 24 minutes, the Panthers led 14-0. Just 1:13 into the third quarter and the lead grew to 21-0. After another touchdown pass to Tracey was called back by penalty, Gulla (10 carries, 170 yards) took a carry to the left, cut inside the tackle, and then bounced it to the sideline, racing away from Taunton defenders for a 56-yard touchdown.

“Mack really took off in the second half,” Bain said. “We haven’t used him a lot catching the ball but tonight we were like we’re going to get him a ball or two out of the backfield and he caught that one and went with it. Mack is a very powerful kid but he’s very fast. He’s got a lot of breakaway speed so when you give him enough room he can make a big play.”

Taunton tried to mount a scoring drive to stem the home team’s momentum. Leonard found Touron with a nice pass on the run to convert third down and then followed that with a 29-yard pass down the near sideline to Troy Santos. The Tigers got as far as the Franklin 27, but a sack by Jay Gulla set up third and long and two incomplete passes later the drive was over.

On the very next play from scrimmage, the game was effectively over too. Mack Gulla broke through the line and into the secondary where he spun off a hit, cut to this right to the sideline and was gone. The 73-yard score put Franklin up four scores with 18 minutes left to play.

A 39-yard screen pass to Perrotta, who appeared to be dragged down but actually landed on a Franklin player before getting up for an extra 15 yards, gave Taunton first and goal, but Cullen Pek stuffed a run for a loss of one and then Jase Lyons intercepted a pass at the goal line. Lyons would later add his second pick of the night, perfectly reading and undercutting an out-route, and returned it 24 yards for the game’s final score.

Bain praised his team’s ability to not have a letdown after last week’s big win over Mansfield. He said, “There’s something to be said about getting used to people talking about you, having articles about you, we had Homecoming going on, but we talked to the kids about championship mentality. I thought we responded in the second half and that was big.”

Franklin (5-0) will get a rare bye week before traveling to Attleboro. Taunton (3-2) will try to end its two-game skid when it hosts Oliver Ames in the “Tiger Bowl” on Thursday night.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/08/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
Attleboro, 22 @ King Philip, 30 – Final
1st Quarter: (KP) Rudy Gately, 2-yard rush, Matthew Kelley XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Charlie Grant 7-yard pass to Will Astorino, M. Kelley XP good; (KP) Crawford Cantave 1-yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: (A) Kaiden Murray 3-yard rush, Anthony Salviati XP good; (KP) M. Kelley 23-yard field goal; (A) Logan Briggs 82-yard rush; Matt Harvie 2pt pass to L. Briggs.
4th Quarter: (KP) C. Grant 35-yard pass to Tom Brewster, M. Kelley XP good; (A) K. Murray 4-yard rush, A. Salviati XP good.

Oliver Ames, 12 @ Canton, 7 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (OA) Jake Grimaldi 2-yard rush, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (OA) Collin Williamson 62-yard rush, 2pt failed; (C) Vincent O’Brien rush, Hayden Rose XP good.

Stoughton, 13 @ Foxboro, 49 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Dylan Gordon 8-yard rush, Sam Carpenter XP good; (F) Tom Marcucella 42-yard pass to Rashaad Way, S. Carpenter XP good; (S) Anthony Girolamo 5-yard rush, Jonah Ly XP good; (F) D. Gordon 2-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) D. Gordon 36-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good; (F) D. Gordon 23-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good; (F) T. Marcucella 5-yard pass to Nick Medeiros, S. Carpenter XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) D. Gordon 90-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) B. Clark 1-yard rush, XP failed.

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 35 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (F) Jared Arone 69-yard pass to Mack Gulla, Garrett Portesi XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) J. Arone 15-yard pass to Shane Kindred, G. Portesi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) M. Gulla 56-yard rush, G. Portesi XP good; (F) M. Gulla 73-yard rush, G. Portesi XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) Jase Lyons 24-yard interception return, G. Portesi XP good.

Milford, 27 @ Mansfield, 24 – Final (OT)
1st Quarter: (Mil) Evan Cornelius 1-yard rush, Nick Araujo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (Mil) Tyler Lane 1-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (Mans) Drew Sacco 5-yard rush, James Gilleran XP good; (Mans) Conner Zukowski 1-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good.
3rd Quarter: (Mans) James Fichera 3-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good.
4th Quarter: (Mil) E. Cornelius 40-yard pass to Damien Carter, N. Araujo XP good.
Overtime: (Mans) J. Gilleran 30-yard field goal; (Mil) E. Cornelius 9-yard pass to D. Carter.

