On Friday night, the Seahawks did something they rarely, if ever, do. They got the season started with a home opener win.
After giving the Bell Bulldogs the opening touchdown early in the first quarter, Franklin County came back with three unanswered scores, and a 19-6 victory that brought a smile to the face of first-year head coach Josh Palmer.
"We got a lot of work to do, we're going to enjoy this one tonight," he said after the game.
With 4:38 left in the first, Bulldog senior Trevor Pittman ran it in from about 30 yards out and Bell led 6-0.
"We really had a slow start," Palmer said. "The defense was really saving the offense. We have a lot of kinks to work out with the offensive line, but when it comes down to it, those guys really like to battle. They go out there and dominate."
The score unchanged by halftime, sophomore Carter Kembro snatched a 21-yard pass from junior quarterback Lamarius Martin in the third quarter, and junior Kelson Smith nailed the extra point, for a 7-6 lead.
In the fourth quarter Martin lofted a 27-yard pass to junior Eden Brathwaite in the end zone, and the Seahawks led 13-6.
"I think we got helped with the defensive pass interference calls (against Brathwaite)," said the coach. "The only way to slow him down is to hold him. When he does break free, he has to catch more of those balls and these games will be out of hand."
On a punt return in the fourth quarter, Brathwaite, a newcomer to varsity football, tried to field the ball, and then inadvertently touching it as he chased it down, with a Bulldog alertly pouncing on it.
But the Seahawk defense held firm with a goal line stand from the 1 yard line, stifling Bell’s ability to capitalize.
Late in the fourth quarter, Martin ran for a scoring touchdown from about 25 yards out, to put the game out of reach.
In reviewing his team’s performance Palmer said he felt his offensive line came out pretty slow. "Bell was a well-disciplined team and they stopped the run and forced us to pass," he said. "But they weren’t able to cover the wide receivers."
Brathwaite finished the game with 133 receiving yards, and one touchdown, while Kembro had 21 receiving yards and a TD.
Martin rushed for 58 yards, and was 5 for 7 from the air, for 154 passing yards.
Junior Charlee Winchester had 12 rushing yards, sophomore Larry Winchester 12 rushing yards, and freshman Prince Jones seven rushing yards.
On a bad snap to the Bell punter, junior Brycin Huckeba had a fumble recovery in the first half, and in the third quarter, senior Jose Aguilar had a fumble recovery and Jones had an interception.
"The coach in me says we have a lot of work to do," Palmer. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. Win these victories first before we get to that big game.
"We’re excited for this week, excited to get on the road," he said, about Friday’s matchup against North Bay Haven. "We got a lot of work done. We’re shifting some guys around, to get more carries for our running backs. We’re making adjustments, to put kids in the right positions where they can be successful."