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Franklin football books return trip to Class 3A final with 30-0 rout of Thomas Stone

Franklin's players celebrate their 30-0 thrashing of Thomas Stone in the Class 3A state semifinal in Reisterstown Friday night. The defending champion Indians will play Damascus for the 3A state title on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Franklin's players celebrate their 30-0 thrashing of Thomas Stone in the Class 3A state semifinal in Reisterstown Friday night. The defending champion Indians will play Damascus for the 3A state title on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

As the victories piled up, the Franklin football coaching staff cautioned the players to focus on the task at hand and not to look ahead to a possible return trip to the Class 3A state championship.

But after Friday's 30-0 state semifinal triumph over visiting Thomas Stone, of Charles County, No. 4-ranked Franklin forced the issue with its 12 consecutive victory since a season-opening loss to Calvert Hall.

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Defending champion Franklin (12-1) will face unbeaten Damascus, of Montgomery County, a 33-0 winner over Glenelg, in the Class 3A state title game Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Maybe, we can relax a little bit now," Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said. "All season long, we have been making so many plays, there was a lot of pressure on us. We can say now, 'We have an opportunity to win another state title.' We just have to go out and continue to prepare."

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Senior quarterback Jacquez Adams led Franklin to the win over Thomas Stone (11-2). He rushed for two touchdowns and 78 yards on 12 carries while completing 12 of 15 passes and throwing a touchdown pass to to junior Steven Smothers, who caught five passes for 76 yards and returned an interception 77 yards for a score.

Indians senior running back Darius Hinton added 83 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Franklin's defense, led by cornerback Juantez McRae (14 tackles) and linebacker Kiandre Burrell (10), helped limit the effectiveness of running back Juwuan Briscoe (13 carries, 62 yards) and quarterback Trey Lee (20, 82) in the Cougars' run-oriented offense.

Briscoe and Lee came into the game with a combined 2,468 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns.

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"They did a good job of taking away our best plays and what we like to run," Thomas Stone coach Paul Friel said. "They are a really great team, and that's why they won (the state title) last year."

Franklin took control in the fourth quarter when the Indians scored three touchdowns.

Before that outburst, the Indians capitalized on a Thomas Stone miscue on its first drive of the second half. A low snap skipped by punter J.T. Singleton and he fell on the ball on the Cougars' 23.

Franklin got down to the 1-yard line, but the Indians got pushed back after a false start, a running and passing play and had to settle for a Luis Belmontes' 27-yard field goal.

The Indians went up 16-0 with 10:56 remaining in the fourth quarter when Adams ran 14 yards up the middle. He rushed for 43 yards on three carries on the drive and completed a 22-yard pass to Smothers.

Franklin boosted its lead to 23-0 about three minutes later when Smothers intercepted Lee's pass and returned it 77 yards for touchdown.

Franklin finished its scoring when Adams found his brother, Jordan Adams, in the left corner of the end zone with 5:21 left.

Nothing much seemed to go right for Thomas Stone. Singleton opened the game with what looked like an onsides kick, but it was supposed to be a squib kick.

Franklin took over at the Cougars' 49 and needed only four plays to score. Jacquez Adams burst up the middle and bounced off a defender on his way to a 31-yard score.

Thomas Stone drove down to the Franklin 3-yard line on its first possession, but running back Chad Walker was stopped on fourth-and-goal at the 3.

Franklin 30 Thomas Stone 0 in Class 3A state semfinal

F 7 3 7 20 30

TS 0 0 0 0  0

F –Adams 31-yard run (Belmontes kick)

F – Belmontes 27-yard field goal

F – Adams 14-yard run (Belmontes kick)

F – Smothers 77-yard interception return (2-point conversion failed)

F – Jacquez Adams to Jordan Adams 7-yard pass (Belmontes kick)

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