Sharon, 15 @ Martha’s Vineyard, 7 – Final (OT)
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (MV) Touchdown, XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) Gabe Korn 5-yard rush, Jace McCarron XP good.
Overtime: (S) G. Korn 3-yard rush, G. Korn 2pt rush good.










Boys Soccer
Franklin, 1 @ Attleboro, 2 – FinalEsvin Morales set up the tying goal and scored the game-winner just minutes later as the Bombardiers rallied to take a win over Franklin. With the win, Attleboro moves into a first place tie in the Kelley-Rex division with Mansfield. Franklin opened the scoring just before the half hour mark. Tyler Powderly used his speed to get down the right wing and play in a cross. The initial ball was cleared but only as far as junior Max Tobin, who one-timed it into the top corner to put the visitors ahead. Attleboro’s best chance of the first half came in the 17th minute when senior Yianni Skordas forced a turnover and pushed forward, centering to Morales. Morales cut back to evade a defender and the keeper but his shot on goal was denied by Franklin senior midfielder Terry O’Neill. In the second half, Cashel Stuger played the ball to Morales, who turned and played a ball over the top of the defense and sophomore Alex Vecchioli finished the half volley from a step inside the area to bring the hosts level. Four minutes later, after Franklin was whistled for a handball, Morales stepped over the ball and placed a shot on frame while the Panthers were setting up the wall and it just beat the diving keeper for the game-winner.

Milford, 2 vs. Hopedale, 0 – FinalMilford scored a pair of second half goals to earn a win over local rival Hopedale. John Borges had two assists for the Scarlet Hawks, setting up both goals. First, Borges found Eduardo Santana to put the hosts in front and then Borges assisted on a goal from Chris Tocci.

Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – FinalSenior Riley Fitzpatrick scored a pair of goals to lead the Panthers to a win at home over the visiting Bombardiers. Fitzpatrick had a beautiful header off a free kick from Norah Anderson and scored her other goal off a pass from Anya Zub. Zub had two assists in the win, setting up senior Stella Regan for the other Franklin goal.

Foxboro, 1 vs. Bishop Feehan, 1 – Final

Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 5 – FinalDani Atherton had a hat trick and an assist to lead Milford to a wild win over Sharon. It was Milford’s second win in the past three days. Paige Caldon added her second goal in as many games and Cailyn Paccico had one for the Hawks. The Eagles got two goals apiece from Wendy Wooden and Carly Pinnix. Olivia Soby had two assists and Sofia Goclowski had one for Sharon and Amber Marcus-Blank played well defensively.




Field Hockey
Attleboro, 5 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalMadison Ellis scored a hat trick to pace the Bombardiers to a big win on the road over Mansfield. Attleboro recevied a great defensive effort from Trinity Harrison and the Bombardiers transitioned from defense to offense smoothly due to the strong play of Jordan Croteau. Olivia Hillman had a strong game on the right side for the visitors and scored once.

Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 1 – FinalCanton’s Ellie Bohane scored late in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs a win over Foxboro, stretching their unbeaten streak to eight. Bohane converted a pass from Sierra Abbott for the lone goal of the game while Carolyn Durand made key saves down the stretch to preserve the shutout.

Franklin, 2 @ King Philip, 0 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

North Attleboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalFour different players found the back of the net, two from each team, and Oliver Ames and North Attleboro split the two points in a 2-2 draw. Tyla Delamere and Georgia Costello each scored for the Tigers while Julia Maclaine and Costello each had an assists. Caroline Rolan (from Emily Burnham) and Zoe McKeon scored for the Rocketeers.

Sharon, 0 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalZofia Bangs scored the lone goal of the game as Stoughton picked up a win on Senior Night.

Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalMansfield earned a key division win in the form of a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-5, 25-15) over the visiting Bombardiers of Attleboro. Julia Kelly had a big game with 11 kills, five aces, and a pair of digs, Nicole Santos added seven aces and four kills, Lexie Scibilia chipped in with three kills, three blocks, and a pair of aces, and Christina Lydon and Izzy Flint combined for 21 assists. For Attleboro, Julia Leonardo recorded eight kills while Brianna Frissora had a great game at the net.

Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final Canton bounced back from a tough five-set loss to Westwood with a clean 3-0 sweep (25-8, 25-17, 25-22) over visiting Foxboro. Jess Wright continued to lead the offense for the Bulldogs with 12 kills and added eight digs. Taylor Reynold dished out 22 assists to go with six aces, Syd Gallery added five kills and two aces, and Anna Verille continued to shine defensively with 15 digs and two kills.

Franklin, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this match.The battle between the top two teams in the Hockomock League lived up to the hype as King Philip rallied from a two-game deficit to stun Franklin, 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-12). Sami Shore, Ahunna James, and Emily Sawyer all played well at the net for KP in the comeback win while Samantha Asprelli and Gianna DeLorenzo anchored the back row in the win. Sofia Riedel had a big day at the service line for KP with 11 service points and three aces. For Franklin, Brigid Earley (two blocks) and Taylor Lacerda (22 digs) each had 14 kills while Lindsey Tarantola added nine kills and eight blocks.

Milford, 3 @ Taunton, 2 – FinalIn an incredibly close match, Milford prevailed with a 3-2 win (27-25, 25-22, 18-25, 22-25, 15-11). For Taunton, Hayley Krockta and Mikayla Cleary each had 11 kills while Anna Abouzeid dished out 28 assists.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – FinalIn a match tighter than the final score shows, North Attleboro secured an important 3-0 win (25-22, 26-24, 25-20) win over Oliver Ames. For the Tigers, junior Maddie Homer recorded 25 digs, senior Hadley Rhodes dished out 26 assists to go along with five kills, sophomore Sarah Hilliard added 14 kills and 10 digs, and sophomore Claire O’Rourke chipped in with eight kills and three aces.

Golf
Attleboro vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 2:30

Foxboro, 157 @ Oliver Ames, 152 – FinalOliver Ames earned its 10th win of the season by taking down Foxboro in a close match at Pine Oaks. Senior captain Jake Kaplan shot a medalist round of 35 to lead the way for the Tigers. Junior Michael McGinnis and sophomore Aden Ashley each shot a 39 to count for the scoring for the first time in their careers. Sophomore Lucas Riley and junior Daniel Paul both added a 40 in the win.

Sharon, 171 @ Canton, 147 – FinalSophomore Mekhala Costello capped a tremendous week with another medalist round, this time a one-over par round of 35 to lead the Bulldogs to a big win at home over Sharon. The win clinches at least a share of the Davenport division title for Canton. Mike Loenetti added a 36 in the win, Conor Hunter chipped in with a 37, and Will Gefteas finished with a 39 for Canton. Eric Carter led the way for Sharon with a round of 41, Owen Kevorkian added a 42, and Nathan Daley, Noah Glassman, and James Spoto all shot a 44 for the Eagles.

Franklin Continues Perfect Start By Beating Mansfield

Franklin Football
Jonathan Martins celebrates after catching a fourth quarter touchdown pass to seal Franklin’s first win against Mansfield since 2009. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – It was only seven months ago that Franklin traveled to Alumni Field to open the Fall II season. The Panthers were a young team learning the ropes against a senior-laden, highly-experienced Mansfield squad filled with Super Bowl-winning talent.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

When the two teams met on Friday night at Pisini Stadium, the roles were reversed. Now it was the Panthers that had the experience and they took advantage at every opportunity. Jared Arone (9-for-13, 206 yards) tossed four touchdown passes and the Panthers beat Mansfield 28-10. in front of a packed house.

It was Franklin’s first win against the Hornets since going undefeated in the 2009 regular season. It also ended Mansfield’s 19-game win streak, which had been the longest active streak in the state.

“We had a normal summer, a normal weight program, a normal training camp where we could meet and walk through and do all the things that you’re supposed to do and we let our kids just be kids this year finally,” said Franklin coach Eian Bain about the growth of his team over the past few months. “I think they’ve grown a lot as people, as men, as students, as players.”










Despite being 3-0, Mansfield has struggled early in games and had to come from behind in each of the past two weeks. The pattern repeated itself on Friday, as the Hornets hurt themselves with penalties, regularly finding themselves in long-yardage situations, missed a field goal, and were unable to finish drives.

Mansfield coach Mike Redding admitted that was too much to overcome against a team as good as Franklin. He said, “So sloppy and I think tonight was the first time that we played young almost the whole night. Tonight it was like we could never be consistent. We just kind of took a step back in terms of execution on both sides of the ball.”

