For the Daily Journal

It was hard to pick out one play that stood out in Franklin’s wild 44-42 home victory Friday against Martinsville, the Grizzly Cubs’ first of the season, but Stone Peddycord might have authored the two best candidates.

Peddycord used all of his 6-foot-2 frame to bat down the Artesians’ potential game-tying two-point conversion try with 1:05 remaining. He also scored the Cubs’ final touchdown, which wound up being the clincher, in improbable fashion.

Holding a tenuous 37-29 lead with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, Franklin had stopped the Artesians at their own 22-yard line. Martinsville shanked its ensuing punt, which landed just four yards downfield.

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While most players on both sides assumed Franklin would simply down the punt, Peddycord had other ideas. He fielded the punt off the initial bounce at the 26, then ran untouched and seemingly unnoticed into the end zone, extending the Cubs’ lead to 44-29.

The win ended Franklin’s four-game losing streak after a grueling schedule to open the season. The Class 5A Cubs lost to Class 6A No. 5 Columbus North, Class 4A No. 7 Shelbyville, 4-1 Decatur Central and Whiteland.

Martinsville (0-5 overall, 0-3 Mid-State Conference) has faced its own tough opponents. The Artesians have lost to Class 5A No. 7 Bloomington South and 4A No. 9 Greenwood, as well as two other 4-1 teams in Decatur Central and Guerin Catholic.

Artesians quarterback Jonathan Collier torched Franklin, completing 26 of 50 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 53 yards and proved to be elusive, breaking loose from several tackles to extend plays.

He nearly rallied Martinsville all the way back, completing a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Matt Thomas. The second one completed a 10-play, 47-yard drive that set up Peddycord’s game-saving pass breakup.

Franklin (1-4, 1-1) rushed for 241 yards, with quarterback Jake Moore running for 179 on just 19 carries, including a touchdown and a 62-yard run that set up another score. Tyler Fromer added 60 yards on just eight carries, scoring three touchdowns.

Peddycord hauled in Moore’s lone touchdown pass in addition to his punt return and pass breakup.

The Cubs return to action next Friday at Mid-State rival Mooresville.

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Adam Wire is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.