A slow start doomed the Franklin College football team to a 47-37 defeat at No. 19 Thomas More in the Grizzlies’ season opener on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints used consecutive second-quarter scores from Hjavier Pitts to build a commanding 27-7 cushion, and Franklin was still facing a 30-14 deficit at halftime.
Following the intermission, the Grizzlies tried to rally back behind the duo of Chase Burton and Lee Wroblewski, who connected on scoring passes of 3 and 45 yards to trim the deficit to 40-29 in the third quarter.
Thomas More was able to hold off the Franklin charge, though, negating a late TD pass from Burton to Deontez Alexander, who led the Grizzlies with 133 yards receiving and three scores on six catches.
Burton finished the day 24 of 37 passing for 315 yards, tossing five touchdowns against one interception.
Trace Rooks and Austin Fleming had 11 and 10 tackles, respectively, to pace the Franklin defense, which struggled to stop the Thomas More run game. The Saints amassed 351 yards on the ground, including 198 courtesy of Pitts.
The Grizzlies face another tough early-season test this weekend when they face Butler, an FCS program, in their home opener. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.