Grizzly Cubs overmatched

Unbeaten Brownsburg was too big, too fast and too bad.

The Class 6A No. 10 Bulldogs dominated host Franklin early and said aloha to the Grizzly Cubs, taking a 46-30 win Friday on Hawaiian dress night for the students.

The game wasn’t as close as the final score — Franklin had three touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs’ reserves.

Brownsburg dropped the Grizzly Cubs to 0-3, the second consecutive season Frankin’s had that dubious distinction.

“The guys did a great job of not giving up, and I can never fault them for that,” Franklin coach Adam Reese said. “(Brownsburg) was the third straight ranked team we played, and we tell the kids we schedule like this so we’ll be ready for the conference.”

A quick glance at the roster showed why the Bulldogs topped the Cubs.

Brownsburg had a major size advantage, with 19 players weighing 230 pounds or more compared to Franklin’s seven.

Throw in all-everything senior quarterback Hunter Johnson, who’s committed to Clemson, and it made for a difficult evening for Franklin.

Johnson had quite a night, passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another TD in only three quarters of play.

Brownsburg also benefited from some great field position, starting with a short field five times, and a momentum-stopping fumble by the Cubs at the Bulldog 16-yard line.

“It was a big play,” Reese said. “We didn’t do a good job of blocking on that play, and it was one of those plays that helped make a difference in the game.”

While it took the Bulldogs 11 plays to score on their first possession, it only took one — a 67-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to sophomore Bryce Kirtz — on the third possession to give Brownsburg a 14-0 lead.

Franklin countered with a nice eight-play, 58-yard drive to cut the lead in half.

Brownsburg scored again in the second quarter to make it 21-7, but the Cubs were driving when senior quarterback Jake Moore was hit as he tried to pitch the ball back.

The Bulldogs fell on the ball, and that ended any threat the Cubs had for what turned out the rest of the game.

Brownsburg then proceeded to continue pounding and scoring in every conceivable way, getting another rushing touchdown, a field goal and a safety.

Kirtz caught all three of Johnson’s touchdown passes and pulled in six receptions in all for 174 yards.

Backup running back Kabrial Waters rushed for 80 yards for the Bulldogs.

Franklin was not without its moments.

Moore, while not matching Johnson’s pace in the air (77 yards), he did excel on the ground, rushing for a team-high 152 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter.

Moore’s teammate, junior fullback Tyler Fromer, rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown.

“Jake is getting better every week, and there’s no doubt we took other positives away (tonight),” Reese said.

Junior Riley McCann also added an 18-yard run and junior Blake Dicken caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback T.J. Ahlefeld in the fourth quarter.

“I liked the way we kept fighting through the end,” Reese said.

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.