FRANKLIN, Ind. – A pair of second quarter touchdowns by a new-look Yellow Jacket offense drew Defiance to within 21-14 of Franklin on Saturday, but the Grizzlies added a field goal before the half and poured it on for 28 unanswered points in the second half of a 52-14 road defeat for DC.
Aaron Spence provided a temporary spark for the Jacket lineup in his first collegiate start at quarterback, ending the afternoon with 107 yards and two scores on the ground to go with 122 passing yards.
The sophomore signal caller carried the ball three times for 22 yards and capped a 58-yard scoring march for Defiance with a two-yard dive that cut the early Franklin advantage to 14-7 with 14:16 remaining in the second period.
Spence then sandwiched a completion to Brian Mircovich with a pair of connections with Aaron Choice to ignite another scoring drive later in the quarter. After a pair of incompletions, Spence hooked up with Jon Carrabino for 12 yards and took it himself for a nine-yard rush into the end zone one play later.
The score brought the Jackets within a single score once again, at 21-14, with only 47 seconds left in the half, but the home squad was able to salvage momentum by going 52 yards in 38 seconds and hitting a 30-yard field goal to take a 24-14 cushion into the break.
It would be all Franklin after that, as the Grizzlies found the end zone three times in the third quarter to blow open a 45-14 gap. FC tacked on a fourth-quarter touchdown to end the 52-14 victory with 31-straight points over the final 30:47 of play.
DC's offense continued its progression, by racking up 385 total yards with a season-high 199 on the ground and controlling the ball for 36:01 minutes to FC's 23:59. Spence led the way by carrying the ball 19 times for 107 yards and two scores. Rick Powell also ran it well, averaging 7.6 yards per rush in five tries and Jerry Blount netted 5.2 yards per attempt in limited duty.
Spence also completed 15 passes for 122 yards, finding Mircovich four times for 44 yards and hitting Andy Cessna, Nick Wiedenhoft and Choice a trio of times each.
Eric Rubio highlighted the defense with 11 solo tackles and three hits for negative yardage, while Hunter Robertson added six stops and Joemese Scott had one sack and four solo tackles in the losing effort.
Defiance (0-4, 0-2 HCAC) will get a bye next week, before facing another road challenge. The Jackets will head to Mount St. Joseph (3-0, 2-0 HCAC) for a 1:30 pm start on October 8.