By KEVIN WARNER
The Franklin Road Academy Panthers took home a TSSAA State Championship back in 1991, and had its best season in school history under Head Coach Bill Whittemore.
Last year Whittemore guided the Panthers their first perfect regular-season record (10-0) before the team fell in the second round of the Division II playoffs. The former Kansas University, Brentwood High quarterback and Mr. Football winner took over in 2012, and had a 26-14 record coming in to this season.
Under Whittemore, the Panthers reached the playoffs each of his first four seasons.
Tennessee Prep Football Database shows FRA boasts an impressive 229 -155 regular-record and a 28-23 record in the postseason since 1977. The Team’s lone state title came in 1991 in a 27-8 victory over Peabody for the Division II-Large title.
FRA may only have one recent alum go to an Football Bowl Subdivision school, class of 2006 University of Kentucky signee Stephen Ball, but they claim a number of Tennessee Sportswriters Association All-State performers.
Twelve Panther players earned the honor over the years, including, four from last year’s team. Defensive back Larry Wilhoite, Linebacker Spence Jones, Athlete Sam Harvin and offensive lineman Ben Jackson each received the honor.
Last year’s success failed to carry over into this season. They have just one win, a 34-7 victory over Ezell-Harding Christian School on Sept.30.
FRA fielded a young team in 2016 MaxPreps puts the Panther roster at just 49 players. The juniors and seniors made up just 16 of those spots.
Despite their youth, if past success proves anything, FRA could develop into a strong squad very shortly.
The young Panthers finish the season Friday, when they host Battleground Academy on Friday at 7 p.m.
For more on FRA, check out our Football Focus page on the Panthers.