Big plays lead Franklin past Smyrna

SMRYNA — It didn’t take long for the Franklin Admirals to find their groove.

After a three-and-out on their first drive, the Admirals found themselves picking up yards in chunk plays. Senior quarterback Connor Beavon was confident, orchestrating the offense to touchdowns on seven of nine drives. Receivers Taylor Spierto and Carson Repass found holes in a Smyrna defense that never found its footing as Franklin cruised to a 49-13 victory in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Big plays, tight throws, and a little luck — Franklin (6-5) used it all in the first half to build a 35-13 lead to take in the locker room. The third quarter saw the Admirals turn to their ground game. Junior back Bryce Sparks handled the workload, and the Admirals took the air out of the ball on a long drive to wipe out the clock, with an exclamation point coming on a tough touchdown run from DJ Durham.

The turning point in the contest may have happened midway through the first half. The Bulldogs (7-4) were forced to punt, and a botched snap caused the punter to scamper around before getting his kick off. However, the Admirals were guilty of roughing the punter, and the Bulldogs scored two plays later. Smyrna’s defense could not hold the Admirals down off the mat, and Franklin never looked back.

Against a secondary that did its best to keep the Franklin receivers in front of them, Franklin relied on their seniors to pick apart the Bulldogs in the passing game. “We’ve been playing together for four years, 7-on-7 before that, some middle school,” Repass said about his chemistry with Beavon. “Taylor Spierto, I’ve been playing with him since fourth grade. Carson, I just know if I throw it up to him, he’s going to get it.”

Beavon and the Admirals know their next opponent is a familiar one: Ravenwood. “It’s not often you get a second chance. I definitely think we have a shot.”

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