WRENTHAM — Eian Bain knew that to win the game, Franklin was going to have to go for 2. When the seventh-year coach saw that senior receiver Luke Davis had single coverage, he knew his quarterback would be on the same page.
Senior Jase Lyons found the player he’d been playing with since Pop Warner, and with 2:40 left in the game, Franklin took a 29-28 lead and held on for the win over Division 2 Super Bowl-bound King Philip. That made it back-to-back Thanksgiving victories and Hockomock titles for the Panthers (7-3, 4-1).
“It’s huge,” Bain said. “I told the kids before the game: We’re four quarters away from immortality. We haven’t had back-to-back wins on Thanksgiving in a while, we haven’t had back-to-back Hock titles in a really long while.”
Davis (8 receptions, 161 yards, 3 TDs) was a star, catching his first touchdown pass on the third play of the game, getting through the secondary for 68 yards. He added a 13-yard score with 46 seconds to go in the first half and a 19-yarder toward the end of the third quarter.
“Having Luke out there makes it less stressful for me,” said Lyons (18 of 22, 216 yards, 3 TDs). “Always open, getting the ball to him. We’ve been working since day one; he’s always been playing with me. That connection is always strong.”
Senior Will Astorino (111 yards on 14 rushing attempts) was a force for King Philip (9-2, 3-2), scoring all four touchdowns. He rumbled for scores from 3, 12, and 3 yards before adding a 28-yard reception to put his team ahead, 28-14.
After Franklin junior Michael Davide took the ball in from a yard, Bain said the decision to go for 2 was clear.
“Scared money don’t make no money,” Bain said. “You get to this point in the season, the game that Luke had, the game Jase had … and we had timeouts to take, too, but I wanted them to feel the pressure. I didn’t even hesitate. That play was called a month ago.”
Davis found space running an out route, and Lyons made the quick pass.
“It was a blur of emotions,” Davis said. “Me and Jase have a great connection; he’s one of my best friends.”
Added Lyons, “That was crazy to see. Everybody erupted and went crazy. It was a nuts play. It made me really proud of our team.”
Bain was confident in his defense, and it came through with a stop near midfield to take over on downs with 42 seconds to go.
“It’s wicked special,” said Davis. “We have all the alumni here, all the people who built it up. Growing up with this group of guys and getting this win, it’s incredible.”
AJ Traub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.