Defensive Franklin gets a share of the HCAC title

SportsFootballCollege SportsTyler WrightNCAA

FRANKLIN - Most of the time when you take a peek a Franklin football, its offense that jumps off the page.

A quarterback whose thrown for over 2,200 and 22 touchdowns and an average of 39 points a game make the Grizzlies' offense something to watch.

But on a chilly and sometimes rainy Saturday it was the defense that took center stage at Faught Stadium.

Franklin's defense collected 11 sacks and allowed under 200 total yards of offense in a 23-9 win over Bluffton Saturday afternoon.

With the victory Franklin improved to 7-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, clinching a share of the regular season crown. If they can beat rival Hanover at home in the Victory Bell game next Saturday, the Grizzlies will win the conference outright and get an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs.

Defense was the name of the game in the first half with each team yielding just one scoring drive. Franklin struck first when Jonny West threw to the corner of the endzone for Kyle Linville, who dove and made a finger tip catch inbounds for the score. The extra point was no good keeping the lead at 6-0.

Bluffton made their move just before the end of the half when Tyler Wright called his own number from eight yards out to score the touchdown. Like the Grizzlies, the Beavers missed their extra point to keep the score tied at six.

The second half, however, belonged to Franklin on both sides of the ball. The defense allowed just three points in 30 minutes while the offense chipped in 17 to put the game out of reach.

That included a pair of rushing touchdowns by Sam Otley, one in each quarter.

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