Franklin used a big-play passing attack to defeat the Eagles tonight in the first home game of the season for Smyrna
The Smyrna High School football team dropped to 0-2 after a 38-28 loss to Franklin, Maryland tonight in the Eagles' home opener at Charles V. Williams Stadium.
Smyrna scored first on Will Knight's one-yard run with 6:58 left in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 19-yard pass from Isaiah Wilson to a diving Marcus Vass. Knight also ran for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Franklin answered quickly with a 72-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver with 6:05 left in the first quarter. The extra-point kick was good, but Smyrna still led 8-7.
The Eagles' offense couldn't make a first down on their next possession, but Anthony Buscemi boomed a 58-yard punt to pin Franklin on its own six-yard line.
Smyrna's defense held strong, and Diron Accoo made a big sack on third-and-11 to force Franklin to punt.
The teams traded possessions with neither offense scoring, and Franklin losing a fumble.
The quarter ended with Smyrna up 8-7.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle, and Smyrna lost the ball on a fumble.
Then with 1:16 left in the half, Franklin connected on another big pass play for a 37-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick was good, and Franklin held onto the 14-8 advantage at the half.
To start the third quarter, Smyrna tried an onside kick, but Franklin recovered at their own 49. On third-and-seven, Franklin broke off a long run. But when Smyrna brought down the runner, he fumbled and the Eagles recovered at their own four-yard line.
After a Smyrna punt, Franklin started a drive deep into Smyrna territory but it ended with a failed field goal attempt.
The Eagles were forced to punt again, and Franklin started another drive with 3:38 left in the third quarter and prepared for another field goal attempt as time ran out in the period.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a successful 21-yard field goal and a 17-8 lead for Franklin.
After Smyrna's kickoff return, on the offense's first play from scrimmage, Knight broke through the defense and sprinted 73 yards for a touchdown with 11:36 left in the game. The two-point conversion was stopped, so Smyrna trailed by three, 17-14.
Franklin responded seconds later with a 58-yard touchdown pass and extra-point kick for a 24-14 lead with 11:08 to play.
Then Franklin forced a punt and blocked the punt, taking over at Smyrna's 41 with 9:41 left in the game.
Franklin drove down and scored on a five-yard run for a 31-14 lead with 7:10 to play.
Smyrna struck back, when Keshaun Tolbert took the kickoff at the 25-yard line and raced 75 yards to the end zone to make the score 31-20. Smyrna's two-point conversion was good, but a penalty on the Eagles forced them to try again. This time, Franklin held -- and held onto its 31-20 advantage.
Smyrna's defense came up big, tackling Franklin runners for losses on the first two plays of the series and then sacking the quarterback to force a punt.
But Franklin's defense held the Eagles on three downs and then sacked Wilson on fourth down with 3:41 to play.
Then Franklin's offense struck again with a 36-yard touchdown pass and a 38-20 lead after the extra-point kick with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Knight was hurt on Smyrna's next possession while being tackled after catching a pass and running for a big gain. He was down on the field for a few minutes while being attended to by medical personnel. He walked off the field without assistance and was back in the lineup a few plays later.
Smyrna kept trying, and Wilson passed to Makhi Jackson who ran to the Franklin nine-yard line.
On third down from the two, Knight scored again for the Eagles with 27 seconds to play, and the two-point conversion run by Stephen Whaley was good for the final 38-28 score.
NEXT GAME: The Eagles host Irvington High School from New Jersey Friday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m., in the "Be Bold, Go Gold" game to raise awareness about childhood cancer, with a special pre-game tribute to students who have been fighting cancer.