Baker, Franklin-Simpson spoil Allen County-Scottsville’s homecoming
SCOTTSVILLE – It may have been homecoming at Allen County-Scottsville High School on Friday night, but its football team was served a home cooking, as the Patriots lost 30-7 to longtime rival Franklin-Simpson in front of a packed Patriot Stadium.
ACS (5-2 overall, 0-1 District 2) struggled to find any consistency on the night and was dominated by the visiting Wildcats (4-3, 1-0 District 2) in all phases.
Franklin-Simpson, who has now won the last three meetings over the Patriots, used its explosive running game to tally over 300 yards on the ground. Usual rushing leader Carlos McKinney rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, but it was James Baker that earned the spotlight for the Wildcats.
Baker ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns – in the fourth quarter alone.
“We knew that it was gonna be a battle ‘till the end, so it motivated me to bust my butt and keep going,” Baker told The Sporting Times following his team’s victory. “We had our fullback get hurt, so I knew that it was my time and I had to step up and help the team out with some big plays.”
Franklin-Simpson led 13-7 after the first quarter and 16-7 at halftime. The Wildcats went on to add 14 points to their side of the scoreboard in the second half, courtesy of 26 and 62-yard scores by Baker.
It’s pretty clear that Baker’s head coach was proud of the way he performed.
“James is one of the fastest kids on our team,” Franklin-Simpson head coach Doug Preston said. “He’s a super talented kid and a really good football player. He used to (play like) that on the regular in middle school.”
The Wildcats took a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter by scoring on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Rylan Thomas. McKinney ran for 40 yards on six carries to ultimately set up Thomas’ score.
Franklin-Simpson’s defense stepped up following their successful offensive series and forced a Chase Wilson fumble. The turnover by the Allen County-Scottsville quarterback gave F-S possession at the Patriots’ 1-yard line.
“I’m very proud,” said Preston when asked about the play of his defense. “One of our biggest issues of the year has been defending the pass. We’ve been working and working and really just trying to keep the kids in focus each week. We saw a major jump forward last week in the Glasgow game and then that carried right over into this week.”
On the ensuing play, the Wildcats capitalized, scoring on touchdown run by McKinney. The score pushed their advantage to 13-0 with 5:55 left in the period.
Allen County responded to its opponent’s back-to-back TDs with a 24-yard pass from Wilson to wide receiver Cayden Ross to cut the Patriots’ deficit to 13-7 entering the second quarter.
The next period was all defensive for both sides, as only three points were added to the scoreboard. At the 5:38 mark of the period, Franklin-Simpson settled for a 20-yard field goal by Cole Hollingsworth – it was good.
The Wildcats carried their 16-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We’ve been up and down all year with wins and losses – and obviously this is the one that matters most,” Preston said. “It’s tough coming over here to Allen County. They’re always tough.”
F-S controlled the clock in the third, and although it wouldn’t be able to score in the quarter, it quickly did so in the fourth – thanks to the emergence of Baker.
On the very first play of the quarter, Baker took a handoff from Thomas and broke two tackles before running straight up the middle for a 26-yard touchdown. His first score of the night pushed Franklin’s lead to 23-7 with 11:51 remaining.
Baker struck again just four minutes after his first score, recording a 62-yard TD run to put his Wildcats club up for good at 30-7. Baker sprinted down the left sideline untouched and crossed the pylon to seal the deal.
Franklin-Simpson enters a bye week and doesn’t return to action until Oct. 13 against Warren Central. The Dragons are currently 0-7 on the year, but the Wildcats won’t be overlooking their next opponent.
“We can’t take them lightly. We have to play hard every game,” said Baker.