FRANKLIN, Ind. – Franklin College today broke out to a 27-point lead in the opening quarter and went to rout Earlham 60-0 at Faught Stadium to clinch a tie for the 2010 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football championship.
The Griz improved to 7-0 in the HCAC and 8-1 overall with its eighth straight victory. The Quakers fell to 0-7 in the league and 0-9 overall.
Franklin can win its third HCAC outright championship in four years by beating arch-rival Hanover next week on Senior Day at Faught Stadium. The Panthers (6-1 HCAC, 7-2 overall) remained in the hunt to gain a share of the Heartland title by topping Mount St. Joseph 25-15 at home today. Defiance also stayed tied for second at 6-1 by winning 10-7 at Manchester.
There's a lot at stake for the Grizzlies in next week's Franklin-Hanover clash - the Victory Bell trophy and the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Senior running back Darryl Stott rushed for three touchdowns and scored another on a pass reception, and senior quarterback Kyle Ray threw for four touchdowns and ran for another to account for seven of FC's nine scores.
Stott opened the scoring with a 58-yard touchdown run on the Griz's first possession. The senior newcomer, who totaled 111 yards on just nine carries, scored on 11- and 3-yard runs in the second period and caught a 15-yard strike from Ray in the end zone with seconds left in the third quarter.
Ray completed 14 of 20 passes for 254 yards on the day. The senior, who's second in passing efficiency in NCAA III this week, pitched scoring passes to junior running back Reece Craig on a 25-yard play and to senior wingback Ryan Momberger in the first quarter, and hit senior split end Matt Zmich for a TD in the third period.
Zmich caught the ball and broke a tackle, running for most of the 62-yard play. Ray rushed for a 1-yard TD midway in the opening quarter.
The Griz's only other score was by senior running back Kelly Snellenbarger on a 2-yard rush early in the second half.
Franklin rolled up 548 yards of total offense. The Griz, which rank 19th in NCAA III in total defense, held Earlham to just 118 total yards. Senior linebacker Teddy Henkle made seven total tackles and defensive backs Tyler Huls, Zane Schroeder and Zack Corpe each made an interception.
FC posted its first shut-out victory since November, 2008 when the Griz blanked Hanover 34-0 to wrap up the regular season.