Big Walnut came oh-so-close to upsetting undefeated Franklin Heights on the Golden Falcons’ home turf Friday night, Oct. 7, before falling 35-28.
The Golden Eagles came out fired up, with running back Evan Garcia scoring on a three-yard dash with just over 7 minutes in the first quarter. Franklin Heights matched them on the next drive, as quarterback Dylan Akers found wide receiver Adjrain Settler for a 16-yard touchdown catch a minute later. After Jeromy Romans II’s extra point, it was 7-7.
Garcia punched it in again on a five-yard run about three minutes into the second quarter, putting Big Walnut up 14-7. The tandem of Akers and Settler matched them, with a pretty screen pass that went 44 yards for the score. With 8 minutes in the half, it was knotted at 14.
On a fourth down run, David Hunt busted into the end zone on a 23-yard scamper to put Big Walnut back up 21-14 with just under 4 minutes in the half. Franklin Heights drove the ball on the ensuing possession, but defensive back Jackson Seiple intercepted Akers in the end zone to preserve the lead for the Eagles going into the half.
With under a minute in the third, Big Walnut turned back another Franklin Heights drive, falling on a fumble at their own two-yard line. Garcia scored from 39 yards out on a great burst up the middle. Upset alert — Big Walnut 28, Franklin Heights 14.
The dual-threat of Hunt (187 yards on 23 carries) and Garcia (138 yards on 18 carries) were hard to bring down, dragging defenders with them, to the delight of the outnumbered visiting crowd. Special mention goes to defensive lineman Eli Myers. The sophomore had two quarterback sacks, 5 solo tackles, and assisted on 5 more tackles.
Unfortunately, Franklin Heights got their composure back and the lead could not be held. On a fourth-down play, Akers completed a pass to James Morgan, who ran 60 yards for the touchdown, zig-zagging his way around the Eagles defense. The lead was 28-21 with 10 minutes left. Big Walnut fumbled on the kickoff return, and Akers immediately cashed in again with Morgan on a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 8 minutes in regulation.
Falcons running back Branden Knox (188 yards on 26 attempts) put Franklin Heights up for good on a 37-yard score with 4 minutes to go. Big Walnut was stopped on the next possession, and opted to punt. The Falcons ran the clock out to barely stay golden by a final score of 35-28.