/seasons/2018/contrib/20181013bwh2oq

Leonard Moves Past Faught, Grizzlies Tame Lions in Battle of HCAC Unbeatens

More news about: Franklin

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Supremacy in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) was at stake on Saturday afternoon, when the Franklin College football team headed east to take on the Mount St. Joseph Lions in a meeting between two of the final three unbeaten teams in conference play.

With the offense struggling to get going early on the Franklin (5-1, 4-0 HCAC) defense picked up the slack and held the high-powered Lions (5-2, 4-1 HCAC) offense without an offensive touchdown in the opening half. The Grizzly offense came out swinging in the second half, finding the end zone on their first four drives of the second half to pull away with a 42-34 win.

With his 121st career victory on Saturday, Franklin head coach Mike Leonard moved past legendary head coach Stewart "Red" Faught for the most career wins by anyone patrolling the Franklin sidelines. Following the win, the man in his 16th season on the Franklin sideline was humbled by the outpouring of support from fans and former players alike. 

"It blows you away when you're on the way home and you're getting so much response from so many people that have been with you along the way," Leonard said after the game. "I'm just thankful for everyone that has surrounded our program over the years, especially the players that have done the trench work for the love of the game. This is a player's game and I've just been lucky enough to hang around and have fun with everyone along the way."

In a meeting of two of the top offenses in the country, early on it was the defenses that took center stage with the first big play of the game coming on a Lions' pick-six less than five minutes into the contest. Franklin went without a score in the opening quarter but got back to even 42 seconds into the second when Jacob Earl trounced in from 12 yards out.

The Lions' offense began to move the ball on the ensuing drive, but a 15-play drive netted only a field goal as the Grizzlies' defense held the Lions inside the 10-yard line. The Grizzly offense fed off the stop and rattled off an 11-play drive of their own that culminated in a one-yard sneak from Braden Smith that made it 14-10 late in the opening half.

The Mount looked to answer before the first half wrapped up, but their drive ended on Austin Fleming's first career interception with 32 seconds left in the half, preserving the Franklin lead as the teams headed into the break.

 "There was a lot of positivity at the half because we knew we could crank it up on offense in the second half," Leonard added. "We knew we were going to pull it off, but we knew it wouldn't be easy. Our defense prepared all week and executed all afternoon and they allowed us to keep the lead in an important spot."

The Lions re-claimed the lead on the opening drive of the second half but it didn't last long as Franklin countered with an eight play drive, aided by a Mount personal foul penalty on third-and-29 that kept the drive alive, with Smith hitting Ben Fleet from 12 yards out for a 21-17 lead.

The game's turning point happened over a two-play stretch that began on the very next drive. With the Lions facing third down near midfield, junior Bryce Hale sacked quarterback Chaiten Tomlin and forced a fumble that was scooped up by Tyler Reed. One play later, Smith connected with Brad Bonomini on a 46-yard scoring pass, making it a 28-17 game.

"The spark we got midway in the third quarter was exactly what we needed," Leonard noted. "Braden made a great throw and Brad made a great grab in a spot where our defense got things started."

Another Lion field goal late in the third brought them within a score, but a long kick return from Ryan Poole set up a short field and a five-play, 56-yard drive that ended on a five-yard strike from Smith to Fleet. Smith put the finishing touches on the win with an 18-yard touchdown run with 5:40 left in the game, and the Grizzly ground game was able to bleed the clock and close out the win from there.

Earl was a force on the ground for the Grizzlies, carrying the ball a career-high 30 times for 186 yards and a score, eclipsing his previous career-high in rushing yards. Smith was an efficient 19-for-27 for 257 yards and three scores, connecting with Bonomini seven times for a game-high 113 yards.

Defensively, Fleming racked up a season-high 14 tackles to go with his first career pick. Wyatt Carmack set a career-high with seven stops while Bryce Hale's 1.5 sacks were tops among all players. The Grizzlies held the Lions to 360 yards of offense, 140 yards below their season average.

Franklin returns to action next Saturday (Oct. 20), when they welcome Earlham College to town for Samaritan's Feet Day at Faught Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.

Sep. 5: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Capital at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Randolph-Macon
Live stats
7:00 PM
Buena Vista at Hamline
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
McMurry at Trinity (Texas)
Video
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Live stats
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Nichols at Dean
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Stevenson at Curry
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Worcester State at WPI
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Kean
7:00 PM
Alvernia at Gallaudet
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Becker
Live stats
7:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Hope at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio
10:00 PM
Chapman at Pacific
Sep. 7: All times Eastern
TBA
St. Lawrence at Utica
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
Norwich at Salve Regina
Live stats
12:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Merchant Marine
Live stats
12:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at MIT
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Wesley at Franklin Pierce
Live stats Tickets
12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
12:00 PM
TCNJ at Muhlenberg
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Allegheny at RPI
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Morrisville State at Bridgewater State
Live stats
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Cortland
Live stats
12:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
Greensboro at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Western Connecticut at William Paterson
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Catholic
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Hartwick
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Southern Virginia
Live stats
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Oberlin
1:00 PM
Bluffton at Wooster
Live stats
1:00 PM
Methodist at Shenandoah
Live stats
1:00 PM
Dickinson at Washington and Lee
Video
1:00 PM
Averett at Hampden-Sydney
Live stats
1:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Emory and Henry
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Alma
Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Ithaca at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Alfred at Thiel
1:00 PM
Westfield State at Union
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Misericordia at McDaniel
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at University of New England
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Mayville St. at St. Scholastica
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
Live stats
1:30 PM
Geneva at Mount St. Joseph
Live stats
1:30 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
UW-Stevens Point at John Carroll
2:00 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live stats
2:00 PM
Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Simpson at Bethel
2:00 PM
Coe at Augustana
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at UW-Platteville
Live stats
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Sewanee
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Greenville
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
Live stats
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Crown at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at UW-La Crosse
2:00 PM
St. John's at UW-Stout
Audio
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Ripon
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Austin
Live stats
2:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Monmouth
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Central
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Aurora
2:00 PM
Carthage at UW-Oshkosh
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Nebraska Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Luther at Whittier
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Whitworth at La Verne
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Lewis-Clark Valley
2:10 PM
Trinity International at St. Thomas
2:10 PM
Loras at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Dubuque at UW-Whitewater
3:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
Video
3:00 PM
Redlands at George Fox
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
North Park at Anderson
6:00 PM
Heidelberg at Adrian
Live stats
6:00 PM
Defiance at Albion
Live stats
6:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
6:00 PM
Moravian at King's
6:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
Live stats
6:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Beloit
7:00 PM
Marietta at Hiram
7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Rochester
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Denison
Video Live stats Live stats
7:00 PM
Mount Union at Rose-Hulman
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Olivet at Wilmington
Live stats
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Live stats
7:00 PM
Franklin at Benedictine
Live stats
7:00 PM
Washington U. at Chicago
Video Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
7:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
7:00 PM
Louisiana College at Stetson
7:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Minnesota-Morris
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Sul Ross State
7:00 PM
Rhodes at Illinois College
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell

D3football.com Top 25, preseason

The D3football.com Top 25, entering the 2019 season. This is the 17th season of the D3football.com Top 25.

Rank School (No. 1 votes) W-L Points  

D3football.com will 
rank all 247 teams
in Kickoff 2019!
Subscribe now!

1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

The D3football.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly. Points are awarded on a 25-24-23-22-etc. basis.