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Dragons escape with win over Franklin

South Boston News
Dragon running back Dontavious Wilson (2) looks for running room on a left end sweep play during the Park View victory over Franklin Friday night at PVHS.(Steve Hinzman photos) / October 02, 2019
Park View (3-1) survived a late scare to overcome Franklin (0-4) Friday night at PVHS. The Dragons stopped a game-tying two-point conversion following a Bronco TD with 4:08 left in regulation and then stuffed the final Franklin drive with 34 seconds left on the clock to escape with the 14-12 win.

The two teams started out evenly matched and played scoreless football until the Dragons scored a TD eight minutes into the second quarter. PV junior QB Adam Crabel forced his way into the end zone behind a massive push by the Dragon “O” line for a 3-yard TD. The Dragons were flagged twice on the ensuing PAT and were forced to kick from the 15-yard line. The kick hit the goal post and PV had to settle for a 6-0 lead as time expired in the first half.

The Broncos got the ball first in the second half and after picking up one first down, were forced to punt from the their own 44. The Bronco kicking game, weak all night, let them down on this play and the punt netted minus 1 yard, giving the Dragons great field position at the Franklin 43.

The Dragons failed to capitalize, shooting themselves in the foot with three penalties and forced to punt from their own 40. A. Crabel sent the punt to the Franklin 20-yard line where they would start first and 10. The Dragon defense held strong and the Broncos were forced to punt from their own 22. Once again, the kicking game let Franklin down and they gifted the ball back to PV at the Franklin 32-yard line.

PV wouldn’t squander this opportunity and with 3:34 left in the third, facing a second and goal from the Franklin 5, Dragon RB Josh Boyd took the Crabel handoff and drove it into the end zone, dragging two Broncos with him. Crabel then hit Dontavious Wilson with a pass to complete the two-point conversion and the Dragons had a 14-0 lead.

The ensuing drive for Franklin started at their own 20 and they came out throwing. The first pass attempt resulted in a sack and a loss of a yard but then facing third and 9, Bronco QB M. Barrett hit his wide receiver K. Hines-Eley for a 79-yard TD strike with 1:50 left in the third. The two-point try failed and the Broncos had cut the lead 14-6.

Park View was forced to punt on their next possession and the Broncos took over at their own 30-yard line. They were facing a third and 10 at the Franklin 41 when Dragon J. Boyd took advantage of an overthrown pass by the Bronco QB for his first interception. Unfortunately for the Dragon fans, the ball was turned right back over to Franklin when Park View’s Dontavious Wilson had the ball punched out at the end of a nice gain. Franklin recovered the fumble at their own 33-yard line.

Once again, the Dragon defense held and forced a Broncos punt from the Franklin 20. The Dragons failed to make any headway and punted the ball back to Franklin who would start at their own 12. Franklin once again went to the air, this time attempting a long pass to the middle, but Dragon defensive back J. Boyd got his second interception and PV took over at their own 45.

After a curious unsportsmanlike penalty forced PV back to their own 35-yard line, the Dragons were then forced to punt. On a low snap the Broncos swarmed the punter Crabel and blocked the kick, resulting in a Franklin TD and suddenly the PV lead was cut to just two points with 4:08 left on the clock.

Fortunately for the Dragons, the Broncos struggled getting lined up for the two-point conversion and were forced to take a time-out, giving the PV defense plenty of time to prepare. The PV defense was up to the task and stuffed the Broncos runner for what would end up being the game winning play.

The game wasn’t over, however, and after a series of miscues by PV, including an inexplicable delay of game penalty, the Broncos got the ball back on the PV 43-yard line with 1:18 left in the game and a chance to win.

After an 8-yard pickup on first down, the Dragon defense stopped Franklin three straight times to get the ball back on downs with 34 clicks left on the clock. Dragon QB A. Crabel simply took a knee and the Dragons escaped with a win 14-12.

PV head coach Tony Whittingham Jr. had this to say about his team: “Franklin plays us hard every year, this is not a surprise. We just have to continue to play hard,” he continued, “there are no easy wins in this district.

“We have young kids and that is something we have to encourage them, build them up and get them ready for the next game,” he added. “Fortunately we don’t have any major injuries, just a few kids dinged up here and there but that’s football.”

With the win the Dragons improved to 3-1 on the season. They will travel to Emporia to face the Greensville County Eagles (2-2) this Friday. With the loss, the Franklin Broncos are left still looking for their first win and will face Surry County in their next game.

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