FRANKLIN, Ind. (Oct. 1) – The Grizzlies jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but had hold off a rally by Mount St. Joseph in their 35-23 football victory at Faught Stadium today.
Franklin College improved to 3-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and 4-1 overall while the Lions dropped to 2-1 in the league and 3-1.
The Franklin-Mount St. Joseph clash has been a pivotal one for the previous seven years. The winner went on to claim the HCAC title outright.
Sophomore quarterback Jonny West bounced back from taking a hard hit on a running play to throw three touchdown passes.
His first was a 9-yard strike in the first quarter to sophomore split end Kyle Linville after just returning to the lineup. The other two were tossed to senior wingback Logan Worley on a 3-yard play in the second period and on a 20-yard score in the third quarter.
After Worley scored his first TD, the Grizzlies went up 21-0 when sophomore linebacker Sanchez Tate returned an interception thrown by Lions quarterback Brian Pitzer 41 yards into the end zone.
The Lions, however, got on the scoreboard before the intermission when Pitzer hit Rob Blundred on a 14-yard scoring pass with 3:47 to go in thes second period.
Mount St. Joseph got a 26-yard field goal from Dan Dripps before Worley made his second TD reception.
In the fourth quarter, Pitzer hit Dan Wood on a 7-yard scoring pass play to pull the Lions within 11 points at 28-17. Sophomore running back Ethan Cook bulled in from one yard out to put FC up 35-17.
Pitzer then connected with Sean Keller on a 36-yard TD strike, but Franklin fended off the visitors' bid for a two-point conversion.
The Grizzlies prevailed despite committing four turnovers and in spite of being outgained in total offensive yards 432 to 288.
West completed 23 of 38 passes for 270 yards and three TDs. Worley had seven catches for 78 yards and two scores. FC was held to just 12 net yards of rushing.
For Mount St. Joseph, Pitzer completed 17 of 36 passes for 211 yards and three scores, but threw three interceptions. Pitzer also was the Lions' leading ground gainer, rushing for 93 net yards on 20 carries.