Franklin didn't waste any time asserting its speed and athletic advantage over Huntingtown in Friday night's Class 3A state football semifinal.
Quarterback Jacquez Adams threw the first of his six touchdown passes 30 yards to Steven Smothers less than five minutes into the game and the No. 11 Indians rolled 49-7 past the Hurricanes in Calvert County.
The Indians (11-2) are headed to the state final for the second time in four years and will meet Linganore, from Frederick County, for the Class 3A championship at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Lancers, who won the last of their five state titles in 2009, edged No. 13 and two-time defending champion River Hill, 41-38, in Friday's other 3A semifinal.
Adams, a junior who played less than two thirds of Friday night's game, completed 17-of-20 passes for 337 yards, 282 of them in the first half.
"Everything was down pat," Adams said. "We knew what we was going to do and we had so much confidence. I believe in my guys. I put them in the best position they can be and we just made it happen."
The last time the Indians went to the state final, in 2010, they also beat Huntingtown to get there, but it was a much closer game. Franklin rallied from 14 points down to beat the Hurricanes on a rushing touchdown as time expired. In the state final that season, they fell to Wilde Lake, 21-14.
Next weekend, the Indians will try to win their first state championship.
In each of their three playoff games this month, Franklin has scored 49 points and have outscored the opposition, 147-35, overall.
Friday night, Franklin had a 28-0 lead before the Hurricanes (11-2) scored. Huntingtown, which lost to River Hill in last year's state final, could not contend with Franklin's overall athleticism or its stalwart offensive line. Adams had plenty of time to throw and a fleet of receivers able to outrun and outleap the Hurricanes' defenders.
Smothers caught five passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Adams, Jacquez's twin brother, caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Marquis Miller caught three passes for 34 yards and two touchdowns. John Jones caught two passes and had one touchdown.
"We were able to utilize our skill players and put our key players in positions where they could make tremendous plays," Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said. "I thought our quarterback did a tremendous job and the offensive line did a tremendous job just giving our quarterback time to throw the ball and he put the ball in the right position and some of those skill guys made some great catches."
After throwing the touchdown pass to Smothers, Jacquez Adams hit his brother Jordan with a 7-yard touchdown pass. On Huntingtown's next drive, Jordan Adams had an interception, the game's only turnover.
The Indians couldn't convert that into points, but on their next drive, it took just one play to score. Junior running back Darius Hinton, who had five carries for 101 yards, broke open down the sideline for an 84-yard touchdown to open the second quarter. Less than five minutes later, Jacquez Adams hit Miller with a 34-yard scoring pass for a 28-0 lead with 7:03 left in the quarter
After Arnez Bowens put the Hurricanes on the board with a 3-yard run with 4:12 left, Adams answered with a 50-yard pass to Smothers just over a minute later. He added a 27-yard touchdown pass to Miller for a 42-7 halftime lead.
The 35-point lead kicked in the running clock and Jacquez Adams made sure it kept rolling with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Jones 11 seconds into the second half. Kicker Brian Bray hit all seven extra points.
F 14 28 7 0 -- 49
H 0 7 0 0 -- 7
F—Smothers 30 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
F—Jo.Adams 7 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
F—Hinton 84 run (Bray kick)
F—Miller 34 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
H—Bowens 3 run (Reeves kick)
F—Smothers 50 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
F—Miller 26 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
F—Jones 55 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)