After forcing a three-and-out, thanks to pass breakups by Jase Lyons and Devine Johnson, Franklin took over for its second possession at its own 32. Two plays and a first down later, Arone went deep right down the middle of the field, hitting Shane Kindred (five catches, 106 yards) in stride for a 54-yard touchdown. Garrett Portesi’s extra point made it 7-0.

“You want to always play with a lead,” said Bain. “It gives you a little flexibility, allows you now to panic, and we hit those big plays early. It also put some pressure on them to get out of their comfort zone.”

Another Mansfield three-and-out gave Franklin a chance to double its lead, but Trevor Foley intercepted Arone at the Hornets 39. Mansfield’s offense finally started to get things going.

Conner Zukowski (13-of-27, 141 yards) hit CJ Bell for 27 yards down the sideline to get into the red zone. A sack by Nick Quintina (one of five Franklin sacks in the game) pushed the Hornets back eight yards and Luke Davis made a nice play on the ball to deny a touchdown pass to Foley. The Hornets were forced to try a 32-yard field goal by James Gilleran, but it slid wide right.

Franklin fed off the defensive stand, putting together a 14-play, 84-yard scoring drive. Three times Arone found Kindred for first downs and Mack Gulla (32 carries, 164 yards) had nine rushes on the drive. On third and goal from the eight, Arone was able to buy time in the pocket, eventually rolling out to his right and spying Grayson Hunter open in the back corner of the end zone.

The visitors needed a spark to try and get something going before halftime. On third and seven, Foley made a nice sliding grab to get a first down. A pass interference call helped get Mansfield to the 24 and then Zukowski hit Bell for 21 more to get inside the five. Drew Sacco would get Mansfield on the board, taking a big hit at the goal line but squeezing across to make it 14-7.




Mansfield got the ball coming out of the break with a chance to tie the game, but once again the Hornets struggled to finish off a drive. Sacco broke an 18-yard run around the left side and a screen pass to Rocco Scarpellini went for 23 down to the Franklin 11. That’s where things stalled. Sacco dove on errant toss for a loss of a couple and on third down Jonathan Martins pressured Zukowski into an incompletion. Gilleran nailed a 30-yarder and the lead was down to four.

A mistake on the ensuing kick pinned Franklin back at its own four. It looked like a turning point in the game where, in the past, Mansfield would suddenly turn things around and find a way to win. Instead, the Panthers went 96 yards and extended the lead.

The drive started with an offsides penalty and then eight straight carries by Gulla. The Panthers were controlling the line of scrimmage, winning the battle in the trenches and marching downfield. After converting on third down into Mansfield territory, Franklin went for the home run. Arone threw a strike to Will Tracey on the far sideline and he hauled in the 41-yard score.

Redding said, “Gulla was as advertised. He’s a solid kid, but I think he was faster than we expected. We handled him okay but they did enough to set up the pass game and, when they did throw, they got some huge pass plays out of it. They had a good little combination going.”

A Gulla fumble would give Mansfield one last chance to try and get back into the game with 8:24 to play, but the Franklin defense continued to cover well and to pressure Zukowski. A sack by Jack Marino and another pass breakup by Davis helped the Panthers get the ball back at the Hornets 39.

“We’ve got a lot of really good athletes playing on defense,” said Bain. “They run well and they’re aggressive and they’re smart and we’re able to get in and out of a lot of looks and packages and keep the offense off-balance.”

Three plays later, on fourth and four, Franklin caught Mansfield in a blitz. Martins was free down the seam and Arone picked out his wide open tight end for a back-breaking 34-yard score.

“This a huge moment, Mansfield is a great program, but wins are not our goals,” Bain said when asked about staying focused on the schedule ahead. “It’s an elite result but we can’t forget that reaching our goals every day got us this result, so tomorrow and then Sunday and Monday we’ve got to keep achieving greatness every day.”

For Redding and the Hornets, they face undefeated Milford next, knowing that a second loss would effectively end their chances at claiming another league title. He explained, “I don’t know if anyone can run the table. So, next week is do or die. If we bring our ‘A’ game then we have a shot to win. If we stay sloppy, then we’re going to struggle. But I like our kids’ character and I think we’ll be back next Friday.”

Franklin (4-0) will try to keep its perfect season going next week with a visit from Taunton. Mansfield (3-1) will host Milford at Alumni Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.