Franklin's big-play ability too much for Hereford in football playoff opener

The second time Franklin quarterback Jackson Thornton touched the ball, he threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to freshman Steven Smothers.

Thornton’s fourth pass was a 42-yard completion to Reggie Ellis.

The quarterback rushed for a score on Franklin’s sixth offensive play

Thornton was just getting warmed up as were his teammates.

The host Indians (10-1) scored 17 points in the first four minutes en route to a 38-22 victory in the Class 3A North Region semifinal in Reisterstown.

Franklin’s big-play ability was just too much for the Bulls (7-4). Thornton threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, completing 13 of 23 passes. Ellis also rushed for a 57-yard touchdown and totaled 115 yards on seven carries.

Franklin could have won by much more, having two touchdowns called back because of penalties – a 99-yard kickoff return and a 58-yard reverse.

"We are going to be that team that is very explosive and can score quickly," said Franklin coach Anthony Burgos, whose team rolled up 401 yards of total offense. "It's just a matter of sustaining it for the whole game."

Hereford did its best to stay with Franklin, getting a standout performance from senior quarterback Ryan Jones.

He rushed for two touchdowns and threw a 42-yard score to wide receiver Luke Quidley.

The Bulls pulled to within 31-22 early in the fourth quarter on Jones' second touchdown run before Ellis' score sealed it.

Hereford might not fallen behind by so much so early -- the Indians jumped out to a 24-0 lead -- if the Bulls hadn't turned the ball over three times in the first quarter.

"They have a lot of weapons and are a special team," Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh said. "They have five or six guys that are capable of going the distance. We knew coming in that the only way we would have a chance is not turning the ball over. We are losing 14-0 and never even saw the ball."

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