Franklin ends South's season in OT thriller

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By Brad Stephens

CRESTWOOD – Friday night's result between South Oldham and Franklin County wasn't reflective of the teams on the field, according to South coach Jamie Reed.

“The better team didn't win tonight” Reed said. “That's for certain.'

But it was a combination of Dragon errors and a monster performance by Franklin County's Chris Roberts that led to a 27-21 overtime Flyers win Friday at Dragon Stadium in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

South (8-4) had every chance to win the game, but was its own worst enemy.

The Dragons lost a fumble, threw two interceptions, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs twice inside the Franklin County (11-1) 10-yard line.

"Tonight we had some mistakes that we usually don't have and it just wasn't our night," senior quarterback Chase Lightfoot said. "We could've won the ball game, and we let it slip away."

Meanwhile the Dragon defense didn't have an answer for Roberts, the Flyers' powerful running back. The Franklin County senior carried the ball 20 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.

With the game tied 21-21, South had the first crack at the end zone in overtime. A three-yard TiCorion Williams run, two-yard Kevin Kuriger run and one-yard Lightfoot scramble set up 4th-and-goal at the four-yard line.

Lightfoot threw a pass to Jon Jones on an inside curl route, but the ball was just out of Jones' reach, resulting in a turnover on downs.

"We just had a miscue, I guess," Lightfoot said. "I was expecting him to sit a little earlier than what he did."

The Flyers needed just two plays to score the winning touchdown. Roberts ran for eight yards on first down, then plowed up the middle for the remaining two yards and into the end zone on his next carry.

The loss ended a South season that saw the Dragons go 8-4 and win an outright district title for the first time.

"We had a great season this year," Lightfoot said. "We did things people never thought we'd do and we just gave it our best shot and came up a little short."

Roberts got the scoring started Friday, running down the right sideline 46 yards for a touchdown on Franklin County's first drive of the game.

South missed a couple of first half chances. Dragon kicker Drew Koch missed a 35 yard field goal on one drive, and Lightfoot was sacked on 4th and goal on another.

The Dragons got on the board midway through the second quarter when Jon Jones hauled in a 22-yard TD pass to tie the game at 7-7.

But the Flyers answered quickly, with Lorenzo McCaskell running in from 15 yards to put Franklin County back up, 14-7.

South took back some momentum on the second half's opening kickoff, bouncing the kick off Franklin County's second line, where the Dragons' Stuart Gray ran down and recovered the live ball.

Four plays later Williams took a sweep 26 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 early in the third quarter.

South had the chance to take its first lead later in the quarter, but Lightfoot fumbled inside the Flyers' five-yard line, ending that threat. The Dragons finally broke through on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Jones took a tunnel screen 31 yards for a touchdown on a 4th and 9.

Franklin County tied the game back on its next possession thanks to a 44 yard touchdown run by Roberts.

Thee fourth quarter South drives ended on a punt and two Lightfoot interceptions, setting up the overtime.

The Dragons completed just 10-of-26 passes Friday. Star receiver Davis Culbertson, who broke a bone in his hand last week against West Jessamine, played primarily on defense.

Jones, who caught two touchdown passes, Matthew Hamilton and Ethan Reinert picked up most of the wide receiving duties in Culbertson's absence.

"Let's face it, we ran a single receiver offense this year," Reed said. "The timing that you've acquired over 13 weeks is all shot to heck when you get injured like that in the first week of the playoffs."

The Dragons out-gained the Flyers 427-343 Friday night, while gianing 26 first downs to Franklin County's 14. South also ran for 275 yards.

But despite all those stats, the Dragons just couldn't finish the deal Friday.

"It was an odd night," Reed said. "They didn't really stop us. We stopped ourselves at some really bad times."