With a goal line stand in the last minute that thwarted what would have been a winning two-point conversion, Franklin County edged Wewahitchka 7-6 Friday night in Liberty County for a pre-season victory in the season opening jamboree.
The Seahawks played one quarter against the Gators in the seven-school jamboree, which featured Class 4A North Bay Haven, and five other schools, all Class 1A members of the newly formed Apalachicola River Valley Conference.
The Hawks struck first, with 10:04 left to play, when junior Ethan Riley swept right from 16 yards out for the touchdown. The extra point was good and Franklin County led 7-0.
On the subsequent drive, junior Rufus Townsend jumped on a fumble at the Wewa 26, but the Hawks couldn’t score.
With 4:26 left, and facing a third-and-long, Gator quarterback Shannon Jones hit Jacoby Jones on a 26-yard pass for the first down.
Then with 55 seconds left, the Gator quarterback snuck it in for a touchdown from the 1.
The Gators went for the two-point conversion but the Hawks stopped Shannon Jones well short of the goal line and held on for the 7-6 victory.
In their quarter of play, North Bay Haven was held scoreless by Cottondale, which won 6-0. Lighthouse Christian out of Pensacola opened by blanking host Liberty County 8-0. Sneads closed with a 13-0 win over Liberty County in the final quarter.
“I was happy with the win,” said coach Tony Yeomans. “We didn’t play very well. We made a lot of mistakes but they can be expected.
“Some of the kids, it was the first time they’ve ever started. They performed average,” he said. “We missed a couple of assignments, some wrong blocking assignments.”
Yeomans had particular play for junior linebacker Rufus Townsend “He was all over the field on defense,” and for sophomore nose guard Nick Hutchins, who “dominated as a nose guard should.”
As it stands now on offense, senior Kobe Myers is at left guard, junior Cameron Wynn at left tackle, senior Jesse Page at right guard, senior Ethan Moses at center, junior Tonnor Segree at right tackle, senior Landen Abel at quarterback, senior Jack Harris, junior Ethan Riley and freshman Lamarius Martin in the backfield, and senior Dalin Sheridan and junior Colton Evans as the wide receivers.
Junior Abner Ramirez, playing in his first football game, nailed the game-winning extra point. “He works every day,” said Yeomans. “I was so happy that was the game winner. He’s kicking it right in the area we want it. He’ll be able to kick field goals for us.
Defensively, in addition to Townsend and Hutchins, it’s Page and junior Micah McLeod at tackles, Sheridan and Segree at ends, Townsend, Evans and junior Bailey Segree at linebacker, Harris and sophomore Alex Hardy at cornerbacks, and sophomore Warren Kilpatrick at free safety.
“We’re going to take one game at a time,” said Yeoamns.
The Hawks have their home opener Friday night against FAMU High, which did not play last week. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. We we have to play well to win,” said the coach.
“The kids are excited, the community is excited,” said Yeomans. “I hope the county packs for the stands for these kids.
“We’re going to hit them in the mouth and we’ll see how they respond,” said Yeomans. “FAMU is going to know they’ve come out here to get hit. That’s what I want our kids to be known for.”