Franklin's football players had revenge on their minds going into Saturday's critical game at No. 8 Milford Mill, after the Millers knocked them out of the regional playoffs last season.
The Indians got their payback, winning 35-18, but they tempered their reaction to the victory, remembering that they also won the regular-season meeting last year.
"We will see them later," Indians junior receiver Jordan Adams said, referring to the possibility of another showdown in the Class 3A North regional playoffs.
For now, the Millers (6-2) hold onto the top spot in the 3A North standings while the Indians (6-2) remain among the top four with two weeks left in the regular season. The two are tied for second place in Baltimore County's Division I at 4-1, behind No. 14 Perry Hall, which is 5-0 in the division heading into next week's meeting with Milford Mill.
The Indians got another strong performance on Saturday from quarterback Jacquez Adams, who was 15-for-19 passing for 249 yards and two touchdowns, one a 55-yard throw-and-catch that his twin brother, Jordan Adams, took to the end zone.
Jacquez Adams also had 12 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Adams caught five passes for 126 yards.
The two combined for a key third-quarter touchdown in response to Milford Mill's Jamaal Morant running one yard for his third touchdown of the afternoon to pull the Millers within 21-18. On the sixth play of the Indians' next drive. Jacquez Adams hit his brother, who caromed off a couple Millers and raced to the end zone with 3:07 left in the quarter.
Franklin added to its lead after Michael Gibson separated Millers quarterback Deonte White from the ball and Sonny Csorba recovered for the Indians. That set the Indians up on Milford Mill's 10-yard line. A holding penalty set them back on the second play of the drive, but Jacquez Adams scored on a 13-yard run around the right side as time expired in the third quarter.
The Millers ran the ball on 16 of their first 20 plays from scrimmage with Morant carrying the load. His first touchdown, a 10-yard run with 35 seconds left in the first quarter, gave the Millers a 6-0 lead.
"We knew that they were going to be running the ball the whole entire game," Indians linebacker Bruce Damon said. "They usually get about 30 carries with No. 3 (Morant), so we knew that we had to make checks on defense so we could stop them in certain packages that they had, and that's what we did."
Morant ran 37 times for 178 yards, but only two carries went for more than 10 yards. The senior running back scored a touchdown in each of the first three quarters to keep pace with the Indians, but Milford Mill failed to add extra points on a kick and a pair of two-point conversion attempts.
Franklin kicker Bryan Bray was 5-for-5 on extra points, giving the Indians an edge as soon as Darius Hinton scored their first touchdown on a 3-yard run. His extra point made it 7-6 with 6:56 left in the second quarter.
The Millers, who had won six straight since falling to North Hagerstown in the season opener, turned the ball over three times and gave the Indians short yardage on several drives.
"Franklin's a good team. You can't make certain mistakes against better teams," Millers coach Reggie White said. "Today, Saturday, they were the better team. Today they made plays when we didn't. We had a good game plan coming in. We made a few mistakes and they capitalized on them."
F 0 14 21 0 -- 35
MM 6 6 6 0 -- 18
MM—Morant 10 run (kick failed)
F—Hinton 3 run (Bray kick)
F—Ja.Adams 6 run (bray kick)
MM—Morant 1 run (run failed)
F—Burrell 1 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick)
MM—Morant 1 run (pass failed)
F—Jo.Adams 55 pass from Ja.Adams (Bray kick
F—Ja.Adams 13 run (Bray kick)