FRANKLIN — Rust won’t be an issue for the King Philip football team when it plays in the Division 2 Super Bowl vs. North Andover at Gillette Stadium Nov. 30.
The Warriors, starters and all, had to play a full 44 minutes against a plucky Franklin team to eke out at 23-16 win Thursday morning at Pisani Field.
“We certainly knew how well Franklin had been playing,” King Philip coach Brian Lee said. “It wasn’t like we thought we could come over here and play a quarter and rest some guys.
“We decided we wanted to play to win, and that’s what you’re supposed to do on Thanksgiving. Especially when we didn’t play last Friday. We needed to play.”
In the 58th meeting between the teams on Thanksgiving, the Warriors (9-2) rode junior Ryan Halliday on offense to the tune of 185 yards on 35 carries. He had a 20-yard rushing touchdown on King Philip’s second play from scrimmage to open the scoring and added a 14-yard score after Sam Callanan forced and recovered a Franklin fumble with 9:34 to go in the fourth quarter.
Callanan was named the Player of the Game for the Warriors. The junior had an interception on the first possession of the game as well.
Callanan added a half-sack with Tyler Nault, and Terrell Jacobs-Baston and Shawn Conniff also had sacks for King Philip.
“We need to pull another rabbit out of our hat next week,” Lee said when asked about King Philip’s penchant for stymieing opposing offenses.
Ryan Driscoll had a blocked punt and a 15-yard receiving touchdown from Nick Gordon for Franklin (7-4). Owen Palmieri caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on the Panthers’ first play after Halliday made it 23-9.
Franklin had two more possessions after Palmieri’s score, but came up short each time. Timmy Nault broke up a pass on fourth and 10 for the Panthers with 1:25 to go, enabling the Warriors to run out the clock.
Jake Levin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.