On n a windy Friday night, East Jefferson found plenty of ways to lose to Franklinton.
Be it a missed tackle, missed field goal, ill-timed penalty or muffed punt, the Warriors exited Joe Yenni Stadium with nobody to blame but themselves following a 35-19 loss.
Renaz Wilson took advantage for Franklinton, rushing 21 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns and helping the Demons score the final three touchdowns of the game.
Now, instead of East Jefferson defending its District 8-4A title — Franklinton is the new champion — the Warriors (5-4, 3-1) will enter the final week of the regular season with their postseason hopes at stake versus Lakeshore.
“You can’t make this many mistakes and win in football,” said first-year East Jefferson coach Marc Martin, a veteran assistant on last season’s Class 4A championship team. “We shot ourselves in the foot several times.”
More like stepped on their own feet.
Franklinton improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in district.
East Jefferson started fast, scoring on its first play from scrimmage — a 56-yard run by Kalib Brown.
Brown then watched Franklinton end its ensuing possession with botched punt deep in its own territory. East Jefferson took over at the Franklinton 8. Two penalties and four plays later, Jose Espinoza missed a 33-yard field goal.
Franklinton’s next series was poised to end with a punt, but the Warriors were penalized for roughing the kicker. On the next play, Wilson scored from 21 yards, adding a two-point conversion on the ground.
East Jefferson took over, reaching the Franklinton 15 when a Ronte Ladmirault fumble was recovered by Josh Magee who returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
Ladmirault tried to amend his miscue midway through the third quarter. He scored from 2 yards out, followed by Jarius Bryant’s 6-yard run, giving the Warriors a 19-15 lead.
Just as fast, the Demons countered with a kickoff return to the East Jefferson 11. Four plays later, quarterback Michael Wilson scored from a yard out.
East Jefferson’s ensuing kickoff ended with Leonard Lebranch’s mishandling the ball, leading to a turnover. Franklin capitalized with a nine-play drive capped by Wilson’s second score, this time from 7 yards as Franklinton led 28-19.
Wilson added a final score with 2:52 left.
“We made too many mental mistakes,” said Ladmirault, who rushed for 55 yards and scored once. “Too many on defense and the kicking game. I think we work hard, but we need to get back in the weight room, work together. This game, this is going to get us together.”
Hopefully we can win next week and get ready for the playoffs.”
Brown led East Jefferson’s offense with 93 rushing yards.