ALBION, Mich. – The Franklin College football team hit the road for the first time in 2018 on Saturday (Sept. 8) night, taking on MIAA foe Albion College at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
The Grizzlies (1-1) and Britons (2-0) traded touchdowns in the early going and the game appeared to be headed for a shootout. But three first half Franklin turnovers proved costly, as the Britons were able to gain a lead they would not relinquish on their way to a 56-35 win.
The Grizzlies got the ball first and marched right down the field, scoring just 2:02 into the game on a 29-yard connection from Braden Smith to Brad Bonomini. Albion responded with a pair of touchdowns on each of their next two drives to take a 14-7 lead. Facing a deficit for the first time, the Grizzlies needed just two plays to tie things up, getting a 35-yard run from Jacob Earlfollowed by a 34-yard strike from Smith to Joey Siderewicz to even things up at 14 with 3:26 to go in the first quarter.
Down by a score but threatening early in the second quarter, disaster struck the Grizzlies when Earl was stripped in the backfield and the Britons recovering at their own 21. Following another Albion touchdown, Franklin cut the deficit to seven on a 14-yard run by Smith. But the Franklin defense couldn’t contain the Briton’s offense, andthe Grizzlies headed into the break trailing 42-28 following a seven-yard TD pass from Smith to Ben Fleet with time running out in the half.
After forcing an Albion punt to start the second half, the Grizzlies had a chance to pull within a score on their first drive of the half, but couldn’t cash in as the Albion defense forced a turnover on downs. Franklin hit pay dirt for the final time late in the third quarter on a 10-yard strike from Smith to Bonomini, the fifth time this year the two have connected for a score.
Smith finished the night 36-of-53 for 374 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Earl led all ball carriers with 145 yards on 16 carries, recording three runs of at least 35 yards. Bonomini turned in another strong game, hauling in 14 passes for 175 yards and a pair of scores. It was the second straight week the Lawrenceburg, Ind.-native set new single game career-highs in receptions and yards.
Franklin looks to get back on track next Saturday (Sept. 15), when they open Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play. First up for the Grizzlies is a trip to Anderson, Ind. for a showdown with the Anderson University Ravens. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.