Despite a 95-yard kickoff return to the end zone, the Franklin football team couldn’t grab its first win of the year against the Martinsville Artesians.
Franklin fell short 35-21 in Friday’s Mid-State Conference game. The tough loss brought the Grizzly Cubs to 0-5 overall, 0-2 in league play.
Franklin’s offense was no match for Martinsville’s defense in the first quarter, and after the Grizzly Cubs went three-and-out on three consecutive drives, the Artesians pulled ahead with a touchdown.
Two possessions later, Franklin safety Clayton Coll intercepted a ball that appeared headed the end zone. Drew Byerly then threw a 48-yard pass to Garrett Eason, putting the Grizzly Cubs on the board with 9:32 left in the first half and tying the score at 7-7.
But Franklin couldn’t stop Martinsville’s passing game, which produced two touchdowns within two minutes.
Both teams came out of the half with strong defense, keeping each other from scoring in the third quarter.
The Artesians’ fourth touchdown came at the start of the fourth quarter, but it was quickly followed by a 95-yard kickoff return by Riley McCann that closed Martinsville’s lead to 28-14 with 10:18 to go.
However, Martinsville came out strong in its next drive, scoring another touchdown a little more than a minute after regaining possession.
McCann tacked on a late score for the Grizzly Cubs with 32 seconds to go, but by then the Artesians (1-4, 1-2) were already celebrating their first win against Franklin since 2014.
Franklin hosts Mooresville next Friday in a battle of winless clubs.