After several key players did not return and another transferred in the preseason, Franklin’s football season appeared to be falling apart before it even started. Coach Anthony Burgos and the Indians, however, weren’t about to let that happen.
Burgos, in his 17th season with the Indians, guided a young team from an uncertain start to its third state championship in six years. The No. 5 Indians capped a 12-2 season with one of the biggest upsets of the year, a 17-14 Class 3A title victory over defending champion Linganore on Simon Spath’s field goal as time expired.
“We had an interesting preseason but once we got to Week 1 and we got going, we kind of rallied around each other,” Burgos said. “The guys were on a mission. That [preseason transfer] was kind of like the last straw. The guys were [angry]. They had to believe in themselves and I was saying we had a enough talent here and that’s what matters. The way they came together, after a tough year last year, to form a family bond gave me the most pleasure.”
In the playoff opener, the Indians avenged a 19-13 overtime loss to Baltimore County rival and No. 12 Milford Mill with a 15-12 victory. They routed No. 11 Dundalk and then defeated Huntingtown en route to their fifth appearance in the title game in nine years.
Burgos scheduled a tough start for the Indians with scrimmages against McDonogh and No. 3 Archbishop Spalding as well as their season opener against DeMatha, the No. 2 team in Maryland. The Indians fell to the Stags, 27-14, but that set the stage for the title run.
“We built our resume up in a way that gave the kids confidence that no matter who we played, we can play against them. No matter how good Linganore was and Huntingtown, they weren’t better than the kids that you played against at DeMatha and McDonogh and Spalding,” Burgos said.
Burgos, also the 2016 Coach of the Year, has a 127-59 overall record at Franklin and is 75-15 over the past seven years. He has led the Indians to the playoffs 12 times.