Patrick Murrin has never been to a Franklin-Greenwood football game. For the past few years, though, his presence at the annual showdown has been huge.
Murrin, who now runs his own woodworking shop on Railroad Street in Whiteland, still was working out of his basement in the Chicago area when he was approached with a project.
Rob Shirley and Jeff Davis were both friends of the late Rick Cannon, a former Greenwood High School and Franklin College football player who then taught and coached at Franklin Community High School. Several years ago, the two came up with the idea of creating a traveling trophy in Cannon’s honor for the Franklin-Greenwood game.
Shirley and Davis went to the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, and Adams put his son-in-law, Murrin, on the case.
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After hearing the story of Cannon — who had a cancerous lung removed after high school and succumbed to cancer in 1994 at the age of 39 — Murrin was sold right away.
“I didn’t know Rick Cannon personally,” he said, “but it sounds like he was a wonderful man, so I thought it would be a great project.”
Working with a replica Civil War cannon that Shirley had purchased online, Murrin crafted a curly maple base with mahogany handles. The difficult part, he says, was attaching the cannon — a task he accomplished by drilling into the bottom of the cannon wheels and the back end of the cannon stand and inserting three tiny dowels.
The end result, which first went on display when the Grizzly Cubs and Woodmen played one another at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2011, made everyone involved happy.
At the end of that game and every Franklin-Greenwood gridiron clash since, members of Cannon’s family present “The Cannon” to the winning team.
“He put a lot of thought and care into something that would mean something to these kids over the years playing that game,” Shirley said of Murrin.
When the young craftsman heard Cannon’s story, he knew thought and care were a must.
A running back and a track star at Greenwood, Cannon lost a lung shortly after graduating in 1973. With running pretty much out of the question, he set his sights on a new goal — kicking for the football team at Franklin College.
Davis said he recalls Cannon making his friends go out to the fields with him and hold footballs so he could practice kicking. That hard work paid off, as Cannon walked on to the team at Franklin and became the Grizzlies’ placekicker.
Once he graduated in 1977, Cannon served as a science teacher and coach at Franklin High.
By the time Cannon passed away, he had relocated south to the Atlanta area — but he remains a revered figure in Johnson County, and Murrin was proud to build something representative of Cannon’s legacy.
“It was a special project, just because whenever you hear stories like Rick’s and what not … it’s something different,” Murrin explained. “It’s not just a job, let’s put it that way. It’s a special thing.
“The most meaningful projects I get to work on are those that have that personal touch relating to someone’s family or someone’s life and what they’ve done in their life, and (I) try to bring meaning in a way that everybody can see it.”
A year-by-year rundown of the results since The Cannon became a part of the Franklin-Greenwood series in 2011:
* — at Lucas Oil Stadium