It was a fast start and a tense finish, but Benjamin Franklin did enough to get the win Thursday —if only barely.
Ben Franklin rushed for 180 yards, while its defense forced two turnovers — including one for a score — as the Falcons held off a Haynes Academy comeback to win 17-14 Thursday afternoon at Pan American Stadium.
The victory meant Ben Franklin is 3-0 for the first time since 2012. The victory also matches last year’s win total.
“It feels good,” Ben Franklin coach Walter Scott said. “Hopefully we can get on a roll and keep it going.
“We said during the summer that we don’t have a lot of guys. We only dressed out 25 or so today. I told them if we can get 15 good football players we’ll be OK. If we get 20 football players, we’ll be pretty decent; and if we get 25, we’ll be good, so we’ll see.”
Haynes (0-2) led after its first possession and brought the game down to the wire. The Yellow Jackets had one last chance from the Falcons 18-yard line with three seconds left , but backup quarterback Josh Farley’s pass fell incomplete as time expired.
“We’re playing much better ball this year,” Haynes coach Paul Longo said. “We’ve really grown a lot in a year. Now we just need to learn how to finish.”
Haynes capitalized on an unintentional short opening kickoff that went to Ben Franklin’s 33, where the Yellow Jackets pounced on the live ball. Six plays later, quarterback Zach Bott ran it in from 2 yards out to put Haynes up 7-0.
Franklin marched down the field after that before being stopped on a third-down run. The Falcons settled for a 28-yard field goal by Kristen Brown.
Ben Franklin got things going on its next possession. On its second play, Jordan Tate reeled off a 53-yard touchdown run to put the Franklin ahead 10-7.
Haynes responded when Jacob Meileur took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards untouched for the score, moving Haynes ahead 14-10.
Later in the second quarter, Ben Franklin was marching when Meileur picked off quarterback Patrick Daly’s pass to give the ball back to Haynes.
The Yellow Jackets moved to the Falcons 2-yard line, but running back Gavin Burns’ fumble was recovered by Isiah Travis, who ran it back 98 yards for the go-ahead score.
The second half was a scoreless affair, but that didn’t stop the excitement as Haynes got the ball on Ben Franklin’s 45.
Haynes drove to the Falcons’ 8-yard line before consecutive false start penalties pushed them to the 18 where the game ended on the incompletion and gave Ben Franklin the win.