Late-game score spoils Franklin homecoming

Alex Fabert’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Zeke O’Dell late in the fourth quarter lifted Mooresville to a 21-17 win at Franklin on Friday night.

Mooresville (3-3) not only broke a three-game losing streak but also spoiled the Grizzly Cubs’ homecoming.

Both teams hurt themselves with penalties and missed scoring opportunities. But in the end, the Pioneers made fewer mistakes than Franklin.

Ironically, it was the Cubs taking advantage of the game’s first mistake.

In the first quarter, Franklin recovered a fumble on Mooresville’s 22-yardline. Four plays later, senior Cole Miller scored on an 8-yard run. The extra point was no good, but Franklin had a 6-0 lead.

Mooresville got its first touchdown after keeping a drive alive with a fake punt. Quarterback Alex Fabert hit a wide open Zeke O’Dell for a 22-yard touchdown pass for a 7-6 lead.

Late in the second quarter, Mooresville executed an 11-play, 85-yard drive capped when Fabert hit Ben Sharp in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass shortly before halftime to give Mooresville a 14-6 lead.

“On defense we forced some turnovers, and that was one positive,” Franklin coach Adam Reese said.

Franklin’s offense started working briefly in the second half.

Senior fullback Zach Dowell had a big third quarter, gaining more than 50 yards and helping the Cubs get in scoring position. They got a 29-yard field from junior Justin Beasley to narrow the game to 14-9.

Dowell then gave the Cubs a lift on defense when he intercepted a Fabert pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it 31 yards. The Cubs converted it into a touchdown when quarterback Jake Moore hit sophomore wide receiver Hunter Samples on a fourth-and-seven play.

Franklin converted a two-point conversion to go back on top 17-14.

Mooresville answered when Fabert connected again with O’Dell on a touchdown pass in the final minutes for the winning points.

Franklin fell to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the Mid-State Conference.

“There’s always something we can work on,” Reese said. “We don’t have the experience, but we’re gaining it.”

Franklin travels to conference rival Plainfield on Friday.

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.