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Franklin football wears down Mascoma to claim D-VI crown

  • Franklin's Sam Barry celebrates with his teammates after winning over  Mascoma High School faced off in the Division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Franklin's Sam Barry celebrates with his teammates after winning over Mascoma High School faced off in the Division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Franklin's Korey Parent tries to fend off  Mascoma defense on his way to the end zone in the division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Franklin's Korey Parent tries to fend off Mascoma defense on his way to the end zone in the division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Franklin's Brandon Butterworth carries the ball in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Franklin's Brandon Butterworth carries the ball in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Franklin's Korey Parent and Kody Benwell celebrate after Parent scored a touchdown in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Franklin's Korey Parent and Kody Benwell celebrate after Parent scored a touchdown in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Franklin's Sam Barry celebrates with his teammates after winning over  Mascoma High School faced off in the Division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin's Korey Parent tries to fend off  Mascoma defense on his way to the end zone in the division IV football championship at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin's Brandon Butterworth carries the ball in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin's Korey Parent and Kody Benwell celebrate after Parent scored a touchdown in the Division IV football championship against Mascoma at Hanover High School on November 10, 2012. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

HANOVER – When Mascoma rolled to a touchdown on the first drive, Franklin kept calm. And the Golden Tornadoes stayed that way after falling behind by six points late in the first half. They had fought back all season, they figured they could do it one last time.

“We’re resilient. We come back and we fight, we’ve got a lot of heart” Franklin’s Korey Parent said. “We’re a second-half team. We just don’t want to lose.”

And in yesterday’s Division VI title game, they didn’t. No. 2 Franklin (9-2) withstood the early assault from top-ranked Mascoma (8-3), landed a flurry of counter punches just before the half and wore down the Royals in the end for a 42-22 football championship win.

The young Tornadoes were inconsistent in the preseason and lost their opener to this very same Mascoma team, 26-13, but they roared back with five straight wins. Still, a loss to Winnisquam on Oct. 12 left the playoffs in doubt, until Franklin responded to win its last two games. And last week in the semifinals, the Tornadoes fell behind early, just like they did in the final.

“It was the same as the Campbell game last week,” Franklin senior Jake Jameson said. “We only do all right on the first drive, and then our adrenaline kicks in. You’re not really pumped up until the end.”

Jameson seemed to have ample adrenaline flowing in the second quarter when he delivered the Tornadoes’ first flurry practically on his own. Mascoma held an 8-0 lead, thanks to a 20-yard scoring run from Kyle Kosiorek (25 carries, 129 yards), at the end of that first drive when Jameson went to work.

First, he caught a quick slant from quarterback Bruce Carey, took it 26 yards to the house and then ran for the two-point conversion to make it 8-8 with 5:44 left in the half. The Royals answered with an eight-play touchdown drive, but Jameson returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards and absorbed a late hit that gave the Tornadoes the ball on the Mascoma 35. On the very next play, Jameson threw a halfback option pass to a wide-open Brandon Butterworth that gave Franklin a 15-14 lead (after Butterworth’s PAT) with 2:36 left in the half.

“I was running all over the place, up and down the field,” Jameson said. “But no one knew that pass was coming.”

And he wasn’t quite done running. Kosiorek opened Mascoma’s next drive with a 19-yard run, but Butterworth stripped him at the end of the play, and Jameson was there to pick up the fumble and send the Tornadoes into halftime with that one-point lead.

After both teams traded punts and fumbles to start the second half, Franklin’s strategy took over. The Tornadoes used only one lineman both ways in hopes of wearing down Mascoma, and the plan worked to perfection. Kody Benwell (22 carries, 119 yards, two touchdown) and Parent (15 carries, 156 yards, two touchdowns) began ripping off big chunks of yardage late in the third and Benwell’s 2-yard scoring run gave the Tornadoes a 22-14 lead with 14.8 seconds left in the quarter.

After Franklin sniffed out an ill-advised fake punt from the Royals, Benwell broke through a series of tired tackles for a 30-yard score that made it 29-14 with 10:01 to play in the game. As the big senior crossed the goal line, he lifted the ball, showing it to the fans ringing the Hanover High field like he was displaying the championship trophy that now seemed a certainty. Parent made it even more certain with a 38-yard touchdown run three minutes later that pushed the Tornadoes lead to 36-14.

“They were wearing down in the second half,” Parent said. “We condition a lot and we knew what we wanted and we just came for it.”

“We kept saying they have nine guys going both ways and we thought if we could wear down their line, we’ll win this football game,” said Coach Greg Husband, who also led Franklin to the last of its four previous state titles in 2008.

The plan worked on both sides of the ball for the Tornadoes. They slowed Mascoma’s double wing running attack after halftime (167 rushing yards in the first half, 114 in the second) and didn’t allow any second-half points until Mike Seiffert’s 5-yard touchdown run with 4:32 left that made it 36-20. The Royals did get one last hint of hope when they recovered a Benwell fumble with 4:03 to play, but a holding penalty and a sack from Ian Jipson ended that drive and hope. It was the fitting conclusion of an outstanding game (and season) for Jipson, who was the one Franklin lineman to play both ways.

“Ian’s an animal,” Husband said.

Parent scored from 9 yards out with 1:53 left on the clock to finish the scoring and cap what was, in hindsight, an unexpected championship season.

“Everybody picked us to go 3-6 or 2-7,” Parent said, “but we didn’t listen.”

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids,” Husband said, “they turned such a corner.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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