Franklin County was able to move the ball Friday night at Wewahitchka, but too many turnovers and the blazing speed of the Gators quarterback proved too much for the Seahawks.
The Gators (1-4) rushed for more than 250 yards and dominated the winless Seahawks in a 40-14 contest decided by halftime. But the Seahawks managed 247 yards on the ground, and threw for 71 more to keep pace.
“We had critical turnovers at critical points in the game,” said coach Aaron York. “We had a very good first quarter. I thought all the coaches did well with time management. We did a real good job of running the ball.”
Wewa’s Jonathan Palmer rushed for 45 yards in the first quarter to stake the Gators to an early 6-0 lead.
Wewahitchka had the ball for only seven offensive plays in the opening half, but the lead bulged in the second period as Javar Hill scored on a runs of 15 and 25 yards and Willie Hill put the icing on the first-half cake by scooping up a fumble at the Seahawks 35 and running in for the touchdown.
After posting a 26-0 halftime lead, Wewa quarterback Rashard Ranie, who rushed for 111 yards, continued the onslaught when he dashed 54 yards for a third-quarter touchdown and Shannon Jones, getting some varsity playing time, covered 16 yards on the ground for the Gators’ final score.
“Defensively we did not contain very well at all. Rashard Ranie hit the sideline on us three times and it was a foot race and we couldn’t catch him,” said York.
The Seahawks managed to make it a game in the third quarter with two TDs, as sophomore fullback Trenton Lee scored on a 7-yard run, and senior quarterback Logan McLeod on a 4-yard run, to make it 33-14. Sophomore Walker DeVaughn kicked both extra points.
Lee was the game’s leading rusher with 25 carries for 116 yards. Junior Cole Wheeler tallied 15 rushes for 85 yards, while McLeod was 4-for-11 from the air, with three interceptions. He also had one interception as a defensive back.
“One thing I was very happy about we did a very good job with special teams. We ran for over 120 yards on kickoff returns,” said York.
Senior Alex Causey had four returns for 72 yards, while Wheeler had three returns for 50 yards.
“We look back between the last time we played Wewa in August and we’ve made tremendous strides. We judge each week if we got better or not and this ought to tell you we’re getting better,” he said.
The team travels to Port St. Joe Friday to take on their rivals to the west.
“My guys will be ready,” said York. “The kids are practicing hard every day. There’s no quit in these kids. It’s every day that they come out. They’re working hard in the weight room. We have 23 kids out there; I couldn’t ask for a better group.”