Extreme Escape Games Game of the Week
By CAMDEN JOINER
The Franklin Rebels (7-2, 5-1) and Mt. Juliet Golden Bears (7-2, 5-1) needed more than four quarters to determine who would walk away with first place in Region 3-6A.
Mt. Juliet scored a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime, and the Rebels were unable to answer, giving the Golden Bears a 42-35 victory.
“Just a great high school football game,” Franklin head coach Donnie Webb stated. “I wish I would’ve bought a ticket and got to watch instead of being down here in it. It was a fun football game. We had so many guys on our football team who made plays tonight, they just made one more.”
The Golden Bears maintained a one-score lead for much of the game, as Mt. Juliet’s run defense refused to let talented running back Mitch Rossi get past the linebackers.
But quarterback Carter Hendry finally gave the Rebels a momentum-swinging play on an 80-yard rushing touchdown late in the third.
Hendry scored his second rushing touchdown on a read-option, giving the Rebels a 28-27 lead with 5:12 remaining in the game.
Carter Hendry threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 132 yards and two scores.
“It was a big game for Carter,” Webb said. “He’s electrifying sometimes. There were a couple of times we were about to get behind, but he popped off some long runs.”
The Golden Bears fumbled on their following possession, and Franklin quickly answered with a touchdown pass from Wes Patterson to JP Batarseh to increase their lead to 35-27.
Batarseh finished with two touchdowns receptions, and Alex Gaca added another.
Mt. Juliet’s two-minute drill led them into the red zone, and quarterback Mason Earls ran in a touchdown on a keeper with :54 remaining in the game. The Golden Bears converted the 2-point attempt on a reverse pass, leading to overtime.
Special teams proved to be the real difference maker for Mt. Juliet. Jacob Bailey converted both of his field goal attempts, including one from 49 yards. The Golden Bears’ first score came after a shanked punt from Franklin, giving their offense the ball at the Rebels’ 30-yard line.
Kick returner Aidan Raines returned four kickoffs for 99 yards, while all but one of Mt. Juliet’s kickoffs went into the end zone for a touchback.
Mt. Juliet takes first place in the region with the win, while Franklin falls to second. The Rebels can jump back into first with a win against Lebanon a loss by Mt. Juliet at McGavock.